World Family Map 2015: Mapping Family Change and Child Well-Being Outcomes

9/2015

The World Family Map report monitors the global health of families by tracking 16 indicators in 49 countries, representing all regions of the world. This year’s report includes an essay examining how parents divide labor-force participation, housework, and child care.

Source: Child Trends

Available at: http://www.childtrends.org/?publications=world-family-map-2015-mapping-family-change-and-child-well-being-outcomes

First Look at the Census Bureau’s 2014 Income, Poverty, and Health Coverage Reports: Health Insurance Soars, But America’s Next Generation Still Live in Families Struggling to Make Ends Meet

9/16/2015

According to the Census Bureau’s new poverty and income data, 14.8 percent of Americans were poor in 2014, statistically unchanged from 2013. No one should be complacent about these figures, particularly as America’s next generation of workers and citizens, including children (under 18) and young adults (ages 18 to 24), has the highest poverty rates—sharply exceeding the national average.

More than one in five (21.1 percent) children and almost one in five (19.8 percent) young adults live in households with incomes below the federal poverty line ($19,073 for a family with a single parent and two children).  The youngest children (under age 5), who are most vulnerable to the effects of poverty, experience an even higher rate (23.8 percent), as do Black children and young adults (37.1 percent and 29 percent respectively), Hispanic children and young adults (31.9 percent and 22.4 percent respectively), and young adults of any race or ethnicity who are also parents (43 percent). Children of color’s circumstances are particularly important; by 2020, they are expected to make up over 50 percent of the nation’s population of children, with children under age 5 having already reached this milestone.

The data also offer a snapshot of the crucial role that strong public policy can play. For example, 2014 was the first year in which the Affordable Care Act was fully implemented, and the share of Americans lacking health insurance coverage fell dramatically from 13.3 percent in 2013 to 10.4 percent in 2014. Young adults and low-income workers particularly benefitted, with adults ages 18 to 34 comprising over 40 percent of newly insured Americans. The Census also released an alternative measure, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which shows the effect of non-cash transfers and taxes as well as work expenses and out-of-pocket medical costs. This analysis shows that refundable credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, reduced child poverty (as measured by the SPM) by 7.1 percentage points in 2014, while the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reduced child poverty by 2.8 percentage points.

Yet the 2014 data show that economic struggles are pervasive for this generation of children and young adults. Almost half (more than four in ten) of all children and young adults live in low-income households that are below 200 percent of the poverty line. These families too often struggle to put food on the table and pay for basics like rent, mortgage, and utilities. America has a great deal at stake in a strong policy response to help these families succeed, given the research evidence that growing up with inadequate income and  opportunity can stunt children’s and young adults’ education and careers—and  the future importance of these young people as today’s older Baby Boomers retire.

Most of these struggling families are working yet still can’t make ends meet.  Nearly 70 percent of poor children and over 80 percent of the larger group of low-income children live in families with at least one worker. More than half of low-income families with children have a full-time, full-year worker. Without strong policy guarantees including a higher minimum wage,  family and medical leave, paid sick days, along with scheduling policies that give workers some measure of predictability, too many families work long hours yet still can’t create stability for their children—like one of the homeless mothers Pope Francis will meet in Washington, D.C. next week who is working one part-time job  and has just added a second to try to support herself and her two-year-old daughter.

The Census data also shine a light on the stark disparities in poverty and income by race and region of the country.  While overall poverty (for all ages) is highest in the South (16.5 percent), lower in the Midwest (13 percent), and lowest in the Northeast (12.6 percent), this pattern varies greatly across racial and ethnic groups. The poverty rate for African-Americans peaks at 30.9 percent in the Midwest compared to 21.5 percent in the Northeast, while Americans of Hispanic origins fare similarly across all regions—22.8 percent are poor in the West, 23.7 percent in the South and 25.3 percent in Northeast. Unfortunately, areas with high concentrations of poverty make it far harder for both children and adults to move ahead—for example, because high-poverty schools are far less likely than other schools to provide the basic college preparatory courses.

