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  • Individual Author: Duncan, Greg J.; Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2000

    Plunging caseloads and soaring employment among single mothers lead many to judge welfare reform a stunning success. Lost in the caseload counts and political rhetoric is the subject of our chapter: welfare reform and children. We sort through conflicting theory and evidence regarding the impacts of welfare reform on children’s well-being and development.

    A brief examination of recent trends in national indicators of potential problems shows that the sky has not fallen. Poverty rates are down, as are teen crime and fertility as well as substantiated cases of child maltreatment. However, the dearth of timely and consistent state level data on indicators of child well-being precludes a serious analysis of the role of welfare reform, the booming economy and other recent changes for all but a handful of these indicators.

    We turn instead to lessons that can be gleaned from a set of welfare-reform random assignment experiments conducted during the 1990s. Experiments provide strong evidence on the impacts of the welfare reform packages under evaluation relative to the old...

    Plunging caseloads and soaring employment among single mothers lead many to judge welfare reform a stunning success. Lost in the caseload counts and political rhetoric is the subject of our chapter: welfare reform and children. We sort through conflicting theory and evidence regarding the impacts of welfare reform on children’s well-being and development.

    A brief examination of recent trends in national indicators of potential problems shows that the sky has not fallen. Poverty rates are down, as are teen crime and fertility as well as substantiated cases of child maltreatment. However, the dearth of timely and consistent state level data on indicators of child well-being precludes a serious analysis of the role of welfare reform, the booming economy and other recent changes for all but a handful of these indicators.

    We turn instead to lessons that can be gleaned from a set of welfare-reform random assignment experiments conducted during the 1990s. Experiments provide strong evidence on the impacts of the welfare reform packages under evaluation relative to the old AFDC system. Regrettably, the reform packages evaluated in the experiments do not span the diverse set of reforms instituted by states in the late 1990s.

    Our conclusions regarding likely child impacts depend crucially on the ages of the children studied. In the case of elementary-school children, the picture is fairly positive. We find strong evidence that welfare reform  can be a potent force for enhancing achievement and positive behavior.  When welfare reform packages do not appear to help younger children, there is little evidence of harm, even in the one experiment with time limits. If anything, the beneficial impacts are strongest for children in families with longer histories of welfare receipt. On the other hand, in the case of adolescents, more limited evidence suggests that welfare reforms may cause detrimental increases in school problems and risky behavior. The jury is still out on impacts on infants and toddlers.

    Distinguishing among programs, we find that reforms with work mandates but few supports (e.g., wage and childcare subsidies) for working mothers appear to be significantly less beneficial for elementary-school-aged children than programs with work supports. Furthermore, and here the evidence is also less definitive, reforms with positive impacts on children appeared  to operate more through changes outside the family – e.g., in childcare and after-school programs – than through changes in parental mental health, family routines or other aspects of the home environment. Finally, poverty, maternal depression, domestic violence and children’s developmental problems are alarmingly common, even among families offered a generous package of work supports.

    Our list of policy recommendations includes ways of better supporting work, providing after-school and community programs for older children, addressing safety-net issues for families with barriers to stable, full-time employment, and encouraging fathers to become more involved with their children. More generally, we hope that the debate over the future of welfare reform will pay more attention to children’s well-being, to the diverse situations in which children in low-income families find themselves, and to the very different developmental needs of children of different ages. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2004

    Welcome to the inaugural issue of America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2004. Since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being , a report that includes detailed information on a set of key indicators of child well-being. To make better use of  its resources, the Forum has decided to update all data annually on its enhanced website, and to alternate publishing the more detailed report with a new condensed version—America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being—that highlights selected indicators. Thus, this July, the Forum is publishing the Brief; in July 2005 the Forum will publish the more detailed report, returning to the Brief in July 2006.

    The indicators and background measures presented in this Brief are those that have been reported previously by the Forum. In the mid-1990s, careful consideration was given to selecting a small set of key indicators that describe children’s well-being. The 25 key indicators were chosen...

    Welcome to the inaugural issue of America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2004. Since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being , a report that includes detailed information on a set of key indicators of child well-being. To make better use of  its resources, the Forum has decided to update all data annually on its enhanced website, and to alternate publishing the more detailed report with a new condensed version—America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being—that highlights selected indicators. Thus, this July, the Forum is publishing the Brief; in July 2005 the Forum will publish the more detailed report, returning to the Brief in July 2006.

