Category Archives: Children

Toward a More Equal Footing: Early Head Start in Maine

Source: Jessica Carson, University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy, National Issue Brief #122, Spring 2017

From the summary:
Policy makers and advocates nationwide recognize that funding for early childhood education is a crucial investment in the future. Critical foundational development occurs before age 5, and research consistently shows that high-quality early education for children leads to higher future educational attainment and lower likelihood of crime, and yields a return on investment of 7 to 13 percent.
Yet accessing affordable, quality early childhood education and care is a challenge for families nationwide. More than a quarter of families with young children are burdened by child care costs, and the availability and quality of child care and education are highly variable across states.
One program that connects the most economically vulnerable families with quality early childhood programming is Early Head Start (EHS). Subject to rigorous quality and staffing standards, implemented among the youngest children (prenatally through age 2), and delivered via a two-generation approach, EHS is a significant opportunity for providing quality care and education to a population that might otherwise struggle to access it. This brief explores the characteristics of EHS in Maine, compares them to the national landscape, and connects these findings to a discussion of the federal and state policy climates.

Key Findings:
– Maine has 837 funded Early Head Start (EHS) slots for more than 8,000 poor children age 0–2 in Maine. Limited funding means that EHS is unable to reach the vast majority of children living below the poverty line.
– Nearly half (47.2 percent) of Maine’s EHS enrollees participate via the home visitation service delivery model, compared with 37.3 percent nationwide.
– Maine’s EHS staff are more highly educated than EHS staff nationwide. More than one-third of center-based teachers and almost two-thirds of home visitors have at least a four-year degree, compared with about a quarter and a half, respectively, nationwide.

The Trump Budget Threatens Children’s Health

Source: Thomas Huelskoetter, Center for American Progress, May 30, 2017

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has been a vital part of America’s health care safety net since its creation in the 1990s. Last year, it provided coverage for almost 9 million children. CHIP is traditionally considered a bipartisan success story and has played a critical role—together with Medicaid and the private market reforms in the Affordable Care Act—in reducing the rate of uninsured children to a historic low of 4.8 percent.

However, CHIP’s funding is not permanent and must be reauthorized this September. Recently, the bipartisan National Governors Association strongly recommended that Congress extend CHIP funding for five years, explaining that “access to health insurance is critical to ensuring a healthy start for our nation’s children.”

Unfortunately, the Trump budget rejects this bipartisan tradition of support by proposing to cut CHIP funding by 20 percent. At first glance, the budget’s proposal to extend CHIP funding for two years may appear to be a positive step. In reality, however, the budget pairs this extension with funding cuts and policy changes that would result in children losing CHIP coverage and potentially becoming uninsured. Even including the cost of the funding extension, the Trump budget would cut CHIP by a net $3.4 billion from fiscal year 2017 to fiscal year 2018—a 20 percent reduction….

State of Preschool 2016

Source: W. Steven Barnett, Allison H. Friedman-Krauss, G.G. Weisenfeld, Michelle Horowitz, Richard Kasmin, James H. Squires, National Institute for Early Education Research, 2017

From the summary:
The State of Preschool 2016 is the latest edition of our annual yearbook report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. NIEER’s State Preschool Yearbook is the only national report on state-funded preschool programs with detailed information on enrollment, funding, teacher qualifications, and other policies related to quality, such as the presence of a qualified teacher and assistant, small class size, and low teacher-to-student ratio.

This Yearbook presents data on state-funded preschool during the 2015-2016 school year and documents more than a decade of change in state preschool since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year. The 2016 Yearbook profiles state-funded preschool programs in 43 states, plus Guam and the District of Columbia and provides narrative information on early education efforts in states and the U.S. territories that do not provide state-funded preschool.

Nationwide, state-funded preschool program enrollment reached an all-time high, serving nearly 1.5 million children, 32 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds. State funding for preschool rose 8 percent to about $7.4 billion, a $564 million increase. State funding per child increased to $4,976, exceeding pre-recession levels for the first time. Six state funded preschool programs met all 10 current quality standards benchmarks. Nine states had programs that met fewer than half; and seven states do not fund preschool at all.