These data show an urgent need to address poverty and near-poverty among the next generation of Americans—but also demonstrate, through the striking health insurance results, that the United States remains able to meet large policy challenges when we face them head-on. When Pope Francis arrives next week, he is widely expected to repeat his call to carry “the burdens of the weakest and poorest among us.” The new poverty data suggest both that he is right to advocate strongly for a policy res

Source: CLASP: Policy Solutions That Work for Low-Income People

Available at: http://www.clasp.org/news-room/news-releases/statement-on-census-bureaus-2014-income-poverty-and-health-coverage-reports

America’s Children 2015 – Introduction

9/2015

Twenty-one years ago, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) joined with six other Federal agencies to create the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. Formally chartered in April 1997 through Executive Order No. 13045, the Forum’s mission is to develop priorities for collecting enhanced data on children and youth, improve the communication of information on the status of children to the policy community and the general public, and produce more complete data on children at the Federal, state, and local levels. Today the Forum, with participants from 23 Federal agencies, continues to collaborate in the collection, production, and publication of policy-relevant Federal statistics about children and their families.

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2015 is a compendium of indicators depicting the condition of our Nation’s young people. The report, the 17th in an ongoing series, presents 41 key indicators on important aspects of children’s lives. These indicators are drawn from our most reliable Federal statistics, are easily understood by broad audiences, are objectively based on substantial research, are balanced so that no single area of children’s lives dominates the report, are measured often to show trends over time, and are representative of large segments of the population rather than one particular group.

The report continues to present key indicators in seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. As in prior years, the report incorporates data modifications that reflect the Forum’s efforts to improve its quality and breadth. In addition to updating data sources and expanding several indicators, this year’s report presents a special feature on health care quality among children in the United States. As is our practice, we periodically revise indicators, data sources, and features to maintain the relevance of the report.

Each volume of America’s Children also spotlights critical data gaps and challenges Federal statistical agencies to address them. Forum agencies meet that challenge by working to provide more comprehensive information on the condition and progress of our Nation’s children. This year, the immunization indicator has been aligned with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 standards, and the health insurance indicator was changed to the child’s health insurance coverage at the time of interview as measured in the National Health Interview Survey.

The value of the America’s Children series and the extraordinary cooperation that these reports represent reflect the Forum’s determination to help better understand the well-being of our children today and what may bring them a better future. The Forum agencies should be congratulated once again for developing such a comprehensive set of indicators and ensuring they are readily accessible in both content and format. The report is an excellent reflection of the dedication of the Forum agency staff members who assess data needs, strive to present relevant statistics in an easily understood format, and work together to produce this substantial and important publication. Nonetheless, suggestions of ways we can enhance this volume are always welcome.

No work of this magnitude and quality would be possible without the continued cooperation of the millions of Americans who provide the data that are summarized and analyzed by Federal statistical agencies. This report is, first and foremost, for you and all of the American public. We thank you for your support, and we hope the volume will continue to be useful to you.

Katherine K. Wallman
Chief Statistician
Office of Management and Budget

Source: Childstats.gov

Available at: http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/

What’s the Latest With the Flu? A Message for Caregivers and Teachers

9/24/2015

The 2015-2016 influenza season (flu) is here. As you know, influenza infection can be serious, resulting in hospitalization or death of some children every year. Influenza immunization is the best strategy to reduce infection and spread. Therefore, it’s critically important for everyone to get vaccinated for seasonal influenza now. This important approach puts the health and safety of everyone in the child care setting first.

Annual influenza vaccine is recommended for all people 6 months of age and older. The best way to protect young children from getting infected is for all family members and people who take care of the child to get immunized. This is called “cocooning”, and it is especially important for adults who care for infants younger than 6 months, because these children are too young to get vaccinated.

Pregnant caregivers are at higher risk of severe illness from influenza. Flu shots may be given to pregnant women at any time during pregnancy. The vaccine will protect expecting mothers and their unborn babies, and will help protect their newborn baby in the first few months of life.

This Season’s Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine includes either 3 strains (trivalent) or 4 strains (quadrivalent). These are the strains that are anticipated to circulate around the US this flu season.

The trivalent vaccine protects against 1 strain from last year and 2 new strains. These are:

  • Influenza A (H1N1)
  • Influenza A (H3N2)
  • Influenza B

The quadrivalent vaccine protects against the 3 strains from the trivalent vaccine and adds a different influenza B strain (the same as last season). The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend one vaccine over another this season. Just be sure everyone gets immunized!

