Helping Kids and Families Cope With Violence: Safe Start Promising Approaches

Helping Kids and Families Cope With Violence: Safe Start Promising Approaches. RAND Corporation. Dana Schultz et al. March 30, 2017.

Although rates of children’s exposure to violence have been declining in the United States, the problem remains extensive. The most recent study found that more than half of children in a national sample had been exposed to violence in the past year. Children who have been abused or witnessed violence are more likely than other children to develop mental health problems and engage in risky behaviors. Some of these problems can persist into adulthood. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 4 pages, 88.27 KB].

Fatherhood Initiatives: Connecting Fathers to Their Children

Fatherhood Initiatives: Connecting Fathers to Their Children. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Carmen Solomon-Fears, Jessica Tollestrup. December 28, 2016

In 2016, while the majority of children in the United States lived in families with two parents (69%), an estimated 27% of children were maintained in one-parent homes. Of children in one-parent homes, an estimated 85% were in homes maintained by the mother only. Research indicates that children raised in single-parent families are more likely than children raised in two-parent families (with both biological parents) to do poorly in school, have emotional and behavioral problems, become teenage parents, and have poverty-level incomes. In hopes of improving the long-term outlook for children in single-parent families, federal, state, and local governments, along with public and private organizations, are supporting programs and activities that promote the financial and personal responsibility of noncustodial fathers to their children and increase the participation of fathers in the lives of their children. These programs have come to be known as “responsible fatherhood” programs.

[PDF format, 34 pages, 815.28 KB].

Youth Transitioning from Foster Care: Background and Federal Programs

Youth Transitioning from Foster Care: Background and Federal Programs. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Adrienne L. Fernandes-Alcantara. November 8, 2016

While most young people have access to emotional and financial support systems throughout their early adult years, older youth in foster care and those who are emancipated from care often face obstacles to developing independent living skills and building supports that ease the transition to adulthood. Older foster youth who return to their parents or guardians may continue to experience poor family dynamics or lack supports, and studies have shown that recently emancipated foster youth fare poorly relative to their counterparts in the general population on several outcome measures.
The federal government recognizes that older youth in foster care and those aging out are vulnerable to negative outcomes and may ultimately return to the care of the state as adults, either through the public welfare, criminal justice, or other systems. Under the federal foster care program, states may seek reimbursement for youth to remain in care up to the age of 21. In addition, the federal foster care program has certain protections for older youth. For example, states must annually obtain the credit report of each child in care who is age 14 and older. States must also assist youth with developing what is known as a transition plan. The law requires that a youth’s caseworker, and as appropriate, other representative(s) of the youth, assist and support him or her in developing the plan. The plan is to be directed by the youth, and is to include specific options on housing, health insurance, education, local opportunities for mentors, workforce supports, and employment services. Other protections require states to ensure that youth age 14 and older are consulted about the development and revisions to their case plan and permanency plan, and that the case plan includes a document listing certain rights for these youth.

[PDF format, 48 pages, 1.22 MB].

Quality and impact of Centre-based Early Childhood Education and Care

Quality and impact of Centre-based Early Childhood Education and Care. RAND Corporation. Barbara Janta, Janna van Belle, Katherine Stewart. November 4, 2016.

There is a strong association between the quality of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) provision and the outcomes for children, with high quality ECEC being associated with better child outcomes later in life. This brief reviewed the broad range of indicators that have been linked to quality, with a focus on understanding how these indicators relate to quality and eventual child outcomes. Following the academic literature on this subject the authors distinguished between structural quality, which relates to the physical environment and staffing requirement, and process quality, which relates to curricular practices, caregiver qualities, and parental involvement. They found that the interaction between structural and process indicators of ECEC quality is complex, and varies significantly across socio-economic, cultural and national contexts, which reflects the beliefs, needs, roles and motivations of the different stakeholders involved in defining ECEC services. Despite this complexity they identified several structural indicators which are frequently considered indicators of high process quality. For each of these indicators they present policy levers for improving ECEC quality, and discuss the context in which these levers work, i.e. whether they act at national level, family and community level or at the level of the childcare setting. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 35 pages, 1.38 MB].

Paternity and parental leave policies across the European Union

Paternity and parental leave policies across the European Union. RAND Corporation. Janna van Belle. October 20, 2016.

Despite the positive effect of paternity- and parental leave uptake by fathers on a number of economic, social and demographic outcomes, the current uptake of leave by fathers across Europe is low. Research has shown that there is a large number of interlocking factors that affect uptake of leave by fathers, including the height of compensation, the availability of affordable childcare, the flexibility of leave arrangements, gender norms and cultural expectations. The author describes the different policies available across Europe that address the uptake of paternity leave and parental leave, discusses the link between uptake of leave by fathers and the various outcomes associated with uptake, and gives an overview of the existing barriers to uptake. She finds that although low or absent compensation levels during the leave are a key factor why fathers will or cannot take their leave entitlement, an increase in uptake will most likely result from an interlocking set of family policies that help dual earner families to combine work and family life in a sustainable manner. These include policies that directly encourage fathers to take up leave, such as well-compensated individual leave entitlements, policies aimed at creating a sustainable solution to the challenges of combining work and family life, such as leave arrangements that are flexible and adaptive to individual needs, but also policies aimed at changing workplace culture. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 26 pages, 1.6 MB].

For First Time in Modern Era, Living With Parents Edges Out Other Living Arrangements for 18- to 34-Year-Olds

For First Time in Modern Era, Living With Parents Edges Out Other Living Arrangements for 18- to 34-Year-Olds. Pew Research Center. Richard Fry. May 24, 2016.

Broad demographic shifts in marital status, educational attainment and employment have transformed the way young adults in the U.S. are living, and the analysis of census data highlights the implications of these changes for the most basic element of their lives – where they call home. In 2014, for the first time in more than 130 years, adults ages 18 to 34 were slightly more likely to be living in their parents’ home than they were to be living with a spouse or partner in their own household. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 27 pages, 693.33 KB].

Family Inequality: Diverging Patterns in Marriage, Cohabitation, and Childbearing

Family Inequality: Diverging Patterns in Marriage, Cohabitation, and Childbearing. National Bureu of Economic Research. Shelly Lundberg et al. March 31, 2016.

The last 60 years have seen the emergence of a dramatic socioeconomic gradient in marriage, divorce, cohabitation, and childbearing. The divide is between college graduates and others: those without four-year degrees have family patterns and trajectories very similar to those of high school graduates. The report documents these trends and show that, compared with college graduates, less-educated women are more likely to enter into cohabiting partnerships early and bear children while cohabiting, are less likely to transition quickly into marriage, and have much higher divorce rates. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 29 pages, 492.78 KB].