Baby Box Program – New Jersey

Baby in a box? Free cardboard bassinets encourage safe sleeping, By Lisa W. Foderaro, February 12, 2017, New York Times: “Jernica Quiñones, a mother of five, was the first parent in New Jersey to get her free baby box — a portable, low-tech bassinet made of laminated cardboard. But first, she had to take an online course about safe sleeping practices, which experts say can sharply reduce the chances of sudden infant death syndrome.  ‘Basically, you want to have the baby on the mattress, and that’s it,’ she said after watching a 20-minute series of videos.  The message may not be new. But health officials say it is critical to keeping babies safe. To reduce infant mortality, parents must put babies to sleep on their backs on a firm mattress in either a bassinet or a crib — with no pillow, blanket, stuffed animal or bumpers.  Now, New Jersey has become the first state to adopt a broad program to reduce infant deaths by aiming to distribute as many as 105,000 of the so-called baby boxes — the expected number of births in the state this year…”

Child Poverty and Health

Study shows poor children face higher rates of asthma and ADHD, By David Templeton, February 13, 2017, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Poverty takes a toll on human health and especially on children.   The American Academy of Pediatrics and Britain’s Child Poverty Action Group, among various groups and scientific studies, long have documented the higher risk of illness, chronic disease and disability among impoverished children, along with lower birth weights and an average life expectancy nearly a decade shorter than children from affluent families.  Now add asthma and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder to the long list of physical and mental maladies, along with attendant conditions known as ‘comorbidities.’   These are the key findings of a Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC study published today in Pediatrics…”

Lead Poisoning in Children – Indiana

Indiana bill aims to increase lead testing for children in low-income families, By Ted Booker, February 9, 2017, South Bend Tribune: “Only a small fraction of Indiana’s children in low-income families are tested for lead poisoning, but a proposed state bill aims to change that.  Senate Bill 491 — co-authored by Sen. Jean Breaux, D-Indianapolis, and Sen. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend — calls for doubling the number of Medicaid-eligible children tested statewide for the toxic metal, which can cause permanent damage to kids’ developing brains and organs…”

Child Welfare System – Idaho

Study: Idaho’s child welfare system overwhelmed, overworked, By Associated Press and Samantha Wright, February 8, 2017, Boise State Public Radio: “State auditors say Idaho’s child welfare system is overwhelmed, with too few foster parents, too heavy caseloads for social workers and not enough infrastructure to hold it all together.  The study from the Legislature’s Office of Performance Evaluations found that the number of foster parents has decreased by 8 percent since 2014, while social workers are dealing with 28 to 38 percent more cases than they can reasonably handle…”

Children of Incarcerated Parents

How mass incarceration pushes black children further behind in school, By Melinda D. Anderson, January 16, 2017, The Atlantic: “In the summer of 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the closing remarks at the March on Washington. More than 200,000 people gathered to cast a national spotlight on and mobilize resistance to Jim Crow, racist laws and policies that disenfranchised black Americans and mandated segregated housing, schools, and employment. Today, more than 50 years later, remnants of Jim Crow segregation persist in the form of mass incarceration—the imprisonment of millions of Americans, overwhelmingly and disproportionately black adults, in local, state, and federal prisons…”

Kids Count Report – New Mexico

  • Kids Count report is a mixed bag for New Mexico, By Rick Nathanson, January 17, 2016, Albuquerque Journal: “The annual New Mexico Kids Count Data Book released Tuesday shows the most improvement in measures of children’s health, but little improvement in measures of family economic well-being.  The data book, a project of New Mexico Voices for Children, showed declines in the rate of babies with low birth weight, in children without health insurance, and in teens abusing alcohol and drugs. The teen birth rate has also declined, following a similar national trend…”
  • Despite upticks, N.M. still tough for kids, By Robert Nott, January 17, 2017, Santa Fe New Mexican: “Nearly all New Mexico children have health care insurance, and sharply fewer of the state’s teenagers are abusing drugs and alcohol, a new report says. Overall, however, New Mexico remains a tough place for kids…”

Poverty and Child Development

The toll poverty takes on children’s mental health, By Mary Elizabeth Dallas, January 10, 2017, CBS News: “Growing up in poverty exposes children to greater levels of stress, which can lead to psychological problems later in life, a new study suggests.  Researchers at Cornell University reported that kids who grow up poor are more likely to have reduced short-term spatial memory. The study also reported that such kids seem to be more prone to antisocial and aggressive behavior, such as bullying.  Poor children are also more likely than kids from middle-income homes to feel powerless, the study authors suggested…”

Kids Count Report – Florida

  • Kids Count report: Many area children living in poverty, By Liz Freeman, January 8, 2017, News-Press: “Children in Southwest Florida are falling behind compared to the health and well-being of children around the state, a report released today shows. More children in Collier and Lee counties live in poverty and rely on food stamps, are uninsured and overweight, and have gone through maltreatment dispositions compared to their counterparts statewide, according to a Florida Kids Count report…”
  • Report highlights racial disparities among Jacksonville’s children in poverty, By Tessa Duvall, January 9, 2017, Florida Times-Union: “A report that looks at children’s quality of life in Florida paints a bleak economic picture for Duval County’s black children.  Florida Kids Count, released Monday, shows that black children represent a much larger percentage of poor children than their white and Hispanic peers…”

