Category Archives: Children

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…..

2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book: State Trends in Child Well-Being

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2017

From the summary:
The 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book urges policymakers not to back away from targeted investments that help U.S. children become healthier, more likely to complete high school and better positioned to contribute to the nation’s economy as adults. The Data Book also shows the child poverty rate in 2015 continued to drop, landing at 21%. In addition, children experienced gains in reading proficiency and a significant increase in the number of kids with health insurance. However, the data indicate that unacceptable levels of children living in poverty and in high-poverty neighborhoods persist.

In this year’s report, New Hampshire ranked first among states for overall child well-being, moving up one from 2016. Massachusetts and Vermont filled out the top three. Louisiana, New Mexico and Mississippi were the three lowest-ranked states.

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