    The indicators and background measures presented in this Brief are those that have been reported previously by the Forum. In the mid-1990s, careful consideration was given to selecting a small set of key indicators that describe children’s well-being. The 25 key indicators were chosen because they are easy to understand; are based on substantial research connecting them to child well-being; vary across important areas of children’s lives; are measured regularly so that they can be updated and show trends over time; and represent large segments of the population, rather than one particular group.  (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    Welcome to this edition of America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2006. Each year since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (Forum) has published America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, a report that includes detailed information on the well-being of children and families. The Forum updates all data annually on its website, and alternates publishing the more detailed report with a condensed version that highlights selected indicators. Thus, this July, the Forum is publishing the Brief and will return to publishing the more detailed report in July 2007.

    The indicators and background measures presented in this Brief have all been reported previously by the Forum. One indicator—Parental Reports of Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties—was first presented as a Special Feature in the 2005 report and has now become an annual indicator. The background measures and 26 key indicators were chosen because they are easy to understand; are based on...

    Welcome to this edition of America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2006. Each year since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (Forum) has published America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, a report that includes detailed information on the well-being of children and families. The Forum updates all data annually on its website, and alternates publishing the more detailed report with a condensed version that highlights selected indicators. Thus, this July, the Forum is publishing the Brief and will return to publishing the more detailed report in July 2007.

    The indicators and background measures presented in this Brief have all been reported previously by the Forum. One indicator—Parental Reports of Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties—was first presented as a Special Feature in the 2005 report and has now become an annual indicator. The background measures and 26 key indicators were chosen because they are easy to understand; are based on substantial research connecting them to child well-being; vary across important areas of children’s lives; are measured regularly so that they can be updated and show trends over time; and represent large segments of the population, rather than one particular group. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Each year since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published a report on the well-being of children and families. Pending data availability, the Forum updates all 41 indicators annually on its Web site and alternates publishing a detailed report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, with a summary version that highlights selected indicators. The America's Children series makes Federal data on children and families available in a nontechnical, easy-to-use format in order to stimulate discussion among data providers, policymakers, and the public.

    This year's America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being report continues more than a decade of dedication and collaboration by agencies across the Federal Government to advance our understanding of our Nation's children and what may be needed to bring them a better tomorrow. We hope you find this report useful. The Forum will be releasing its next full report in 2013. (author abstract)

    Each year since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published a report on the well-being of children and families. Pending data availability, the Forum updates all 41 indicators annually on its Web site and alternates publishing a detailed report, America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, with a summary version that highlights selected indicators. The America's Children series makes Federal data on children and families available in a nontechnical, easy-to-use format in order to stimulate discussion among data providers, policymakers, and the public.

    This year's America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being report continues more than a decade of dedication and collaboration by agencies across the Federal Government to advance our understanding of our Nation's children and what may be needed to bring them a better tomorrow. We hope you find this report useful. The Forum will be releasing its next full report in 2013. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    This year's America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being report continues more than a decade of dedication and collaboration by agencies across the Federal Government to advance our understanding of our Nation's children and what may be needed to bring them a better tomorrow. We hope you find this report useful. The Forum will be releasing its next full report in 2011.

    Each year since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published a report on the well-being of children and families. Pending data availability, the Forum updates all 40 indicators annually on its Web site and alternates publishing a detailed report, America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, with a summary version that highlights selected indicators. The America’s Children series makes Federal data on children and families available in a nontechnical, easy-to-use format in order to stimulate discussion among data providers, policymakers, and the public.

    These child well-being indicators span seven domains: Family and Social...

    This year's America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being report continues more than a decade of dedication and collaboration by agencies across the Federal Government to advance our understanding of our Nation's children and what may be needed to bring them a better tomorrow. We hope you find this report useful. The Forum will be releasing its next full report in 2011.

    Each year since 1997, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics has published a report on the well-being of children and families. Pending data availability, the Forum updates all 40 indicators annually on its Web site and alternates publishing a detailed report, America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, with a summary version that highlights selected indicators. The America’s Children series makes Federal data on children and families available in a nontechnical, easy-to-use format in order to stimulate discussion among data providers, policymakers, and the public.

    These child well-being indicators span seven domains: Family and Social Environment, Economic Circumstances, Health Care, Physical Environment and Safety, Behavior, Education, and Health. This year’s report reveals that health insurance coverage rates for children increased, the percentage of preterm births declined for the second straight year, average 8th-grade mathematics scores reached an all-time high, teen smoking was at its lowest since data collection began, and the adolescent birth rate declined after a 2-year increase. However, the percentage of children whose parents had secure employment was the lowest since 1996, and the percentage living in poverty was the highest since 1998. The percentage of children in food-insecure households was the highest since monitoring began. The Brief concludes with a summary table displaying recent changes in all 40 indicators. (author introduction)

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