Prepare Ahead to Prevent the Spread of Germs

Once flu starts circulating, it can be challenging to keep germs from spreading. While you can catch the flu any time of the year, the virus is most common in the US between October and May and usually peaks around January, February, and March.  It is also hard to know whether children or caregivers actually have the flu. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

Policies in your child care center can limit the spread of the influenza virus and should focus on hand washing; cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting surfaces and toys; and excluding children and caregivers who are sick. Any child with respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, or sore throat) and fever should be excluded from their child care program. The child can return after the fever has resolved (without the use of fever-reducing medicine), the child is able to participate in normal activities, and staff can care for the child without compromising their ability to care for the other children in the group.

Take Steps NOW to Help Your Program Prepare

  • Encourage all staff, children, and parents to get the flu vaccine now. Everyone needs a flu vaccine each year!
  • Get on the list to receive details about the AAP influenza webinar to be scheduled for November 2015. E-mail DisasterReady@aap.org for information and a calendar appointment.
  • Complete the free AAP/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention online course “Influenza Prevention & Control: Strategies for Early Education & Child Care Providers”.
  • Help families and community leaders understand the important roles they play in reducing the spread of flu. Review the new handout “Influenza Prevention and Control: Strategies for Early Education and Child Care Programs” and plan to distribute a customized letter to parents about influenza prevention and control practices in your program.
  • Examine and revise your program’s written plan for seasonal flu.
  • Invite a pediatrician or child care health consultant to provide influenza prevention education to your staff.
  • Use posters and handouts to educate caregivers and staff about proper hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette.
  • Update family contact information and child records, so parents can be reached quickly if they need to pick up their sick child.

Additional Resources:

  • AAP Preparing Child Care Programs for Pandemic and Seasonal Influenza
  • AAP Preventing the Flu: Resources for Parents and Child Care Providers
  • AAP Caring for Our Children National Health and Safety Performance Standards
  • AAP Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools: A Quick Reference Guide
  • CDC Fact Sheet No More Excuses: You Need a Flu Vaccine!
  • CDC Flu Information – Free Print Materials
  • Head Start Emergency Preparedness Manual: 2015 Edition
  • Public Health Emergencies Chapter on Page 27
  • Influenza Prevention and Control Appendix on Page 65
  • Families Fighting Flu Web Site
  • Prevent Childhood Influenza Web Site

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics, HealthyChildren.org

Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org:443/English/news/Pages/Whats-the-Latest-with-the-Flu-A-Message-for-Caregivers-and-Teachers.aspx

Second-hand Smoke – Self Learning Module (2 hours)

8/24/2015

Learn how to protect children from disease caused by smoke exposure.  Children exposed to second and third-hand smoke are sick more often. Electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine are hazards for children too. Teach children about the hazards of second-hand smoke and how to avoid these hazards. Use the information and support materials to help smokers quit.  Submit the self-assessment for review by completing the online assessment,  scanning the pages and attaching them to an e-mail, or sending them by fax or by surface mail to ECELS. Be sure to follow the instructions in the “Important Reminders” box next to the list of self-learning modules on this webpage. (ECERS-ITERS: Personal Care Routines. K7.1 C1, K7.1 C2, K.4 C3; 2 hours credit. Meets STAR Level 2 Performance Standard for Health and Safety.)

Source: Early Childhood Education Linkage System, Healthy Child Care Pennsylvania

Available at: http://ecels-healthychildcarepa.org/professional-development-training/self-learning-modules/item/203-second-hand-smoke-self-learning-module-2-hours

The Effects of Two Influential Early Childhood Interventions on Health and Healthy Behaviors

8/2015

By Gabriella Conti, James J Heckman, and Rodrigo Pinto

This paper examines the long-term impacts on health and healthy behaviors of two of the oldest and most widely cited U.S. early childhood interventions evaluated by the method of randomization with long-term follow-up: the Perry Preschool Project (PPP) and the Carolina Abecedarian Project (ABC). There are pronounced gender effects strongly favoring boys, although there are also effects for girls. Dynamic mediation analyses show a significant role played by improved childhood traits, above and beyond the effects of experimentally enhanced adult socioeconomic status. These results show the potential of early life interventions for promoting health.