Current benchmarks were designed to help states build programs, focusing on resources and policies related to the structural aspects of public preschool—elements needed for a high-quality program but not fully defining one. This year, NIEER is introducing major revisions to the policy benchmarks for the first time since the Yearbook was launched. The new benchmarks raise the bar by focusing on policies that more directly support continuous improvement of classroom quality. State profiles in the 2016 Yearbook include both current and new benchmark scores…..
Related:
Executive summary
State profiles
Yearbook contents

Budget of the U.S. Government – Fiscal Year 2018

Source: Office of Management and Budget, May 2017

A New Foundation for American Greatness – President’s Budget FY 2018

Major Savings and Reforms

America First – A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again

Analytical Perspectives
Appendix
Historical Tables
Supplemental Materials
Fact Sheets
Supplementals, Amendments, and Releases
Past President’s Budgets

Related:
Greenstein: Trump Budget Proposes Path to a New Gilded Age
Source: Robert Greenstein, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, CBPP Statement, May 22, 2017

President Trump’s new budget should lay to rest any belief that he’s looking out for the millions of people the economy has left behind.

President Trump’s Budget Includes a $2 Trillion Math Mistake
Source: Ryan Teague Beckwith, Time, May 23, 2017

President Trump’s budget includes simple accounting error that adds up to a $2 trillion oversight.

Trump releases budget hitting his own voters hardest
Source: Andrew Restuccia , Matthew Nussbaum and Sarah Ferris, Politico, Updated: May 23, 2017

The president’s proposal for next year’s federal spending calls for more than $1 trillion in cuts to social programs, including farm aid.

What Trump’s budget cuts from the social safety net
Source: Denise Lu and Kim Soffen, Washington Post, Updated May 23, 2017

On Tuesday, President Trump released his 2018 budget proposal. It makes deep cuts across many anti-poverty programs, slashing food stamps by more than a quarter and children’s health insurance by 19 percent.

Trump budget slashes money for federal lands, needy and health care
Source: Thomas Burr, The Salt Lake Tribune, May 23 2017

President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 fiscal budget would hit Utah’s needy and disabled, cut block grants to communities, slash funding for public lands and public transit projects and could hurt rural airport services.

How the Trump Budget Undermines Economic Security for Working Families
Source: Rebecca Vallas, Harry Stein, Eliza Schultz, Neil Campbell, Kate Bahn, Regina Willensky, Kevin DeGood, Antoinette Flores, Ethan Gurwitz, Alexandra Thornton, and Angela Hanks, Center for American Progress, May 23, 2017

With an administration chock full of self-serving millionaires and billionaires, it comes as little surprise that President Donald Trump’s proposed budget would be an enormous windfall for the wealthiest Americans. But the degree to which it privileges the 1 percent at the expense of nearly everyone else—breaking Trump’s campaign promises to restore prosperity to everyday Americans—is staggering. Notably, by calling for cuts to Social Security, the budget violates one of Trump’s most significant promises.

Indeed, his proposed repeal of the estate tax alone—a tax that only affects the wealthiest 0.2 percent of estates—would cost the same as feeding more than 6 million seniors for a year through Meals on Wheels, a program facing deep cuts under the Trump budget.

And that is just one of several massive giveaways to the wealthy that President Trump calls for in this budget proposal while slashing critical investments in education, infrastructure, jobs, and more that make it possible for workers and families to get ahead. Here are seven ways that President Trump’s budget proposal threatens to do them serious damage.

Trump’s Budget Would Hit These States the Hardest
Source: Sam Petulla, NBC News, May 23, 2017

The Trump administration unveiled a budget for 2018 on Tuesday that seeks to overhaul many of the country’s safety-net programs for low-income and struggling Americans. Though these cuts are popular among Republican lawmakers, they affect programs that are actually more commonly used in Republican-leaning states than in Democratic ones, and that in many cases benefit white voters without college degrees — a demographic group that strongly supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
The programs experiencing the deepest cuts provide assistance for health care services to children, the poor and disabled, and that supplement food and housing for those with low incomes. Most of the programs were created decades ago by Democratic presidents.

Maternal occupational physical activity and risk for orofacial clefts

Source: A. J. Agopian, Jihye Kim, Peter H. Langlois, Laura Lee, Lawrence W. Whitehead, Elaine Symanski, Michele L. Herdt, George L. Delclos, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Early View, May 19, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objectives
To perform a case-control study of maternal occupational physical activity and risk for orofacial clefts in Texas during 1999-2009.

Methods
We used logistic regression to assess 14 measures of physical activity estimated from a job exposure matrix, using the maternal occupation reported on the birth certificate, among 887 children with cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CLP), 436 children with cleft palate only (CP), and 1932 controls.

Results
After adjusting for several potential confounders, seven measures of physical activity (as a categorical and/or continuous variable) were significantly associated with CLP, CP, or both. Positive associations were seen for keeping balance, kneeling, standing, and walking/running (odds ratio 95% confidence interval range 1.0-1.9 for fourth versus first quartile). A significant positive trend was also seen for bending/twisting. Negative associations were seen for repetitive motion and sitting.

