Category: Children

Resource Category Topic Type
Data Snapshot: Working Families with Young Children and No Out-of-Pocket Child Care Struggle Financially
Working families with young children face substantial barriers in accessing and affording quality child care. Figure 1 shows that among working families with a child under age 3, those who do not pay for child care are more likely to live in poor or low-income families than those who do pay for child care (61 percent versus 45 percent).
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Family Publication
Exclusionary Discipline Highest in New Hampshire’s Urban Schools
Exclusionary school discipline—that is, suspension and expulsion—disproportionately affects already disadvantaged students on both the national and state levels. In New Hampshire, students attending larger urban schools, male students, students of color, students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, students with disabilities, and homeless students are more likely to experience exclusionary school discipline, although racial disparities appear to stem largely from the greater racial diversity at the urban schools that use this type of discipline at higher rates with all students. Previous research indicates that exclusionary discipline and the resulting loss of classroom time is associated with poorer academic outcomes. Therefore, regardless of the precipitates of exclusionary discipline, it is worth exploring the extent to which exclusionary discipline is experienced among New Hampshire students. Introduction Exclusionary school discipline refers to any school disciplinary practice that isolates students from their classroom environments. In-school suspension (ISS), out-of-school suspension (OSS), and expulsion are all forms of exclusionary discipline. Nationally, in the 2009–2010 school year, approximately 7.4 percent of all public school students in kindergarten through grade 12 were suspended at least once, which translates to well over three million students.1 Not all students have an equal likelihood of experiencing exclusionary discipline; it is administered to students of color,2 students with disabilities,3 homeless students,4 students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch (FRL),5 6 male students,7 and students attending urban schools8 at increasing and disproportionate rates.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, New Hampshire, Urban Publication
Federal Child Nutrition Programs are Important to Rural Households
This brief, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, examines how rural families use four of the major federal child nutrition programs. It finds that 29 percent of rural families with children participate but that there are barriers to these nutrition programs, such as the lack of public transportation and high operating costs for rural schools and child care programs.
Evaluation, Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Food Assistance, Poverty, Rural, Safety Net Publication
Federal EITC Kept 2 Percent of the Population Out of Poverty
This brief documents the proportion of Americans who would have been poor absent the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), all else being equal, across 2010–2014. We examine Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rates as well as hypothetical increases in the rates of SPM poverty in the absence of federal EITC benefits. It is important to note that we do not model behavioral changes that might result from the removal of EITC benefits, so the analyses presented here are a simplified representation of such a hypothetical scenario. The SPM is an obvious choice for this analysis because unlike the Official Poverty Measure (OPM), which only accounts for before-tax cash income, the SPM also considers in-kind benefits, tax credits, and out-of-pocket work and medical expenses when estimating resources. We present SPM rates for all individuals (Table 1) as well as for children only (Table 2), analyzing trends across regions, metropolitan status, and by state. Importantly, geographic differences in the cost of housing are accounted for in the SPM rates, and consequently the analyses presented here give a more accurate sense of the poverty reducing impact of EITC benefits.1 Data This brief consists of a pooled sample using the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) between the years of 2011–2015. The CPS ASEC is sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Census Bureau, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), providing annual income, migration, benefits, and insurance information for a nationally representative sample of Americans. The CPS uses a tax model calculator to simulate tax income instead of collecting tax information directly from respondents. Payroll taxes for individuals with earned income are simulated first, and then tax-filing units are estimated based on marital status and household relationship structure. Once the potential tax-filing units have been determined, state and federal taxes and credits are simulated for each unit (for more information, see https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/publications/oharataxmodel.pdf). Because tax credits are simulated, it is possible that some families who receive the EITC may not be included and others who are not eligible for EITC benefits (for example, undocumented immigrants) may be assigned a value due to errors in the tax model.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Safety Net, Tax Publication
Fewer Than Half of WIC-Eligible Families Receive WIC Benefits
