Category Archives: Children

Soaring Food Prices Are Making it Harder for Schools and Child Nutrition Programs to Provide Healthy Meals to Children, Witnesses Tell House Education Committee

Source: U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Education and Labor, Press release, July 9, 2008

With Americans already feeling the strain of higher grocery costs, soaring food prices are making it more difficult for schools, child care programs, and summer food service programs to provide healthy, low-cost meals for children, witnesses told the House Education and Labor Committee today. Today’s hearing was the first held by Congress to examine how rising food costs are affecting U.S. child nutrition programs and the millions of families who rely on them.

According to preliminary results of a new survey unveiled by the School Nutrition Association at the hearing, to help cope with higher food costs in the coming year, 75 percent of school nutrition directors plan to increase school meal prices for students, and 62 percent plan to reduce staff. In addition, 69 percent of the survey’s respondents reported they will have to dip into their “rainy day funds” intended for capital improvement projects.
See also:
Testimonies (PDFs) and archived webcast

2008 State Fact Sheets

Source: Child Welfare League of America, June 2008

The State Fact Sheets provide descriptive information on the condition of vulnerable children in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, using indicators of child protection, health, child care, education, and income support.
See also:
National Fact Sheet
State Fact Sheets from 2007
State Fact Sheets from 2006
State Fact Sheets from 2005
State Fact Sheets from 2004
State Fact Sheets from 2003
State Fact Sheets from 2002
State Fact Sheets from 2001
State Fact Sheets from 2000

NCSL 50-State Legislative Tracking Web Resources

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, June 2008

At the request of NCSL’s Legislative Research Librarians (LRL) staff section, NCSL has developed this resource of 50-state compilations covering various issues that concern state legislators and legislative staff. Here you will find a topical, alphabetical listing of legislative and statutory databases, compilations and state charts/maps.

[NOTE: Some of these tracking services are currently out of date. PLEASE NOTE THE DATE of the item you are reviewing].

Labor & Employment

At-Will Employment
Day Laborer Laws (statutes)
Drugtesting in the Workplace
State Divestment Legislation
Equal Pay (statutes and legislation)
Family/Medical Leave Laws (statutes)
Living Wage (legislation)
Medical Donar Leave Laws (statutes)
Minimum Wage Laws (legislation and chart)
Minors – Employment Laws (statutes)
Non-compete Agreements (statutes)
Overtime Laws (statutes)
Sick Leave Laws (statutes)
Telecommuting (statutes and legislation)
Whistleblowers (statutes)
Workforce Development (legislation and resources)

Immigrant Labor, Child-Care Services, and the Work-Fertility Trade-Off in the United States

Source: Delia Furtado, Heinrich Hock, IZA Discussion Paper No. 3506, May 2008

The negative correlation between female employment and fertility in industrialized nations has weakened since the 1960s, particularly in the United States. We suggest that the continuing influx of low-skilled immigrants has led to a substantial reduction in the trade-off between work and childrearing facing American women. The evidence we present indicates that low-skilled immigration has driven down wages in the US child-care sector. More affordable child-care has, in turn, increased the fertility of college graduate native females. Although childbearing is generally associated with temporary exit from the labor force, immigrant-led declines in the price of child-care has reduced the extent of role incompatibility between fertility and work.

Family Resource Simulator

Source: National Center for Children in Poverty, 2008

The Family Resource Simulator illustrates the impact of “work supports”–such as earned income tax credits and child care assistance–on the budget of a hypothetical family. Based on the answers provided on steps 1 through 7, the Simulator generates graphs that show how family resources and expenses change as earnings increase.

Preschoolers Enrolled and Mothers at Work? The Effects of Universal Pre-Kindergarten

Source: Maria Fitzpatrick, US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies, Paper no. CES-WP-08-04, March 01, 2008

Three states (Georgia, Oklahoma and Florida) recently introduced Universal Pre- Kindergarten (Universal Pre-K) programs offering free preschool to all age-eligible children, and policy makers in many other states are promoting similar policies. How do such policies affect the participation of children in preschool programs (or do they merely substitute for preschool offered by the market)? Does the implicit child care subsidy afforded by Universal Pre-K change maternal labor supply? I present a model that includes preferences for child quality and shows the directions of change in preschool enrollment and maternal labor supply in response to Universal Pre-K programs are theoretically ambiguous. Using restricted-access data from the Census, together with year and birthday based eligibility cutoffs, I employ a regression discontinuity framework to estimate the effects of Universal Pre-K availability. Universal Pre-K availability increases preschool enrollment by 12 to 15 percent, with the largest effect on children of women with less than a Bachelor’s Degree. Universal Pre-K availability has little effect on the labor supply of most women. However, women residing in rural areas in Georgia increase their children’s preschool enrollment and their own employment by 22 and 20 percent, respectively, when Universal Pre-K is available.

Youth Transitioning From Foster Care: Background, Federal Programs, and Issues for Congress

Source: Congressional Research Service, Order Code RL34499, May 21, 2008

From the summary:
Nearly half of states have laws that explicitly permit the state child welfare system to continue providing foster care for children beyond the age of majority (usually no later than 19). However, the number of states that actually facilitate youth remaining in care beyond their 18th or 19th birthdays is significantly smaller. Over 20,000 young people have been emancipated from foster care annually from FY2002 through FY2006. While most young people have access to emotional and financial support systems throughout their early adult years, older youth in care and those who age out of care often face obstacles to developing independent living skills and building supports that ease the transition to adulthood. Older foster youth who return to their parents or guardians may continue to experience poor family dynamics or a lack of emotional and financial supports, and studies have shown that recently emancipated foster youth fare poorly relative to their counterparts in the general population on several outcome measures.

Early Childhood Program Evaluations: A Decision-Maker’s Guide

Source: National Forum on Early Childhood Program Evaluation, December 2007

Despite increasing demands for evidence-based early childhood services, the evaluations of interventions such as Head Start or home-visiting programs frequently contribute more heat than light to the policy-making process. This dilemma is illustrated by the intense debate that often ensues among dueling experts who reach different conclusions from the same data about whether a program is effective or whether its impacts are large enough to warrant a significant investment of public and/or private funds.

Because the interpretation of program evaluation research is so often highly politicized, it is essential that policymakers and civic leaders have the independent knowledge needed to be able to evaluate the quality and relevance of the evidence provided in reports. This guide helps prepare decision-makers to be better consumers of evaluation information. It is organized around five key questions that address both the substance and the practical utility of rigorous evaluation research. The principles we discuss are relevant and applicable to the evaluation of programs for individuals of any age, but in our examples and discussion we focus specifically on early childhood.

Finding Relatives for Children

Source: Nina Williams-Mbengue, National Conference of State Legislatures, LegisBrief, Vol. 16, no. 28, June/July 2008
(subscription required)

State child welfare agencies increasingly rely on placing children whose parents cannot or will not assume responsibility for them with grandparents and other relatives. These placements can improve stability for children, and state and federal policies give preference for placing children with relatives. Policymakers can support over-burdened state agencies by crafting legislation and recommending initiatives that help states to better identify and recruit relatives and other caring adults to provide for a child’s safety, well-being and permanency.

Health Insurance Coverage for Young Adults

Source: Laura Tobler, National Conference of State Legislatures, LegisBrief, Vol. 16, no. 29, June/July 2008
(subscription required)

Young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 are at risk of being uninsured more often than any other age group. Eleven percent of the nation’s children through age 18 are uninsured, while 30 percent of those between the ages of 19 and 29 lack coverage.