Conclusions
Maternal occupational physical activity may be related to the etiology of orofacial clefts.

How Do the U.S and Canadian Social Safety Nets Compare for Women and Children?

Source: Hilary Williamson Hoynes, Mark Stabile, University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), NBER Working Paper No. w23380, May 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The past 25 years has seen substantial change in the social safety nets for families with children in the US and Canada. Both countries have moved away from cash welfare but the US has done so relying more exclusively on inwork benefits with work requirements. This paper examines this evolution across the two countries and examines the effects on employment and poverty. In particular, we focus on the two largest programs over this period: the U.S. EITC and the Canadian NCB/CCTB. In light of these policy changes, we examine trends in employment and poverty of the most affected families — single mothers with less than a college degree — across the two countries. We find that employment improved substantially in both countries, absolutely and relative to a control group of single women without children. The cross-country differences in relative trends are mainly explained by differences in the labor market conditions. Poverty rates for single mothers also declined in both countries with more of the decline coming through market income in the U.S. and benefit income in Canada.

Early Care and Education State Budget Actions FY 2017

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, April 28, 2017

NCSL surveyed 50 state legislative fiscal offices on their FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017 state appropriations for various early care and education programs—child care, prekindergarten, home visiting and other related programs. Early Care and Education Budget Actions FY 2017 provides a snapshot of state funding investments from 36 states that responded to the survey in these areas. Click on each of the tabs to see specific changes to appropriations for child care, prekindergarten, home visiting and other early childhood programs that occurred from FY 2016 to FY 2017….

The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects

Source: Deborah A. Phillips, Mark W. Lipsey, Kenneth A. Dodge, Ron Haskins, Daphna Bassok, Margaret R. Burchinal, Greg J. Duncan, Mark Dynarski, Katherine A. Magnuson, and Christina Weiland, Brookings Institution, 2017

From the summary:
Scientific research has established that if all children are to achieve their developmental potential, it is important to lay the foundation during the earliest years for lifelong health, learning, and positive behavior. A central question is how well our public pre-kindergarten (pre-K) programs are doing to build this foundation.

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia, through 57 pre-K programs, have introduced substantial innovations in their early education systems by developing the infrastructure, program sites, and workforce required to accommodate pre-K education. These programs now serve nearly 30 percent of the nation’s 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds.

In recent years, there as been increasing interest in assessing how well these short- and long-term goals have been achieved. What should we expect pre-K to produce for our society? How can we ensure that children who attend these programs get as much out of them as they can? ….

…. All members of the Task Force agreed on six consensus statements, which include:
• Children’s early learning trajectories depend on the quality of their learning experiences not only before and during their pre-K year, but also following the pre-K year;
• There is often greater improvement for economically disadvantaged children and dual-language learners after a year of per-k than there is for more advantaged and English-proficient children;
• Among the effectiveness factors that may make a difference are curricula that build foundational skills, professional development and coaching for teachers, and organized and engaging classrooms;
• Convincing evidence on the longer-term impacts of contemporary scaled-up pre-K programs on academic outcomes and school progress is sparse, precluding broad conclusions. ….
Related:
Consensus statement

Child Care Expenses Push Many Families Into Poverty

Source: Beth Mattingly, Christopher T. Wimer, University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy, National Fact Sheet no. 36, Spring 2017

From the summary:
How often are low-income families pushed into poverty by their child care expenses? In this fact sheet, we use the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to assess the extent to which child care expenses are pushing families with young children into poverty.

Nearly one-third (30.4 percent) of families with young children are poor. To fall under the SPM poverty line means that a family’s income would be less than $26,000 a year on average, with variations by family composition and geographic location. Among poor families with young children, 12.3 percent incur child care expenses according to our analyses of the SPM. For families earning this little income, child care expense can be a burden. Of those who pay for child care, nearly one in ten (9.4 percent) are poor (Figure 1). Roughly one third of these poor families are pushed into poverty by child care expenses. This represents an estimated 207,000 families.

Among families with young children who pay for child care, those with three or more children, those headed by a single parent, those with black or Hispanic household heads, and those headed by someone with less than a high school degree or by someone who does not work full time are most often pushed into poverty by child care expenses. Notably, these are also the families that tend to have the highest rates of poverty.

Key Findings:
• One third of poor families who pay for child care for their young children are pushed into poverty by their child care expenses.
• Families most often pushed into poverty by child care expenses include households with three or more children, those headed by a single parent, those with a black or Hispanic head of household, and those headed by someone with less than a high school degree or by someone who does not work full time.
Related:
Press release