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) serves millions of low-income women, infants, and children who are at nutritional risk by providing checks or vouchers for nutritious foods, nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals.1 Foods eligible for WIC are high in certain nutrients and designed to meet the special nutritional needs of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, or postpartum women, as well as infants and children up to age 5.2 Research has shown that WIC is a successful and cost-effective program. Numerous studies find that WIC participation improves pre- and postnatal health outcomes; families’ overall nutrition; access to prenatal care, health care for children, and immunizations; and children’s cognitive development and academic achievement.3 In 2015, the average monthly WIC benefit was $43.58 per person. Easing the costs associated with buying nutritional foods frees up family resources for other necessities, like housing and medical costs. Families with pre-tax incomes up to 185 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for the program.4 WIC benefits are especially important for rural families, as the poverty rate is higher in rural than in urban areas (18 percent compared with 15 percent in 2014).5 It is important to consider uptake differences by place type as research indicates that rural women perceive more stigma surrounding participation in government assistance programs compared with women in urban areas.6
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Family, Food Assistance, Poverty, Safety Net Publication
Food Stamp and School Lunch Programs Alleviate Food Insecurity in Rural America
The Food Stamp and the National School Lunch Programs play a vital role in helping poor, rural Americans obtain a more nutritious diet and alleviate food insecurity and hunger. This fact sheet looks at the extent to which rural America depends on these programs and describes characteristics of beneficiaries of these federal nutrition assistance programs.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Food Assistance, Rural, Safety Net, Young Adults Publication
Forgotten Fifth: Child Poverty in Rural America, The
One in five poor children in this country lives in a rural area. Yet this group of vulnerable young Americans is seldom on the minds of the public or policy makers when they talk about child poverty in the United States. This report highlights child poverty statistics in rural America and compares them to urban areas, discussing how they are affected by family, education, employment, and the government.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural, Young Adults Publication
Gains in Reducing Child Poverty, but Racial-Ethnic Disparities Persist
In 2015, for the second year in a row, child poverty rates declined in the United States. However, familiar patterns in levels and characteristics of child poverty persist: more than one in five children are poor; children of color are at disproportionate risk for poverty; and rates are highest in the South and West and in rural areas and cities (Table 1). This brief uses data from the American Community Survey to investigate patterns of child poverty across race-ethnicities and across regions and place types. We also explore changes in child poverty rates since 2014 and since the end of the Great Recession in 2009. The estimates presented in this brief are based on the official poverty measure (see Box 1 on page 3). Native Americans, Alaskan and Hawaiian natives, and those reporting multiple racial-ethnic backgrounds are excluded from this update because such samples are too small for meaningful analyses.
Vulnerable Families Research Program African Americans, Children, Poverty Publication
Gaps in Youth Opportunity by State
Public discourse on economics in the United States, and around the world, often focuses on rising income and wealth inequality. The “Occupy” movement drew great attention to the rising fortunes of the top one percent while middle- and lower-income Americans lost ground. Vast scholarly, political, and media attention is focused on issues of growing inequality and implications for broader societal cultural shifts as well as economic growth. Less attention has been paid to the changing landscape of opportunities enabling youth to get ahead, to improve their living situation over that of their parents through hard work and determination. Such social mobility has remained fairly stable for generations, but recent evidence across a range of indicia suggests growing gaps in the opportunities available to children in lower socioeconomic status families versus those in families of higher socioeconomic strata. This pushes the American Dream—or the idea that anyone who works hard, and plays by the rules, can get ahead—further out of reach. Such inequality is a potential threat to our social structure as well as our economic well-being.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Employment, Income, Poverty, Young Adults Publication
Hard Times Made Harder: Struggling Caregivers and Child Neglect
Poverty is only one of many challenges tied to a report of child neglect. The analysis in this brief finds that neglected children whose caregivers struggle with substance abuse and mental health problems are at significant risk for out-of-home placement. Risk factors for out-of-home placement for neglected children are discussed, as well as a multifaceted approach to services to prevent neglect and out-of-home placement.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Health, Poverty Publication
Health Insurance Among Young Adults Rebounds Post Recession: More Become Dependents on a Parent's Plan After ACA Extends Coverage to Adult Children
While much of the existing research explores young adults' insurance only in the post-recession period (that is, 2010 to present), authors Michael Staley and Jessica Carson assess young adults' rates of coverage within and beyond the context of the recession by examining changes across the entire 2007 to 2012 period.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Employment, Health, Health Insurance, Young Adults Publication