Early Childhood Education

A Nobel Prize winner says public preschool programs should start at birth, By Emma Brown, December 12, 2016, Washington Post: “Nobel Prize winner James Heckman’s research has played an important role in establishing that high-quality public preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds can more than pay for itself over the long term, as low-income children who attend are more likely to live productive lives. It’s an economic argument that has persuaded lawmakers from both parties to support early education initiatives.  Now Heckman has released new research showing that the return on investment is even higher for high-quality programs that care for low-income children from infancy to age 5…”

New Orleans Youth Index

Child poverty down, and 6 more facts from New Orleans Youth Index, By  Danielle Dreilinger, December 16, 2016, New Orleans Times-Picayune: “New Orleans’ young people could thrive if conditions were different. That’s what The Data Center says in its 2016 Youth Index, released Wednesday (Dec. 14). The report compiles figures on poverty, education, housing and other factors that shape lives. It updates the 2015 edition…”

Kids Count Report – Kentucky

Poverty still darkens lives of Kentucky kids, By Deborah Yetter, December 4, 2016, Louisville Courier-Journal: “Struggling to provide for themselves and their growing family, George and Katrina Ellis found themselves on the brink of homelessness several years ago when they lost their rental home and couldn’t find another they could afford.  ‘We never in a million years thought it would happen to us,’ Katrina Ellis said.  With help from the Volunteers of America, which housed them for nine months in its family shelter, the couple has recovered financially and lives in a new rental home with their five boys ages 9, 8, 7, 5 and 1.  But the ordeal was stressful for the parents, who feared they might lose their boys, and for the boys themselves, because they had to deal with the upheaval and fear of not having a permanent home…”

Child Poverty – Oregon

Rising rents, slow-to-recover earnings trap many Oregon children in tough circumstances, By Betsy Hammond, November 16, 2016, The Oregonian: “The typical Oregon family saw its income rise about 6 percent faster than inflation, to $66,300, in 2015. Still, that remained $1,300 less than the inflation-adjusted typical family income in 2007, before the recession, even though the costs of rent and child care have surged 10 and 18 percent faster than inflation since then.  Those are among the findings of a new report by Children First for Oregon, looking at how the economy, race, education, health care and other factors are affecting the state’s youngest residents…”

US Children in Foster Care

5 states struggle with surging numbers of foster children, By David Crary (AP), November 23, 2016, Wisconsin State Journal: “The number of U.S. children in foster care is climbing after a sustained decline, but just five states account for nearly two-thirds of the recent increase. Reasons range from creation of a new child-abuse hotline to widespread outrage over the deaths of children who’d been repeatedly abused. Addictions among parents are another major factor…”

Child Poverty – Toronto, CA

Kids suffer most as Toronto clings to title of child poverty capital, By Laurie Monsebraaten, November 14, 2016, Toronto Star: “Salma Jabeen would love to enrol her 4-year-old daughter in taekwondo or gymnastics. Or buy Zara the small toy she wanted during a recent trip to the mall.  But her husband’s earnings as a security guard barely cover groceries and rent for the family’s sparsely-furnished Thorncliffe Park apartment…”

Youth Homelessness

Survey reveals factors in youth homelessness, By Jackie Rehwald, November 2, 2016, Springfield News-Leader: “According to a survey of homeless and at-risk youth in Springfield, young people are more likely to be homeless if they have a parent with a drug or alcohol problem; they have witnessed or been a victim of repeated traumas; or they have ever been homeless with their family.  Factors such as mental illness and whether or not the youth uses drugs or alcohol seem ‘important factors, but secondary,’ said Tim Knapp, Missouri State University sociology professor who helped analyze the results of the survey…”

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Why more grandparents are raising children, By Teresa Wiltz, November 2, 2016, Stateline: “The number of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren is going up and increasingly it’s because their own kids are addicted to heroin or prescription drugs, or have died from an overdose. For some, it’s a challenge with little help available.  In 2005, 2.5 million children were living with grandparents who were responsible for their care. By 2015, that number had risen to 2.9 million.  Child welfare officials say drug addiction, especially to opioids, is behind much of the rise in the number of grandparents raising their grandchildren, just as it was during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and ’90s. An estimated 2.4 million people were addicted to opioids at last count…”

Teen Birthrate – Milwaukee, WI

City’s teen birthrate at historic low, By Crocker Stephenson, October 27, 2016, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Milwaukee’s birthrate for girls 15 to 17 years old continues to plunge, reaching a historic low in 2015, the Milwaukee Health Department plans to announce Friday.  The decrease was seen across all racial and ethnic groups, according to the department. The city’s teen birthrate has declined 65% since 2006, when one out of every 20 girls gave birth to a child…”

Universal Child Benefit

Giving every child a monthly check for an even start, By Eduardo Porter, October 18, 2016, New York Times: “How can it be that the United States spends so much money fighting poverty and still suffers one of the highest child poverty rates among advanced nations?  One in five American children is poor by the count of LIS, a data archive tracking well-being and deprivation around the world. By international standards that set the poverty line at one-half the income of families on the middle rung of the income ladder, the United States tolerated more child poverty in 2012 than 30 of the 35 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a grouping of advanced industrialized nations…”

Public Housing

The remarkable thing that happens to poor kids when you help their parents with rent, By Max Ehrenfreund, October 12, 2016, Washington Post: “Few programs for the poor are so widely reviled as public housing. For opponents on the right, housing projects are costly monuments to the folly of misguided idealism, stifling residents’ ambition by surrounding them with crime, decay and bureaucracy. For critics on the left, the projects — which were often segregated — became ugly icons of the racism of the white elite, an elite that was unwilling to implement more effective solutions to social problems…”