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DHS OIG — Oversight of Unaccompanied Alien Children

July 31, 2014 Comments off

Oversight of Unaccompanied Alien Children (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General
From press release (PDF):

The Office of Inspector General (OIG), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), today issued the first of a series of reports on conditions at detention centers being used to temporarily house unaccompanied alien children.

The report is based on 87 unannounced site visits conducted by OIG agents from July 1-16 at 63 detention centers in Texas, Arizona and California, largely operated by Customs and Border Protection. The OIG’s oversight of the detention centers is ongoing and reports will be issued monthly.

The OIG’s findings are contained in a memorandum from Inspector General John Roth to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson.

OIG Agents checked the sites for sanitation, availability of medical care, food services and other factors. Sites and their staff were found to be largely in compliance with rules and regulations. Some problems were identified, including children requiring treatment for communicable diseases and DHS employees who have become ill from contact with their charges.

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Why Children are Fleeing Central America

July 31, 2014 Comments off

Why Children are Fleeing Central America (PDF)
Source: Bread for the World Institute

Since last October, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have fled unspeakable conditions and crossed into the United States. Most have come from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. By year’s end, that number is expected to grow to between 70,000 and 90,000. The Department of Homeland Security is preparing for more than 100,000 children to arrive in 2015. The United States is witnessing a humanitarian crisis in this situation.

Many members of Congress are focusing on detention centers and how fast the United States can send these children back to their home countries. Few are asking this question: What are we sending these children back to? Without addressing the root causes of this crisis, such as poverty and violence, this situation will continue. More and more children will be driven to flee their home countries in search of greater educational and economic opportunities, safer and more stable communities, and a path out of hunger.

This crisis is not just about the surge of new arrivals in the United States. It is also about the conditions of poverty, hunger, and violence that force children to leave their homes on a very dangerous and uncertain journey:

• 75 percent of these children are coming from three countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
• More than half of the citizens of Honduras and Guatemala live on less than $4 a day.
• About half of all Guatemalans suffer from moderately or severely stunted growth.
• Honduras has the highest murder rate per capita in the world. It is almost five times that of Mexico and twice that of Detroit.
• Residents of all ages, including children, in these countries are getting caught in gang-related violence.

A Case against Child Labor Prohibitions

July 30, 2014 Comments off

A Case against Child Labor Prohibitions
Source: Cato Institute

In my recent book, Out of Poverty: Sweatshops in the Global Economy, I argue that much of what the anti-sweatshop movement agitates for would harm workers and that the process of economic development, in which sweatshops play an important role, is the best way to raise wages and improve working conditions. Child labor, although the most emotionally charged aspect of sweatshops, is not an exception to this analysis.

We should desire to see an end to child labor, but it has to come through a process that generates better opportunities for the children—not from legislative mandates that prevent children and their families from taking the best option available to them. Children work because their families are desperately poor, and the meager addition to the family income they can contribute is often necessary for survival. Banning child labor through trade regulations or governmental prohibitions often simply forces the children into less-desirable alternatives. When U.S. activists started pressuring Bangladesh into eliminating child labor, the results were disastrous.

Majority of Parents Say They Will Increase Back-to-School Spending This Year and Most Plan to Shop in a Physical Store, Accenture Survey Finds

July 30, 2014 Comments off

Majority of Parents Say They Will Increase Back-to-School Spending This Year and Most Plan to Shop in a Physical Store, Accenture Survey Finds
Source: Accenture

A majority of parents plan to spend more on their children’s back-to-school shopping this year, driven by rising costs or necessity rather than greater spending power, according to a survey released today by Accenture (NYSE:ACN). The Accenture Back-to-School Shopping Survey, which polled U.S. parents of children entering kindergarten through college, shows that nearly all (89 percent) plan to do most of their back-to-school shopping in a physical store, though many will still use online to browse and search – “webrooming.”

