Category Archives: Children

Putting it Together: A guide to financing comprehensive services in child care and early education

Source: Christine Johnson-Staub, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), August 2012

From the summary:
CLASP’s newly released Putting it Together: A Guide to Financing Comprehensive Services in Child Care and Early Education aims to help states look beyond the major sources of child care and early education funding and consider alternative federal financing sources to bring comprehensive services into early childhood settings. Comprehensive services like preventive health care, developmental screenings, and family support are critical to the success of children – especially those who are most at risk for developmental challenges and delays. Yet the sources of child care funding historically available to states have limited supply and allowable uses, and are insufficient to provide comprehensive services in most child care and early education settings….CLASP’s financing guide walks early childhood stakeholders through the steps of building financing partnerships, and provides critical information and resources related to specific federal funding streams that support comprehensive services for children. The guide includes funding examples from state and local communities and technical details on the allowable uses of funding streams to support comprehensive services.

Profit before Children: Health and Well-Being of Medically Fragile Children & Young Adults at Risk in Geriatric Nursing Homes

Source: Florida Association for Medically Fragile Children, White Paper, 2012

From the press release:
[This] details how the state of Florida and geriatric nursing homes are violating federal law and putting the lives of medically fragile children and young adults at risk. Major revelations in “Profit before Children” detail the crisis:
1. The number of seniors in Florida nursing homes is decreasing. So, owners of geriatric facilities are competing to fill their beds with medically fragile children simply
to remain profitable, but they are not equipped to do so.
2. Florida may be violating federal law by not providing services guaranteed all children receiving Medicaid under the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment Program.
3. Possibly violating federal law, the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), Children’s Medical Services, physicians, and hospitals are referring children
directly to geriatric nursing homes without proper developmental testing or the legally mandated presentation of other options.
4. Geriatric nursing homes are lobbying the Florida Legislature to approve reduced levels of care that violate federal law. Their current staffing regulations are
already inadequate to care for medically fragile children. Under proposed bills (SB 482, SB1884, HB 621, & HB 1419), they want to further reduce staffing requirements to dangerous levels.
5. An up-to-date, statewide, reliable needs assessment of the population of medically fragile children and young adults has not been done in Florida. So, geriatric
facilities cannot ethically be granted a certificate of need.
6. Geriatric nursing homes cannot properly assess the treatment needs of medically fragile children and young adults. Assessments and care plans administered in
long-term, geriatric facilities are standardized for people over 65, but they ignore the special needs of medically fragile children and young adults.
7. Monitoring systems in geriatric facilities have been designed for individuals over 65 who can press a call button for assistance. Medically fragile children and young
adults cannot possibly operate them, which could put their lives at risk.

Children's Health Insurance: Opportunities Exist for Improved Access to Affordable Insurance

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-12-648, June 22, 2012

From the summary:
GAO estimates that under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), about three-quarters of approximately 7 million children who were uninsured in January 2009 would be eligible for Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or the new premium tax credit. The remaining children had family incomes too high to be eligible, were noncitizens, or would be ineligible for the premium tax credit because they would be considered to have access to affordable employer-sponsored insurance per the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) proposed affordability standard, in which IRS interpreted PPACA as defining affordability for an employee’s eligible family members based on the cost of an employee-only plan. Some commenters raised concerns that IRS’s interpretation was inconsistent with PPACA’s goal of increasing access to affordable health insurance as it does not consider the higher cost of family insurance and could result in some children remaining uninsured. Under PPACA, CHIP is not funded beyond 2015, and states may opt to reduce CHIP eligibility or eliminate programs in fiscal year 2020. Without CHIP, more children could become uninsured. In May 2012, IRS finalized its rule but deferred finalizing the proposed affordability standard.

Children's Budget 2012

Source: First Focus, 2012

From the press release:
First Focus today released a report finding that, for the first time since the children’s advocacy organization began its budget analyses in 2008, “discretionary” spending (the budget decisions made by Congress through annual appropriations bills) on children has declined for two consecutive years. Children’s Budget 2012 observes that less than 8 percent of the federal budget is invested in children…. Children’s Budget 2012 is a detailed analysis of more than 180 federal investments in children. They range from investments children benefit from every day like education, to acute problems such as child abuse and neglect prevention. The analysis also includes initiatives not traditionally recognized as investments in children, like federal affordable housing initiatives and Social Security. Discretionary spending on children has declined by about $2 billion since 2010….

See also:
Slide Show

Early Childhood Development

Source: Minneapolis Fed, 2012

Minneapolis Fed economists Art Rolnick and Rob Grunewald advocate an investment in early childhood development programs. These programs are rarely viewed within the context of economic development, but the authors think that is a mistake, that such an investment would result in high economic returns.

