Category Archives: Children

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.
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Data Book U.S. and state profiles
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National and State Press Releases
National Fact Sheet
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State Rankings:
Overall Rank
Economic Well-Being Rank
Education Rank
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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….

Academic performance of subsequent schools and impacts of early interventions: Evidence from a randomized controlled trial in Head Start settings

Source: Fuhua Zhai, C. Cybele Raver, Stephanie M. Jones, Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 34, Issue 5, May 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The role of subsequent school contexts in the long-term effects of early childhood interventions has received increasing attention, but has been understudied in the literature. Using data from the Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP), a cluster-randomized controlled trial conducted in Head Start programs, we investigate whether the intervention had differential effects on academic and behavioral outcomes in kindergarten if children attended high- or low-performing schools subsequent to the preschool intervention year. To address the issue of selection bias, we adopt an innovative method, principal score matching, and control for a set of child, mother, and classroom covariates. We find that exposure to the CSRP intervention in the Head Start year had significant effects on academic and behavioral outcomes in kindergarten for children who subsequently attended high-performing schools, but no significant effects on children attending low-performing schools. Policy implications of the findings are discussed.

Rethinking the role of early care and education in foster care

Source: Mary Elizabeth Meloy, Deborah A. Phillips, Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 34, Issue 5, May 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Service integration for foster children has recently improved following scholarly recommendations (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2001) that sparked federal action to integrate child welfare services with intervention services for children with special needs, as well as with local education and Medicaid agencies (P.L. 110-351, 2008). However, integration with early care and education (ECE) has lagged behind despite the potential of such efforts to help child welfare agencies fulfill their mandate to ensure children’s safety, permanency, and well-being (P.L. 105-89, 1997). Research aimed at informing the integration of ECE and foster care is also lacking, as these two areas of investigation have developed along largely parallel tracks. The purpose of this paper is to provide a framework for understanding the potential roles that ECE can play within the foster care system that can, in turn, guide a systematic, policy-focused research agenda. We introduce the paper with a discussion of federal policy barriers to ECE and child welfare service integration, and close with a specific recommendation that the Children’s Bureau and the Office of Child Care take steps to encourage research aimed at filling the knowledge gap at the intersection of these two core services for vulnerable children and families.

Policy Matters: Public Policy, Paid Leave for New Parents, and Economic Security for U.S. Workers

Source: Linda Houser & Thomas P. Vartanian, Rutgers Center for Women and Work (CWW), April 2012

A rich and growing literature attests to the benefits that accrue to workers, families, businesses, and the public when workers have access to paid leave to care for a new child. Such benefits include lower likelihood of premature birth, improvements in breastfeeding establishment and duration, and higher likelihood of obtaining well‐baby care. Additional studies have connected these short‐term benefits to longer‐term impacts, including improved health and well‐being for both mothers and children and decreased health care costs. Access to paid leave has also been linked to families’ economic security and independence. Thus, paid leave policies can be viewed as proactive public investments in the health and well‐being of children and families. However, paid leave remains inaccessible to many. In March 2011, only 11% of private sector workers and 17% of public sector workers reported having access to paid family leave through their employer; those percentages dropped to 5% and 14% respectively for those earning in the bottom quarter of wages.

Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents

Source: National Partnership for Women & Families, Second Edition, May 2012

From the summary:
Expecting Better: A State-by-State Analysis of Laws That Help New Parents is a comprehensive look at federal and state laws that provide the kind of support working parents need to stay healthy and protect their economic security when a new child arrives. From access to paid leave to paid sick days to workplace rights for nursing mothers and more, we assessed the laws and graded each state based on the extent to which it has policies that support new parents (beyond the minimal standards set by federal law). The findings are surprising.

– Only two states — California and Connecticut — show real leadership, receiving grades of “A-” for having done the most to support working parents.
– An astounding18 states don’t have a single law that supports new parents beyond what federal law requires.
– Most states are doing something, but not enough, for new parents.
– And not a single state has done all it could to provide paid leave and other supportive policies.

…What makes the grades in Expecting Better especially striking is that we know from past research, including two recent studies from Rutgers’ Center for Women and Work, that these policies have significant benefits. Paid leave and paid sick days, for example, promote the health and economic security of families, reduce reliance on public assistance, and benefit businesses through improved worker loyalty and reduced turnover. These policies are wise public investments that help working families and save the government and businesses money. They are truly win-win.

State of Preschool 2011

Source: W. Steven Barnett, Megan E. Carolan, Jen Fitzgerald, James H. Squires, National Institute for Early Education Research, 2011

From the summary:
The 2011 State Preschool Yearbook is the newest edition of our annual report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States. This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2010-2011 school year as well as documenting a decade of progress since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year. Tracking these trends is essential to ensuring states prioritize early childhood education, which influences how successfully America’s future generations will compete in a global knowledge economy.

Twenty-eight percent of America’s 4-year-olds were enrolled in a state-funded preschool program in the 2010-2011 school year, indicating the importance of ensuring quality in existing programs and expanding access to all children. The National Institute for Early Education Research has developed the State Preschool Yearbook series to provide information on the availability and quality of services offered through these programs to children at ages 3 and 4 and serve as a resource to policymakers and educators seeking to start all young learners on the right foot.

List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor- 2011

Source: U.S. Department Of Labor’s Bureau Of International Labor Affairs Office Of Child Labor, Forced Labor, And Human Trafficking, October 3, 2011

This publication is the second update of the List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor (List) by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) of the U.S. Department of Labor, pursuant to the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2005. ILAB published the initial List on September 10, 2009, and published an update on December 15, 2010.

ILAB examined 77 countries for the initial List in 2009, 39 additional countries for the 2010 update, and 60 countries, non-independent countries and territories for this year’s update, completing an initial examination of most countries in the world. The 2011 update adds 2 new goods and 1 new country, for a total of 130 goods from 71 countries that ILAB believes are produced with child labor or forced labor. The countries on the List span every region of the world and are at different stages of development. More goods were found to be made with child labor than forced labor. By sector, agricultural crops comprise the largest category, followed by manufactured goods and mined or quarried goods. The most common agricultural goods listed are cotton, sugarcane, tobacco, coffee and cattle; the most common manufactured goods listed are bricks, garments, carpets and footwear; and the most common mined goods listed are gold, diamonds and coal. The 2011 report adds a new section describing the process by which goods may be removed from the List, based on ILAB’s procedural guidelines.
View the 2011 bibliography
– View Current Countries and Products (XLS)