According to the survey, two-thirds of parents (67 percent) plan to spend between $100 and $500 and 41 percent plan to spend $500 or more for back-to-school shopping this year. Compared to last year, just over half (52 percent) of the parents said they will spend more on back-to-school shopping than last year, 37 percent plan to spend the same and only 11 percent expect to spend less. One-third (33 percent) of parents spending more plan to increase their spending by $250 or more. Among the reasons given for the spending increase, 71 percent cited higher prices and 56 percent cited increased school requirements. Nearly one in five parents (19 percent) said they will spend more in order to help their children “keep up with their friends.”

The survey results demonstrate the growing importance of the seamless shopping experience. For example, nearly eight out of 10 (79 percent) plan to participate in “webrooming” – browsing online and then going to a store to make their purchase. The top reasons respondents cited for webrooming were: to check if an item is in stock before going to a store to make a purchase (47 percent); to touch and feel the product before buying (43 percent); to avoid shipping costs (43 percent); and to ask the store to match a better price found online (33 percent).

Survey | Nearly 7-in-10 Americans See Unaccompanied Children at Border as Refugees, Not Illegal Immigrants

July 30, 2014 Comments off

Survey | Nearly 7-in-10 Americans See Unaccompanied Children at Border as Refugees, Not Illegal Immigrants
Source: Public Religion Research Institute

Roughly half (49%) of Americans report hearing a lot about the growing numbers of children arriving in the United States from Central America, while 31% report only hearing a little, and 20% report hearing nothing at all.

More than one-third (36%) of Americans view the number of children now coming from Central America as a crisis, while 43% see the situation as a serious problem but not a crisis. About 1-in-5 (19%) say the situation is a minor problem.

A majority (69%) of Americans say that children arriving from Central America should be treated as refugees and allowed to stay in the U.S. if authorities determine it is not safe for them to return to their home countries. In contrast, 27% say that children arriving from Central America should be treated as illegal immigrants and deported back to their home countries.

HHS — Unaccompanied Children Released to Sponsors By State

July 29, 2014 Comments off

Unaccompanied Children Released to Sponsors By State
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement

When a child who is not accompanied by a parent or guardian is apprehended by immigration authorities, the child is transferred to the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). ORR cares for the children in shelters around the country until they can be released to a sponsor, typically a parent or relative, who can care for the child while their immigration case is processed.

Ensuring that a potential sponsor can safely and appropriately care for the child is a top priority. A background check is conducted on all potential sponsors, and steps are taken to verify a potential sponsor’s identity and relationship to the child. In some cases where concerns are raised, a home study is done.

Before children are released to a sponsor, they receive vaccinations and medical screenings. We do not release any children who have a contagious condition.

The sponsor must agree to cooperate with all immigration proceedings.

If ORR cannot identify a viable sponsor, the child will typically remain in ORR care unless the following happens:

  • The child goes before the immigration judge and requests a voluntary departure
  • A judge orders the child to be deported and DHS repatriates
  • The child turns 18, transferring custody back to DHS
  • Legal relief, in some form is granted by an immigration judge
  • Ensuring the privacy and safety of children is of paramount importance. We cannot release information about individual children that could compromise the child’s location or identity.

The data in the table below shows state-by-state placement of unaccompanied children with sponsors. ACF will update this data during the first week of each month.

UBS Investor Watch report breaks the awkward silence around inheritance

July 28, 2014 Comments off

UBS Investor Watch report breaks the awkward silence around inheritance
Source: UBS

UBS Wealth Management Americas (WMA) today released its quarterly UBS Investor Watch report, exploring the issues around inheritance and why families avoid the topic. TThe survey of over 2,800 high net worth (HNW) and affluent U.S. investors found that while both benefactors1 and heirs are optimistic about giving and receiving inheritance, neither is actively engaged in inheritance planning and are reluctant to fully discuss this topic before a death in the family occurs. As a result, almost half (46%) of benefactors have not discussed their inheritance plans with their children. With an estimated $40 trillion of personal wealth expected to change hands by 20503, there is a lot at stake and a lot to talk about.

