Category Archives: Children

State of Preschool 2017

Source: Allison H. Friedman-Krauss, W. Steven Barnett, G.G. Weisenfeld, Richard Kasmin, Nicole DiCrecchio, Michelle Horowitz, Rutgers University, National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), 2018

From the press release:
A new state-by-state report shows more young children enrolled in public pre-K programs but a troubling lack of policies ensuring the quality classroom experiences they need to get ready for kindergarten. The State of Preschool 2017 annual report, based on 2016-17 academic year data, finds states heeding the demand for pre-K and expanding access to publicly funded programs in a variety of settings. But instead of supporting quality early learning with adequate resources, most state programs invest too little to help children catch up with their more advantaged peers by kindergarten….

Download Dual Language Learners Special Report
Special Report Press Release
Comunicado de prensa nacional
Comunicado de prensa, reporte especial

Universal preschool is most cost-effective, study finds

Source: Lillian Mongeau, Hechinger Report, April 10, 2018

Because preschool programs that include all kids boost low-income 4-year-olds’ reading scores, they could be a better way to spend tax dollars, according to a Dartmouth economist.

Does Universal Preschool Hit the Target? Program Access and Preschool Impacts
Source: Elizabeth U. Cascio, Dartmouth College, NBER, and IZA, December 22, 2017

This paper uses the rich diversity in state rules governing access to public preschool programs in the U.S. to study the relative cost efficacy of universal programs for poor populations. Using age-eligibility rules to construct an instrument for attendance, I find that universal preschool generates substantial cognitive test score gains for poor 4-year-olds. Preschool programs targeted toward poor children do not. These findings are robust to the definition of poverty, comparison group, and controls for test scores earlier in life, and cross-state differences in demographics and alternative care options are not decisive factors. Benefit-cost ratios of universal programs remain favorable despite their relatively high costs per poor child. An auxiliary analysis suggests that peer effects are an important contributor to universal programs’ higher productivity.

Baby bust: 5 charts show how expensive it is to have kids in the US today

Source: Heidi Steinour, The Conversation, March 28, 2018

…. The cost of having children in the U.S. has grown exponentially since the 1960s, when the government first started collecting data on childhood expenditures. Between 2000 and 2010, the cost shot up by 40 percent.

As of 2015, American parents spend, on average, US$233,610 on child costs from birth until the age of 17, not including college. This number covers everything from housing and food to childcare and transportation costs. As a mother myself, as well as a sociologist who studies families, I have experienced firsthand the unexpected costs associated with having a child.

This spike costs has broad implications, affecting everything from demographic trends and human capital to family consumption…..

Estimating the Economic Cost of Childhood Poverty in the United States

Source: Michael McLaughlin, Mark R Rank, Social Work Research, Advance Articles, Published: March 30, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Poverty has been an issue of ongoing concern for social work practitioners and researchers over the decades. The societal impact of poverty on a broad range of problems is widely acknowledged throughout the field. However, one vital piece of information regarding poverty has often been missing—its economic cost. This study presents new estimates into the annual costs of childhood poverty in the United States by updating earlier research and including previously unmeasured costs. Cost-measurement analysis indicates that the annual aggregate cost of U.S. child poverty is $1.0298 trillion, representing 5.4% of the gross domestic product. These costs are clustered around the loss of economic productivity, increased health and crime costs, and increased costs as a result of child homelessness and maltreatment. In addition, it is estimated that for every dollar spent on reducing childhood poverty, the country would save at least seven dollars with respect to the economic costs of poverty. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Why child care costs more than college tuition – and how to make it more affordable

Source: Taryn Morrissey, The Conversation, March 9, 2018

….The reality is that child care in America is expensive and out of reach for many families. Whether center-based or family child care, the average cost of child care nationally exceeds US$8,600 per year.

By comparison, that is more than double the estimated average net tuition and fee price of $4,140 paid by full-time in-state students at public four-year institutions in the 2017-18 academic year.

There are other good reasons why child care affordability should get just as much attention as college affordability, if not more.

For starters, families typically use child care for five years per child – a year longer than earning a bachelor’s degree is supposed to take…..

Poverty and educational achievement in the US: A less-biased estimate using PISA 2012 data

Source: David Rutkowski, Leslie Rutkowski, Justin Wild & Nathan Burroughs, Journal of Children and Poverty, Published online: November, 23 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In the current paper, we employ the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data to calculate a less-biased estimate of poverty on US achievement. The PISA was specifically chosen as it is an assessment removed from a specific curriculum and instead focuses on concepts that students should know in order to participate in a global economy. Using a propensity score matching approach, our findings suggest that US students in poverty have notable educational attainment deficiencies compared to a matched group of students who are not in poverty. In other words, when we select two students who have a great deal in common but for the fact that one comes from a poverty background, the student in poverty is expected to perform nearly 28 points, or about a quarter of a standard deviation lower, on the PISA assessment. In real terms, this puts math achievement for children not in poverty on-par with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average, while children in poverty are well below the OECD average.

