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Preventing Violence: A Review of Research, Evaluation, Gaps, and Opportunities

March 27, 2015 Comments off

Preventing Violence: A Review of Research, Evaluation, Gaps, and Opportunities
Source: Child Trends

Rates of all types of violence have dropped in the U.S., but are high compared with other developed countries—and the numbers of children and youth affected are high. In this report, we review risk and protective factors for violence, and suggest opportunities for reducing it.

See also: Preventing Violence: Understanding and Addressing Determinants of Youth Violence in the United States

Transitioning to Adulthood: How Do Young Adults Fare and What Characteristics are Associated With a Lower-Risk Transition

March 23, 2015 Comments off

Transitioning to Adulthood: How Do Young Adults Fare and What Characteristics are Associated With a Lower-Risk Transition (PDF)
Source: Child Trends

Youth must navigate various developmental tasks as they transition to adulthood (Arnett, 2014). During this period of “emerging adulthood,” young people explore roles and relationships before committing to the ones they will fill as adults.

This brief seeks to identify patterns and transitions during emerging adulthood to obtain a better understanding of the likelihood that young adults will experience a lower-risk transition to adulthood. We analyzed panel data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health, N=12,166), using person-centered analyses, to examine the odds of youth engaging in lower-risk patterns/trajectories, specifically, minimal problems with heavy alcohol use, illicit drug use, criminal behavior, and financial hardship. Lower risk transitions were defined as avoiding or overcoming problems by adulthood. We found considerable variation among young adults in reaching these milestones.

Finding families for children in foster care

January 26, 2015 Comments off

Finding families for children in foster care
Source: Child Trends

One factor that may facilitate a successful reunification of children in foster care with their parents—or failing that, provide an alternate route to permanency through adoption or guardianship—is children’s connections with extended family. However, because foster care frequently disrupts social connections, practitioners may need to take extra steps to help children maintain or re-establish these connections. The Family Finding model provides child welfare practitioners with intensive search and engagement techniques to identify family members and other adults close to a child in foster care, and to involve these adults in developing and carrying out a plan for the emotional and legal permanency of the child. This report reviews the results from 13 evaluations of Family Finding that have been released over the past two years.

What if You Earned a Diploma and Delayed Parenthood? Intergenerational Simulations of Delayed Childbearing and Increased Education

August 20, 2014 Comments off

What if You Earned a Diploma and Delayed Parenthood? Intergenerational Simulations of Delayed Childbearing and Increased Education
Source: Child Trends

This brief reports the results of using the Social Genome Model to provide a better understanding of how delaying childbearing and improving the educational attainment of teen mothers in one generation can be linked to the improved economic well-being of their children. This brief specifically reports results from “What if” simulations, in which teen mothers’ age at their first birth was increased by two or five years and in which the mothers earn a high school diploma. The implications of these changes on the life of the mothers’ children are estimated through childhood and up to age 29.

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.

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.

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