Perception of Weight Status in U.S. Children and Adolescents Aged 8–15 Years, 2005–2012

July 24, 2014 Comments off

Perception of Weight Status in U.S. Children and Adolescents Aged 8–15 Years, 2005–2012
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005–2012

  • About 30% of children and adolescents aged 8–15 years in the United States misperceive their weight status. Weight status misperception is more common among boys (32.3%) than girls (28.0%).
  • About one-third of Mexican-American (34.0%) and non-Hispanic black (34.4%) children and adolescents misperceive their weight status compared with non-Hispanic white children and adolescents (27.7%).
  • Approximately 81% of overweight boys and 71% of overweight girls believe they are about the right weight.
  • Nearly 48% of obese boys and 36% of obese girls consider themselves to be about the right weight.

The Web of Wealth: Resiliency and Opportunity or Driver of Inequality

July 24, 2014 Comments off

The Web of Wealth: Resiliency and Opportunity or Driver of Inequality (PDF)
Source: Institute on Assets and Social Policy (Brandeis University)

Families often help each other out financially. A brother lends a few hundred dollars to cover a late household bill. A grandparent puts $1,000 away each year into a college fund for their grandchildren. A parent writes a $10,000 check for their adult child’s first home down payment. In the short-term, financial help limits those in the network from economic collapse or a serious decline in their standard of living. Over the long-term, extended family financial support can provide a steppingstone to better opportunities, such as going to college, starting a business, or purchasing a home. Financial transfers can also be much larger, fundamentally changing a family’s lot in life. These large financial transfers often arrive in the form of inheritance upon the death of a relative. This network of extended family financial assistance is a “web of wealth” that, in the U.S., profoundly shapes individual family members’ social and economic trajectories beyond their own achievements in work and education.

A web of wealth depends on the financial resilience and affluence of its members. Some wealth webs are packed with prosperous individuals. Others have fewer wealthy members whose resources get spread thin within the network. Many family webs have no wealth, especially low-income, African American, and other family of color networks. Across generations, historic policies have contributed to this inequitable wealth distribution. A legacy of slavery and racism has produced limited access and opportunities especially for African Americans to build wealth, while the federal government has invested in the wealth building of the wealthiest Americans. The consequences are stark. Families without a web of wealth to draw on have less household resilience in facing financial disruptions. By contrast families situated in strong wealth webs are able to remain resilient in the face of financial disruptions and can leverage opportunities for upward mobility.

Inequality in the distribution of wealth webs helps reproduce and exacerbate inequities. For example, a child born into a wealthy family is 6.3 times more likely to end up a wealthy adult than a child born into a poor family.1 Racial inequities are also perpetuated. One study found that twelve percent of the racial wealth gap could be explained by differences in receipt of family financial transfers.

This brief explores these themes in greater depth. It describes the relative infrequency of extended family financial assistance, the inequities in its distribution, and the consequences for household wealth holding. It looks at how families use resources from the web of wealth, why families do not have access to a web of wealth, and what they do in its absence to maintain well-being and leverage opportunity. Finally, the brief proposes policy solutions to ensure that families without a web of wealth are able to access the same opportunities as those situated in well-resourced family networks.

UK — Ofcom publishes report on internet safety measures

July 24, 2014 Comments off

Ofcom publishes report on internet safety measures
Source: Ofcom
Ofcom has today published a report for Government outlining measures the UK’s largest internet service providers have put in place to help parents protect children from harmful content online.

This follows an agreement between the Government and BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, the four largest fixed line internet service providers (ISPs), announced in July 2013. Each ISP committed to offer new customers ‘family-friendly network-level filtering’ by the end of December 2013.

This is the second of three reports the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has asked Ofcom to produce on internet safety measures to protect children. The DCMS asked Ofcom to look at the approach taken by each ISP to implement family-friendly filtering services which block content that may be inappropriate or harmful for children, rather than assess the effectiveness of the filters.

The report also describes measures taken by ISPs to present a pre-ticked ‘unavoidable choice’ to new customers on whether or not to activate the filter, and includes initial take-up data among new customers offered filters.