Head Start may keep kids out of foster care

Source: Andy Henion, Futurity, October 9, 2017

Head Start programs may keep young children from being placed in foster care, new research suggests.

Kids up to age five in the federal government’s preschool program were 93 percent less likely to end up in foster care than kids in the child welfare system who had no type of early care and education, says Sacha Klein, an assistant professor of social work at Michigan State University.

Klein and colleagues examined multiple forms of early care and education—from daycare with a family member to more structured programs—and found Head Start was the only one to guard against foster care placement.

Early care and education arrangements and young children’s risk of foster placement: Findings from a National Child Welfare Sample
Source: Sacha Klein, Lauren Fries, Mary M.Emmons, Children and Youth Services Review, In Press – Accepted Manuscript, Available online 6 September 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
A primary goal of the U.S. child welfare system (CWS) is to maintain children investigated for maltreatment in their parents’ homes whenever safely possible. This study explores the possibility that early care and education (ECE) services (e.g., child care, preschool, day care) can help the CWS achieve this goal by using a nationally representative sample of children referred to CWS for suspected maltreatment to measure the relationship between ECE receipt and the likelihood that 0–5 year olds in the CWS will be placed in foster care approximately 18 months later. Specifically, logistic regression analyses explore the relationship between: (1) regular ECE participation (yes/no), and (2) type of ECE arrangement (Head Start, other center- or home-based ECE, family/friend/relative ECE, other ECE, and multiple types of ECE) and foster placement risk. After controlling for multiple socio-demographic characteristics and foster placement risk factors, children who received ECE (yes/no) were no less likely to be placed in foster care than children who received no ECE. However, when exploring type of ECE arrangement, children who received Head Start were 93% less likely to be placed in foster care than children with no ECE. Children who participated in multiple types of ECE were almost seven times more likely to be placed in foster care than children with no ECE. These results suggest that Head Start may help maltreated children avoid foster placement and that experiencing multiple types of ECE is a risk factor for foster placement. It is recommended that caseworkers routinely assess the ECE service history and needs of families with young children who come in contact with the CWS, paying attention to the type and number of ECE services used.

• We explore whether receipt of early care and education (ECE) services reduces the likelihood of foster placement for 0-5 year olds in the U.S. child welfare system.
• ECE receipt (yes/no) was unrelated to children’s odds of being placed in foster care.
• However, children who participated in Head Start preschools were 93% less likely to be placed in foster care than children who received no ECE.
• Children who used multiple types of ECE were almost seven times more likely to be placed in foster care than children who received no ECE.

Breaking the Cycle? Intergenerational Effects of an Anti-Poverty Program in Early Childhood

Source: Andrew Barr, Chloe R. Gibbs, Texas A&M University and Notre Dame, August 2017

From the abstract:
Despite substantial evidence that resources and outcomes are transmitted across generations, there has been limited inquiry into the extent to which anti-poverty programs actually disrupt the cycle of bad outcomes. We explore how the effects of the United States’ largest early childhood program transfer across generations. We leverage the geographic rollout of this federally funded, means-tested preschool program to estimate the effect of early childhood exposure among mothers on their children’s long-term outcomes. We find evidence of intergenerational transmission of effects in the form of increased educational attainment, reduced teen pregnancy, and reduced criminal engagement in the second generation.

Fetal death rate in Flint rose 58% after lead crisis

Source: George Diepenbrock, Futurity, September 21, 2017

Flint’s lead-contaminated water crisis resulted in fewer babies born there—the result of reduced fertility rates and higher fetal death rates—compared to other Michigan cities during that time, research shows.

Since 2014, Flint—which was once an automobile manufacturing powerhouse outside of Detroit—has faced a major public health emergency due to lead poisoning in the local water supply when the city temporarily used the Flint River as its primary source. The crisis has affected thousands of residents, and some officials in Michigan face criminal charges related to events there. ….

The Effect of an Increase in Lead in the Water System on Fertility and Birth Outcomes: The Case of Flint, Michigan
Source: Daniel Grossman and David Slusky, University of Kansas, Working Papers Series in Theoretical and Applied Economics, No 201703, August 7, 2017

From the abstract:
Flint changed its public water source in April 2014, increasing lead exposure. The effects of lead in water on fertility and birth outcomes are not well established. Exploiting variation in the timing of births we find fertility rates decreased by 12%, fetal death rates increased by 58% (a selection effect from a culling of the least healthy fetuses), and overall health at birth decreased (from scarring), compared to other cities in Michigan. Given recent efforts to establish a registry of residents exposed, these results suggests women who miscarried, had a stillbirth or had a newborn with health complications should register.