Category Archives: Children

New reports highlight different approaches to child welfare financing

Source: Child Trends, June 2018

Two new reports from Child Trends provide a comprehensive overview of how states use various funding sources to support child welfare agencies. The first report highlights state variation in per-child spending by child welfare agencies, finding that agencies spent $12.8 billion (approximately $172 per child) in federal funds and $16.3 billion (approximately $222 per child) in state funds in fiscal year 2014.

See:
Federal and State/Local Child Welfare Agency Spending per Child, 2004–2014
Source: Dana Connelly, Kristina Rosinsky, Child Trends, Research Brief, Publication #2018-12, June 2018

The second report highlights variation in how child welfare agencies use federal funding streams to finance their programs. This information can help policymakers, advocates, and other child welfare stakeholders review state approaches to child welfare financing and better understand how changes to funding streams will impact child welfare programs.

See:
State Variation in Child Welfare Agency Use of Federal Funding Sources
Source: Dana Connelly, Kristina Rosinsky, Child Trends, Research Brief, Publication #2018-13, June 2018

Related:
5 things to know about children and SNAP
Source: David Murphey, Child Trends, June 28, 2018
A new Child Trends 5 explains how the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) impacts children’s well-being. SNAP serves a monthly average of more than 1 in 4 U.S. children. The single largest share of households with children receiving SNAP benefits are headed by a white, non-Hispanic adult.

There’s a growing need for child-care centers on college campuses

Source: Jillian Berman, MarketWatch, June 5, 2018

The fate of thousands of college students— and their kids—hangs in the balance.

…. Across the country, campus child-care programs, like the one Preciado relies on, are eagerly waiting to see whether they’ll be able to afford to maintain their services or even expand them. Earlier this year, Congress authorized an increase in funding to the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, which supports efforts by colleges to help low-income student parents afford child care. But it still remains unclear which of the many campus child-care programs across the country will get the new funds and how that will be decided. ….

Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test

Source: Jessica McCrory Calarco, Atlantic, June 1, 2018

Affluence—not willpower—seems to be what’s behind some kids’ capacity to delay gratification. ….

…. Ultimately, the new study finds limited support for the idea that being able to delay gratification leads to better outcomes. Instead, it suggests that the capacity to hold out for a second marshmallow is shaped in large part by a child’s social and economic background—and, in turn, that that background, not the ability to delay gratification, is what’s behind kids’ long-term success. ….

…. This new paper found that among kids whose mothers had a college degree, those who waited for a second marshmallow did no better in the long run—in terms of standardized test scores and mothers’ reports of their children’s behavior—than those who dug right in. Similarly, among kids whose mothers did not have college degrees, those who waited did no better than those who gave in to temptation, once other factors like household income and the child’s home environment at age 3 (evaluated according to a standard research measure that notes, for instance, the number of books that researchers observed in the home and how responsive mothers were to their children in the researchers’ presence) were taken into account. For those kids, self-control alone couldn’t overcome economic and social disadvantages.

The failed replication of the marshmallow test does more than just debunk the earlier notion; it suggests other possible explanations for why poorer kids would be less motivated to wait for that second marshmallow. For them, daily life holds fewer guarantees: There might be food in the pantry today, but there might not be tomorrow, so there is a risk that comes with waiting. And even if their parents promise to buy more of a certain food, sometimes that promise gets broken out of financial necessity. ….

Related:
Revisiting the Marshmallow Test: A Conceptual Replication Investigating Links Between Early Delay of Gratification and Later Outcomes
Source: Tyler W. Watts, Greg J. Duncan, Haonan Quan, Psychological Science, Online First, May 25, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
We replicated and extended Shoda, Mischel, and Peake’s (1990) famous marshmallow study, which showed strong bivariate correlations between a child’s ability to delay gratification just before entering school and both adolescent achievement and socioemotional behaviors. Concentrating on children whose mothers had not completed college, we found that an additional minute waited at age 4 predicted a gain of approximately one tenth of a standard deviation in achievement at age 15. But this bivariate correlation was only half the size of those reported in the original studies and was reduced by two thirds in the presence of controls for family background, early cognitive ability, and the home environment. Most of the variation in adolescent achievement came from being able to wait at least 20 s. Associations between delay time and measures of behavioral outcomes at age 15 were much smaller and rarely statistically significant.

Why and How Do Low-income Hispanic Families Search for Early Care and Education (ECE)?

Source: Julia L. Mendez, Danielle A. Crosby, National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, Publication number: 2018-15, May 2018

From the introduction:
Child care assistance for low-income families is intended to reduce the cost of care for working parents, encourage children’s participation in high-quality child care arrangements, and increase stability in parents’ employment and children’s care arrangements. Children from low-income backgrounds who access high-quality early care and education (ECE) programs fare better on many developmental outcomes than children who do not. Common forms of child care assistance include federal subsidy programs, ECE programs such as Head Start/Early Head Start, and publicly funded universal pre-kindergarten programs.

Understanding how low-income families search for and locate ECE programs that meet their needs, and how they obtain assistance to pay for ECE, is a critically important issue for researchers and policymakers.
Historically, Hispanic families have underutilized government assistance programs aimed at serving families who experience poverty, reporting that they do not need them or do not have knowledge of the assistance available or eligibility requirements. Research has also found that Latino and other immigrant groups may not use federal assistance, due to a belief in helping their larger group (collectivist orientation), which could result in families foregoing support so that others may benefit, even when they themselves are eligible for assistance.

Because the Hispanic population is growing rapidly and often faces considerable economic need—and because ECE can play an important role in reducing racial/ethnic disparities in early learning and later school outcomes—it is important for the research and policy community to better understand how and why low-income Hispanic parents search for ECE. This study takes a closer look at low-income Hispanic parents’ reported reasons for conducting a search for an ECE provider or program for their young children.

This brief uses data from the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to describe why low-income Hispanic parents with young children (birth to age 5) report searching for child care; comparison data for low-income non-Hispanic black and white parents are also reported. Prior research involving low-income families from various racial/ethnic backgrounds showed that parents report a variety of reasons for their ECE searches. There are also several important barriers to low-income families’ use of care, including lack of availability, low affordability, and poor alignment with parents’ work schedules. Understanding similar or shared concerns about ECE across U.S. racial and ethnic groups—along with differences across these groups—can guide outreach by programs and inform policy adjustments that might better serve diverse groups…..

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….

Related:
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.

Related:
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…..