The filters apply to all web based internet content, on any device that is connected to the fixed broadband network in the home.

Family Law: A Beginner’s Guide – Part 2: Child Custody, Support, and Adoption

July 23, 2014 Comments off

Family Law: A Beginner’s Guide – Part 2: Child Custody, Support, and Adoption
Source: Law Library of Congress

In Part Two of our Family Law Beginner’s Guide, we are shifting our focus to what the law says about children’s roles in the family—focusing on their custody and care. Below, please find information and resources for legal researchers regarding child custody, child support, and domestic adoption.

Parents’ Income is a Poor Predictor of SAT Score

July 22, 2014 Comments off

Parents’ Income is a Poor Predictor of SAT Score
Source: Open Differential Psychology

Parents’ annual income lacks statistical significance as a predictor of state SAT scores when additional variables are well controlled. Spearman rank correlation coefficients reveal parents’ income to be a weaker predictor of average SAT scores for each income bracket within each state than parents’ education level as a predictor of average SAT scores for each education level within each state. Multiple linear regression of state SAT scores with covariates for sample size, state participation, year, and each possible combination of ordinal variables for parents’ income, parents’ education, and race shows income to lack statistical significance in 49% of the iterations with greater frequency of insignificance among iterations with higher explained variance. Cohen’s d comparisons of the yearly individual SAT advantage of having educated parents show a fairly consistently increasing positive relationship over time, whereas similar analysis of the yearly individual SAT advantage of having high-income parents shows variability somewhat coinciding with the business cycle.

2014 Multicultural Population Quick Facts

July 22, 2014 Comments off

2014 Multicultural Population Quick Facts
Source: AARP Research

This set of fact sheets provides a one-page snapshot of 50+ African American and Hispanic populations in select metropolitan markets.

Each fact sheet includes information on the population size, education, employment, income, grandparents living with grandchildren, food insecurity and buying power. Hispanic/Latino fact sheets also include data on citizenship status and English language use.

Data points are based on the most recent available from cited sources and represent the 50+ population unless otherwise indicated.

Facts for Features — National Grandparents Day 2014: Sept. 7

July 21, 2014 Comments off

Facts for Features — National Grandparents Day 2014: Sept. 7
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

In 1970, Marian McQuade initiated a campaign to establish a day to honor grandparents. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a federal proclamation, declaring the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. This day has been celebrated every year since in honor of our nation’s grandparents.

CRS — Unaccompanied Alien Children: Potential Factors Contributing to Recent Immigration

July 21, 2014 Comments off

Unaccompanied Alien Children: Potential Factors Contributing to Recent Immigration (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

Since FY2008, the growth in the number of unaccompanied alien children (UAC) from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras seeking to enter the United States has increased substantially. Total unaccompanied child apprehensions increased from about 8,000 in FY2008 to 52,000 in the first 8 ½ months of FY2014. Since 2012, children from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (Central America’s “northern triangle”) account for almost all of this increase. Apprehension trends for these three countries are similar and diverge sharply from those for Mexican children. Unaccompanied child migrants’ motives for migrating to the United States are often multifaceted and difficult to measure analytically.

Four recent out-migration-related factors distinguishing northern triangle Central American countries are high violent crime rates, poor economic conditions fueled by relatively low economic growth rates, high rates of poverty, and the presence of transnational gangs.

CRS — Unaccompanied Alien Children – Legal Issues: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

July 21, 2014 Comments off

Unaccompanied Alien Children – Legal Issues: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. State Department Foreign Press Center)

Recent reports about the increasing number of alien minors apprehended at the U.S. border without a parent or legal guardian have prompted numerous questions about so-called unaccompanied alien children (UACs). Some of these questions pertain to the numbers of children involved, their reasons for coming to the United States, and current and potential responses of the federal government and other entities to their arrival. Other questions concern the interpretation and interplay of various federal statutes and regulations, administrative and judicial decisions, and settlement agreements pertaining to alien minors. This report addresses the latter questions, providing general and relatively brief answers to 14 frequently asked questions regarding UACs.