Source: The National Bureau of Economic Research

Available at: http://www.nber.org/papers/w21454

Asthma: Head Start Health Services Newsletters

6/2015

Asthma is a leading chronic illness among children and youth in the United States. Nearly 7.1 million asthma sufferers are under the age of 18. Children living below the poverty level, especially children in the Northeast, African Americans, and Puerto Ricans, have higher rates of asthma. It can disrupt a child’s sleep, ability to concentrate, memory, and participation in program activities. It also is a leading cause of missed school days. Programs can partner with health care providers and families to reduce children’s exposure to triggers and recognize early warning signs. Working together can also help promptly treat asthma symptoms and prevent asthma episodes.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, National Center on Health

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health/docs/health-services-newsletter-201506.pdf

One of the Best Gifts for a Baby: Head Start Health Services Newsletters

5/2015

One of the most important things women can do for their babies is eat healthy foods during pregnancy. Eating and drinking whole-grain products, fruits and vegetables, low-fat milk and milk products, lean meats, and other nutritious items during pregnancy gives babies a strong start in life. This issue provides information Early Head Start staff can share with pregnant women. The issue also includes descriptions of assistance programs that provide nutrition risk assessment, counseling, and education as well as access to supplemental nutritious foods.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, National Center on Health

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health/docs/health-services-newsletter-201505.pdf

Culture of Safety

8/2015

In programs, all managers, staff, and families embrace the belief that children have the right to be safe by creating a culture of safety. They provide “an environment that encourages people to speak up about safety concerns, makes it safe to talk about mistakes and errors, and encourages learning from these events.” Children are safer when managers, staff, and families work together to improve the strategies they use in homes, centers, and the community so children don’t get hurt. Explore the resources below to learn more about creating a culture of safety.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, National Center on Health

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health/safety-injury-prevention/culture-of-safety.html

The Well-Visit Planner for Families

7/2015

The Well-Visit Planner for Families

The Well-Visit Planner is an Internet-based tool (www.wellvisitplanner.org) developed to improve well-child care for children 4 months to 6 years of age. Information in this tool is based on recommendations established by the American Academy of Pediatrics Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, 3rd Edition. The tool helps parents and caregivers to customize the well-child visit to their family’s needs by helping them identify and prioritize their health risks and concerns before the well-child appointment. This means that parents and health care professionals are better able to communicate and address the family’s needs during the well-child visit.

The Well-Visit Planner and Head Start

The Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI) has worked with the Office of Head Start National Center on Health to expand the Well-Visit Planner through age 6 years and has prepared materials to help Head Start and Early Head Start programs use this tool with the families they serve. Knowing that school readiness begins with health, Head Start and Early Head Start programs are committed to supporting the health and well-being of every child enrolled in a program. The Well-Visit Planner has been tested in several programs, and staff have found it helpful for encouraging parents to complete well-child visits and become familiar with what is expected at each visit. The tool also reinforces the role of parents as the experts for their child’s needs—including those related to health.

Using the Well-Visit Planner in Head Start and Early Head Start Programs

In partnership with the National Center on Health, CAHMI has prepared a number of tools and resources to help programs assess their readiness to begin using the Well-Visit Planner as a standard part of their work with parents and children. There is also an implementation toolkit that helps programs with step-by-step implementation of the Well-Visit Planner within the program, including materials to help promote the use of the tool among parents. Materials are also there to help reach out to local health care professionals to help prepare them for the use of the Well-Visit Planner by their patient families.These materials will be housed on the Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center but are currently available at http://www.cahmi.org/projects/wvp/, the implementation-portal.

How does the Well-Visit Planner help families?

Completing the tool, which takes about 15 to 20 minutes, will help empower parents and caregivers to identify priorities for a child’s upcoming well-child visit; it will also prepare them for what to expect at that visit. The content of the Well-Visit Planner is different based on the age of the child. It is developed to be used before each well-child visit through age 6 years. The Well-Visit Planner also includes educational materials about topics such as a child’s growth and development, language development, and safety. The educational materials address the topics of most importance for each age.

After parents use the Well-Visit Planner, they can save or print a summary or Visit Guide of the needs and priorities for the visit. They will take this summary with them to help prioritize their time with the child’s pediatrician or primary health care professional. Parents can print a copy to leave with the physician or send a copy prior to the visit if the child’s physician has a secure e-mail address. The summary can also be discussed with the parents and the family service worker and integrated into the family partnership agreement.

Additional Background

The tool was developed and is maintained by CAHMI to engage parents as partners to improve well-child care services as a part of a project supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Research Program (R40 MC08959). Continued development and implementation of the Well-Visit Planner is supported by CAHMI and volunteer advisors and through support from HRSA/Maternal and Child Health Bureau through Cooperative Agreement U59-MC06890.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, National Center on Health

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/health/physical-health/satf/well-visit-planner.html