Hispanic Children Least Likely to Have Health Insurance
This policy brief examines health insurance coverage of Hispanic children and its relationship to their citizenship status, their parents’1 citizenship status, parents’ insurance coverage, language spoken at home, and their state’s Medicaid expansion policies. Hispanic Children Are Least Likely to Have Health Insurance In 2014, 94 percent of U.S. children had health insurance.2 Although this is a record high for children’s coverage, 4.3 million children still remain without health insurance, and Hispanic children make up a disproportionate share of this group. Hispanic children have historically had the highest rates of uninsurance among children of any racial/ethnic group.3 In 2014, the most recent year for which data are available, 95.4 percent of non-Hispanic white children, 95.3 percent of black children, and 94.4 percent of multiracial children had health insurance coverage. In comparison, only 90.3 percent of Hispanic children were covered, leaving more than 1.7 million Hispanic children uninsured. Hispanic children in rural areas are less likely to have health insurance than Hispanic children in urban areas (9.4 percent versus 12.2 percent, respectively).4 Nearly 40 percent of all uninsured children are Hispanic, although Hispanic children make up only 24.3 percent of children in the United States (see Figure 1). By contrast, though nearly 52 percent of U.S. children are non-Hispanic white, they comprise only 40 percent of uninsured children. Black, non-Hispanic children account for 13.6 percent of children in the United States but just 10.8 percent of uninsured children.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Health Insurance, Hispanics Publication
Informal Kinship Care Most Common Out-of-Home Placement After an Investigation of Child Maltreatment
This fact sheet examines differences between urban and rural areas in foster care placement with informal kin caregivers. The data for this analysis come from a national sample of children who had a maltreatment report that resulted in an investigation: the second National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Family, Health Publication
Long-Term Foster Care—Different Needs, Different Outcomes
This brief examines where foster children are living four years after removal from their homes and the characteristics of these children and their placements. Understanding whether child characteristics such as age or emotional or behavioral problems are associated with a longer stay in out-of-home care can help identify children who are least likely to find permanence and may benefit from specialized services. The authors conclude that children in long-term foster care suffer from behavioral and emotional problems at alarming rates. Better identifying and assisting children with, or at risk of developing such problems upon entry to foster care and throughout their out-of-home placement, may alleviate their needs and troubles and provide mechanisms for supporting them as they get older. The authors also discuss programs having a positive impact on former foster care youths and the need for more state and federal investment in these programs. Their findings suggest that it may be worthwhile for states to reconsider their policies for the sake of long-term success.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, Family, Safety Net Publication
Many Eligible Children Don’t Participate in School Nutrition Programs
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which authorizes funding for federal nutrition programs (including the National School Lunch Program; the School Breakfast Program; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; the Summer Food Service Program; and the Child and Adult Care Food Program), is set to expire on September 30, 2015.1 The reauthorization process allows Congress the opportunity to evaluate, alter, and allocate funding for these programs, giving rise to opportunities for expanding participation and improving program quality. This brief uses data from the 2013 Current Population Survey’s Food Security Supplement to document levels of participation in two of the largest programs authorized by this act—the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program—by region and place type (rural, suburban, and city), to identify areas where expanding participation may be especially important.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Food Assistance, Safety Net Publication
Mathematics Achievement Gaps Between Suburban Students and Their Rural and Urban Peers Increase Over Time
In this brief, authors Suzanne Graham and Lauren Provost examine whether attending a school in a rural, urban, or suburban community is related to children’s mathematics achievement in kindergarten, and whether increases in mathematics achievement between kindergarten and eighth grade differ for children in rural, urban, and suburban schools.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Rural, Urban Publication
More Poor Kids in More Poor Places: Children Increasingly Live Where Poverty Persists