Impact of San Francisco’s Toy Ordinance on Restaurants and Children’s Food Purchases, 2011–2012

July 21, 2014 Comments off

Impact of San Francisco’s Toy Ordinance on Restaurants and Children’s Food Purchases, 2011–2012
Source: Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC)

Introduction
In 2011, San Francisco passed the first citywide ordinance to improve the nutritional standards of children’s meals sold at restaurants by preventing the giving away of free toys or other incentives with meals unless nutritional criteria were met. This study examined the impact of the Healthy Food Incentives Ordinance at ordinance-affected restaurants on restaurant response (eg, toy-distribution practices, change in children’s menus), and the energy and nutrient content of all orders and children’s-meal–only orders purchased for children aged 0 through 12 years.

Methods
Restaurant responses were examined from January 2010 through March 2012. Parent–caregiver/child dyads (n = 762) who were restaurant customers were surveyed at 2 points before and 1 seasonally matched point after ordinance enactment at Chain A and B restaurants (n = 30) in 2011 and 2012.

Results
Both restaurant chains responded to the ordinance by selling toys separately from children’s meals, but neither changed their menus to meet ordinance-specified nutrition criteria. Among children for whom children’s meals were purchased, significant decreases in kilocalories, sodium, and fat per order were likely due to changes in children’s side dishes and beverages at Chain A.

Conclusion
Although the changes at Chain A did not appear to be directly in response to the ordinance, the transition to a more healthful beverage and default side dish was consistent with the intent of the ordinance. Study results underscore the importance of policy wording, support the concept that more healthful defaults may be a powerful approach for improving dietary intake, and suggest that public policies may contribute to positive restaurant changes.

DOD — The Education Directory for Children With Special Needs

July 18, 2014 Comments off

The Education Directory for Children With Special Needs
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The Education Directory for Children With Special Needs provides military families with children with special needs the information they need to make informed assignment decisions and easier transitions.

The directory consists of two components:

  • The Early Intervention Directory focusing on early intervention services for children birth through 3 years old
  • The School-Age Directory focusing on education services for children with special needs, 3 through 21 years old

Both provide tools and resources to help with the transition to a new location. The Early Intervention Directory summarizes national and state level early intervention trends and includes descriptions of local early intervention service providers. The School-Age Directory summarizes national and state level trends for special education and includes descriptions of individual school districts.

Note: Not just for military families. Lots of good info here.

What does the Research Tell us about Services for Children in Therapeutic/Treatment Foster Care with Behavioral Health Issues?

July 18, 2014 Comments off

What does the Research Tell us about Services for Children in Therapeutic/Treatment Foster Care with Behavioral Health Issues?
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Reports on a technical expert panel convened to assess the research about services for foster care children in therapeutic or treatment care. Reviews the scientific evidence and expert panel input to identify actions to be taken and further research needs.

Maternity protection makes headway amid vast global gaps

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Maternity protection makes headway amid vast global gaps
Source: International Labour Organization

KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

  • 66 out of 185 countries and territories have ratified at least one of the three ILO maternity protection Conventions.
  • 53 per cent (98 countries) meet the ILO standard of at least 14 weeks maternity leave.
  • 58 per cent (107 countries) now finance maternity leave cash benefits through social security. Between 1994 and 2013 financing of cash benefits through employer liability fell from 33 to 25 per cent.
  • A large majority of women workers, around 830 million, are not adequately covered in practice, mainly in developing countries.
  • 45 per cent (74 countries) provide cash benefits of at least two-thirds of earnings for at least 14 weeks – an overall increase of 3 per cent since the last ILO review in 2010.
  • A statutory right to paternity leave is found in 78 of the 167 countries. Leave is paid in 70 of these, underlining the trend of greater involvement of fathers around childbirth. In 1994, paternity leave existed in 40 of 141 countries with available data.
  • 75 per cent (121 countries out of 160) provide for daily nursing breaks after maternity leave.
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