Category Archives: Children

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.

Related:
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.

Highlights
• 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. ….

Related:
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.

A Childcare Agenda for the Left

Source: Heidi Hartmann and Gina Chirillo, Dissent, Fall 2017

It has to be taken as a sign of progress that the presidential candidates of both major political parties talked about providing child care and paid family leave in their campaigns, for the first time in U.S. history. But despite this progress, the Trump administration’s child-care proposal is not comprehensive enough to be of much use to the large numbers of low-income families in great need. Trump’s child-care proposal is—surprise, surprise—another tax giveaway to upper-income taxpayers, disguised as an increased tax credit for struggling low-income families. The increase is vanishingly small for low earners. In response to Trump’s plan, Democratic Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott drafted the Child Care for Working Families Act. A summary of the bill, expected to be introduced in full tomorrow, shows a more comprehensive plan for high-quality early learning and affordable child care.

Subsidized child care and paid family leave are crucial for American families because they have the potential to increase disposable family income and reduce poverty and inequality in a meaningful way. They are also essential for achieving gender equality, key for children’s well-being, and a stimulus to the economy. For all these reasons, any progressive or Democratic Party platform must include wide-ranging child care and paid family leave proposals. Trump’s plan doesn’t get us there, but as in many other countries with our wealth, we can and must humanize our economic system by building in time and resources for caring for our families…..

Related:
2 Million Parents Forced to Make Career Sacrifices Due to Problems with Child Care
Source: Leila Schochet and Rasheed Malik, Center for American Progress, September 13, 2017

The Effects of Tulsa’s Pre-K Program on Middle School Student Performance

Source: William T. Gormley, Jr., Deborah Phillips, Sara Anderson, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Early View, August 23, 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
As states have upgraded their commitment to pre-K education over the past two decades, questions have arisen. Critics argue that program effects are likely to fade out or disappear over time, while supporters contend that program effects are likely to persist under certain conditions. Using data from Tulsa Public Schools, three neighboring school districts, and the state of Oklahoma, and propensity score weighting, we estimate the effects of Tulsa’s universal, school-based pre-K program on multiple measures of academic progress for middle school students. We find enduring effects on math achievement test scores, enrollment in honors courses, and grade retention for students as a whole, and similar effects for certain subgroups. We conclude that some positive effects of a high-quality pre-K program are discernible as late as middle school.

‘What can I do’? Child welfare workers’ perceptions of what they can do to address poverty

Source: Juliana Carlson, Journal of Children and Poverty, Latest Articles, Published online: 02 Aug 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Within the field of child welfare, critical questions have been posed about the intersecting issues of child maltreatment and poverty. The study of the quality and nature of this intersection has continued relevance in light of evidence showing the increased likelihood of maltreatment of children living in poverty. Although child welfare workers interact directly with families involved with the child welfare system, the study of workers’ perceptions of whether or not they address families’ poverty and, if so, how they go about it has not yet been conducted. The study presented begins to address this gap. Analysis from individual interviews with 30 child welfare workers revealed that they differed in their perception of whether or not poverty should be addressed by child welfare and how. Findings suggest workers do what they can despite various barriers, including families’ limitations and the fragile US social welfare safety net. Based on the findings, current practice models and policies that impact poverty and child maltreatment reduction are discussed.

Early Childhood Homelessness in the United States: 50-State Profile

Source: Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), June 2017

….This 2017 release of the 50-state profile project provides a snapshot of early childhood data available for children who are experiencing homelessness in each state, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It includes publicly available data for the year 2014-2015 from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation and reports the following by state:
● Total population under age 6 in 2015
● Estimated number of children under age 6 experiencing homelessness in 2014-15
● Estimated percent of children under age 6 experiencing homelessness in 2014-15
● Estimated extent of homelessness (e.g. one in [X] children under age 6 experienced homelessness in 2014
-15)
● Estimated enrollment of children under age 6 in federally-funded early childhood programs for which data were available in 2014-2015 including Head Start and Local Education Agencies receiving McKinney-Vento subgrants in 2014-2015. Data were not available in 2014-2015 for the Child Care and Development Fund (subsidized child care) and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (evidence-based home visiting).

The 2017 release also includes two new related factors indicators; the percentage of families experiencing a high housing cost burden and the percentage of low-income working families with young children under age 6. These factors we included because of their relationship to homelessness and to spark dialogue about addressing homelessness for children under age 6. This data will also be available in future years…..