The authors of this brief examine child poverty rates using decennial census data from 1980, 1990, and 2000, as well as American Community Survey five-year estimates between 2005 and 2009, to identify those counties where child poverty has persisted. They find persistent child poverty in nearly twice as many U.S. counties as those that report high persistent poverty across all age groups. In all, 342 counties have experienced persistently high levels of poverty across all age groups during the past twenty-nine years. In contrast, more than 700 counties experienced persistent child poverty over the same period. Rural areas are disproportionately likely to have persistent high child poverty; 81 percent of counties with persistent child poverty are nonmetropolitan while only 65 percent of all U.S. counties are nonmetropolitan. Overall, 26 percent of rural children reside in counties whose poverty rates have been persistently high. This compares with 12 percent of urban children. Counties with persistent child poverty cluster in Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, other areas of the Southeast, parts of the Southwest, and in the Great Plains. The authors comment that the overwhelming urban focus of welfare programs means policymakers often overlook needy families in rural areas. In addition to the high unemployment and low education levels that they document in the brief, the physical and social isolation associated with rural poverty create problems different from those in densely settled urban areas. They conclude that the reductions in government spending likely to result from the Great Recession, coupled with two decades of the devolution of policymaking responsibility from the federal to the state level (and occasionally to municipal governments), may have significant implications for children and fragile families in these persistently poor rural counties.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural, Safety Net, Urban Publication
More Than 95 Percent of U.S. Children Had Health Insurance in 2015
Enrolling all children in health insurance is a primary goal of health care advocates. Children who have health insurance have better access to health care and, as a result, experience gains in a variety of well-being measures, including health and school attainment.1 Most children are covered by private insurance,2 but public insurance available through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has significantly contributed to gains in insurance rates among children.3 Providing access to health care for children living in poverty was central to Medicaid during the “The Great Society” project of the 1960s. CHIP was adopted in 1997, which aimed to enroll low-income children whose parents’ income was too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to afford private coverage. Despite some debate regarding the income level at which children ought to qualify for public coverage, legislation to insure children has received bipartisan support.4 Policy and advocacy efforts to insure children have been effective: a higher share of children were enrolled in health insurance in 2015—95.2 percent—than at any time since these data started being collected in 20085 (see Table 1). Rates of coverage increased 1.2 percentage points between 2014 and 2015. By region, the largest gains occurred in the South (1.2 percentage points) and the West (1.9 percentage points). These two regions traditionally have had the lowest rates of coverage and therefore the most opportunity for growth. Yet even after marked improvements in children’s coverage in both, they still lag behind the Northeast and Midwest. Rates of coverage also grew across all place types (cities, suburbs, and rural places) between 2014 and 2015 except in Midwestern cities, where the measured gain was not statistically significant. The most substantial gains occurred in Western and Southern suburban and rural places.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Health Insurance, Safety Net Publication
Most U.S. School Districts Have Low Access to School Counselors
In education today, diverse movements such as the “whole child” approach, “conveyor belt” services, and “Let’s Move!” share a common understanding that children bring a host of needs to school and often require more than academic support.1 Students living in poverty often benefit from more intensive support, as they are much more likely to come from difficult circumstances such as less stable homes2 and more violent environments.3 It is difficult to estimate the number of children with social or emotional impediments to learning, but by any measure it is substantial.4 Addressing the non-cognitive challenges these students face is important not only for them but for their peers, who can experience harmful spillover effects.5 Even students who perform well can face “last mile” hurdles that prevent them from successfully transitioning to suitable college or career options. School counselors,6 tasked with addressing the academic, career, personal, and social needs of students, play a crucial role in bridging these gaps. Perhaps the most popularized aspect of their work is conducting one-on-one and small group counseling with students in need, but in addition school counselors often work closely with school administrators, teachers, school support staff, parents, and outside community members to design, implement, and evaluate comprehensive wellness programs within schools. For instance, such curricula may aim to provide drug abuse awareness, foster non-cognitive academic skills, or develop appropriate social connections.8 Additionally, school counselors play an important role in meeting the needs of, and advocating for, students with a disability.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education Publication
New Hampshire Children in Need of Services: Impacts of 2011 Legislative Changes to CHINS
Using administrative data from state and local agencies and data from interviews with CHINS professionals, this brief provides an overview of participation in the Children in Need of Services (CHINS) program before and after the change in the law in September 2011 but before funding returned in 2013.
Evaluation, New Hampshire Children, Health, New Hampshire, Safety Net Publication