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The Youngest Americans: A Statistical Portrait of Infants and Toddlers in the United States

November 14, 2013 Comments off

The Youngest Americans: A Statistical Portrait of Infants and Toddlers in the United States (PDF)
Source: Child Trends

This report, commissioned by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, focuses on infants and toddlers, their parents, communities, and the resources that exist to support them. This generation is more diverse than any in recent history, yet it is characterized by multiple inequities.

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The Research Base for a Birth through Age Eight State Policy Framework

October 30, 2013 Comments off

The Research Base for a Birth through Age Eight State Policy Framework (PDF)
Source: Child Trends

This new report released by the Alliance for Early Success and Child Trends offers state policymakers and early childhood advocates a set of policy choices, supported by research findings, to improve the health, well-being, and education of America’s youngest and most vulnerable children.

Changing the Course for Infants and Toddlers: A Survey of State Child Welfare Policies and Initiatives

September 26, 2013 Comments off

Changing the Course for Infants and Toddlers: A Survey of State Child Welfare Policies and Initiatives (PDF)
Source: Child Trends

The harsh reality of maltreatment in the form of abuse or neglect looms in the lives of thousands of infants and toddlers: almost 200,000 children under the age of three come into contact with the child welfare system every year.

For young children, this threat arises at a crucial time in life, when early experiences are shaping the brain’s architecture into a foundation for learning, health, and future success. Maltreatment chemically alters the brain’s development and can lead to permanent damage of the brain’s architecture.

The developmental risks associated with maltreatment (such as cognitive delays, attachment disorders, difficulty showing empathy, poor self-esteem, and social challenges) are exacerbated by removal from home and placement in multiple foster homes.

Although the first years of life are a time of great vulnerability, they also present an opportunity to intervene early to prevent or minimize negative effects. Through high- quality, timely interventions focused on the unique needs of infants and toddlers, the developmental damage to very young children who have been maltreated can be significantly reduced.

It is critically important that child welfare policymakers and administrators understand the impact of maltreatment on infants and toddlers, so that they can systematically implement interventions and services that best meet the needs of these very young children.

The Survey of State Child Welfare Agency Initiatives for Maltreated Infants and Toddlers , conducted from September 2012 to March 2013, asked state child welfare agency representatives to respond to questions regarding the policies and practices that guide their work in addressing the needs of infants and toddlers who have been maltreated. Questions were included pertaining both to infants and toddlers in foster care and to infants and toddlers who have been “maltreated”: for whom a report of abuse or neglect has been substantiated by the child welfare agency or for whom an alternative/ differential response has produced a determination that the child has experienced maltreatment.

The survey’s goal was to identify and share innovations in policy and practice, and highlight key challenges, gaps, and barriers that child welfare agencies across the country face in meeting the needs of very young children who have experienced maltreatment. Forty-six states participated in the survey.

Home Front Alert: The Risks Facing Young Children in Military Families

September 6, 2013 Comments off

Home Front Alert: The Risks Facing Young Children in Military Families
Source: Child Trends

When a parent goes to war, families are deeply affected. Young children may be especially vulnerable to adverse outcomes, because of their emotional dependence on adults and their developing brains’ susceptibility to high levels of stress. Nearly half-a-million children younger than six have an active-duty parent—and some have two.

Home Front Alert: The Risks Facing Young Children in Military Families

July 22, 2013 Comments off

Home Front Alert: The Risks Facing Young Children in Military Families
Source: Child Trends
From blog post:

Today, nearly half of our active-duty military members are parents, and their absence from home is always deeply felt by their families. When a service member returns from deployment, it may seem like the hardest part is over. However, a new Child Trends study shows that after the deep emotional toll deployment takes on a family, the reunion of a deployed parent can be accompanied with a brand new set of risks and challenges – especially for young children.

What Do We Know about the High School Class of 2013?

June 16, 2013 Comments off

What Do We Know about the High School Class of 2013?
Source: Child Trends

Imagine a senior class of 100. They’re the product of their genetic predispositions, their families, their communities, and all of the opportunities (or lack of opportunities) they’ve encountered since birth. They’ve made both good choices and not-so-good ones. They’re on the threshold of adulthood. But what do we really know about them and what does their future hold?

Child Trends, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center on children and youth issues, examined a range of available statistics to provide this portrait of the high school class of 2013…

Childbearing Outside of Marriage: Estimates and Trends in the United States

February 27, 2012 Comments off

Childbearing Outside of Marriage: Estimates and Trends in the United States (PDF)
Source: Child Trends

Overview. Having children outside of marriage—nonmarital childbearing—has been on the rise across several decades in the United States. In 2009, 41 percent of all births (about 1.7 million) occurred outside of marriage, compared with 28 percent of all births in 1990 and just 11 percent of all births in 1970. Preliminary data suggest that this percentage has remained stable in 2010. There are several reasons to be concerned about the high level of nonmarital childbearing. Couples who have children outside of marriage are younger, less healthy, and less educated than are married couples who have children. Children born outside of marriage tend to grow up with limited financial resources; to have less stability in their lives because their parents are more likely to split up and form new unions; and to have cognitive and behavioral problems, such as aggression and depression. Indeed, concerns about the consequences of nonmarital childbearing helped motivate the major reform of welfare that occurred in 1996, and continue to motivate the development of federally funded pregnancy prevention programs among teenagers and marriage promotion programs among adults.

This Research Brief draws from multiple published reports using data through 2009, as well as from Child Trends’ original analyses of data from a nationally representative survey of children born in 2001, to provide up-to-date information about nonmarital childbearing; to describe the women who have children outside of marriage; and to examine how these patterns have changed over time. As nonmarital childbearing has become more commonplace, the makeup of women having children outside of marriage has changed, often in ways that challenge public perceptions. For example, an increasing percentage of women who have a birth outside of marriage live with the father of the baby in a cohabiting union and are over the age of twenty. Moreover, the percentage of women having a birth outside of marriage has increased faster among white and Hispanic women than among black women.

Multiple Responses, Promising Results: Evidence-Based, Nonpunitive Alternatives To Zero Tolerance

June 8, 2011 Comments off

Multiple Responses, Promising Results: Evidence-Based, Nonpunitive Alternatives To Zero Tolerance (PDF)
Source: Child Trends

In response to highly publicized violent incidents in schools, such as the Columbine High School massacre, school disciplinary policies have become increasingly severe. These policies have been implemented at the school, district, and state levels with the goal of ensuring the safety of students and staff. Many of these policies have one component in common: zero tolerance. While it is clear that protecting the safety of students and staff is one of school leaders‘ most important responsibilities, it is not clear that zero tolerance policies are succeeding in improving school safety. In fact, some evidence based on nonexperimental studies suggests that these policies actually may have an adverse effect on student academic and behavioral outcomes.

Child Trends developed this brief to explore these issues. The brief does this in two ways: it reviews existing research on the implementation and effects of zero tolerance in the school setting; and it highlights rigorously evaluated, nonpunitive alternatives to zero tolerance that have shown greater promise in improving school safety and student outcomes. Nonpunitive programs that take a largely preventive approach to school discipline have been found to keep students and schools safe by reducing the need for harsh discipline. These programs take many forms, such as targeted behavioral supports for students who are at-risk for violent behavior, character education programs, or positive behavioral interventions and supports that are instituted schoolwide.

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