The website includes articles and a list of other related websites.

Early Education for Success: Early Childhood Education's Impact on the Economy

Source: National Journal, July 31, 2012
(subscription required)

Politicians from both sides of the aisle agree: early childhood education plays a crucial role in ensuring America’s global competitiveness. Even amid challenging fiscal climates, states have advanced innovative approaches to early learning policies, and new federal initiatives are trying to sustain their momentum and expand their reach. What’s next for early learning, and what can the White House and Congress do to support it?

This National Journal policy summit featured a panel of experts exploring how the two presidential candidates’ visions for early education might translate into policy and the impact these policies might have on the nation’s long term economic health. The discussion also examined the current early childhood education policies at work in the states and offered a range of policy solutions to guarantee American children have the tools they need to succeed in a global economy.

Early Childhood Education’s Impact on the Economy from National Journal and National Journal on

2012 KIDS COUNT Data Book

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2012

From the press release:
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s latest KIDS COUNT Data Book shows both promising progress and discouraging setbacks for the nation’s children: While their academic achievement and health improved in most states, their economic well-being continued to decline.

Over the period of roughly 2005 to 2011, the improvements in children’s health and education include a 20 percent decrease in the number of kids without health insurance; a 16 percent drop in the child and teen death rate; an 11 percent reduction in the rate of high school students not graduating in four years; and an 8 percent reduction in the proportion of eighth-graders scoring less than proficient in math.

The 2012 Data Book indicates kids and families nationwide are still struggling economically in the wake of the recession. In 2010, one-third of youths had parents without secure employment — an increase of 22 percent, or about 4 million children, in just two years. From 2005 to 2010, the number of children living in poverty rose by 2.4 million.
See also:
Data Book U.S. and state profiles
Definitions and sources
National and State Press Releases
National Fact Sheet
National Fact Sheet (Spanish)

State Rankings:
Overall Rank
Economic Well-Being Rank
Education Rank
Health Rank
Family and Community Rank
Interactive Wheel

Time Off with Baby: Who Gets It, and Who Doesn't

Source: Edward Zigler, Susan Muenchow, and Christopher J. Ruhm, Zero to Three, July 2012
(subscription required)

Nearly 20 years after the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), it is time to take stock of U.S. policy on parental leave, particularly as it affects infant care and child development. While the FMLA has certainly expanded access to job-protected leave, large sectors of the workforce are left out and, in the absence of paid leave, cannot afford to use it even if they are eligible. Time Off With Baby explores the lessons learned from the many nations that offer paid parental leave as well as from a relatively new part-paid leave policy in California. Drawing on research across the fields of maternal and child health, child development, and economics, the authors conclude that paid family leave for infant care is a wise investment. The authors see little downside to offering a modest paid leave policy for infant care and great cost to having the United States continue to be the only advanced industrialized nation without such a policy.

Who Cares for the Sick Kids? Parents' Access to Paid Time to Care for a Sick Child

Source: Andrew Schaefer, Kristin Smith, Carsey Institute, Issue Brief, no. 51, June 12, 2012

From the abstract:
This brief analyzes employed parents’ access to five or more paid sick days annually to care for a sick child in 2008. Using data from the 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce collected by the Families and Work Institute (the most recent data available in the series), authors Kristin Smith and Andrew Schaefer analyze differences in access between employed mothers and fathers by demographic and work-related characteristics. They report that, in 2008, more than one-half–52 percent–of employed parents lacked access to at least five paid sick days to care for a sick child, and lower-earning parents had the least access. Although employed mothers and fathers have similar access to paid sick days to care for their sick children, mothers more often miss work to care for a sick child. Employed parents with paid sick days to care for a sick child are 1.9 times more likely to be very satisfied with their job than those without this access.

Increasing the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Existing Public Investments in Early Childhood Education – Recommendations to Boost Program Outcomes and Efficiency

Source: Donna Cooper and Kristina Costa, Center for American Progress, June 2012

From the summary:
…In this report we describe how conflicting expectations, misaligned system requirements, and programmatic firewalls on the federal level create formidable barriers to the operation of a well-coordinated system of high-quality early childhood education for children from birth to 5 years old. This lack of coordination means that our federal investments are neither operating as efficiently nor as effectively as possible. As a result we are missing the opportunity to increase the number of young children who enter kindergarten with the skills, knowledge, and dispositions necessary for school and lifelong success.

Currently, there are four federal funding streams–Head Start, the Child Care Development Block Grant, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act–investing approximately $13 billion annually in early childhood programs focused on boosting early learning outcomes. Most of the resources from these funding streams, which we describe later in this report, are targeted to at-risk children. But despite laudable intentions, challenges naturally arise when multiple federal agencies are working relatively independently of one another in pursuit of a common goal….