Subject: Studies in the News 03-66 (October 8, 2003)


CALIFORNIA RESEARCH BUREAU
CALIFORNIA STATE LIBRARY
Studies in the News
Children and Family Supplement


Contents This Week

Introductory Material CRIMINAL JUSTICE & LAW ENFORCEMENT
   Challenges for parents with criminal records
DEMOGRAPHY
   Poverty increases and median income declines
EDUCATION
   Child care in poor communities
   Pre-K teachers with bachelor's degrees
   Head Start teacher education
   Comparisons of Head Start and other programs
HEALTH
   Preventing childhood injuries
   Children's mental health and the states
HUMAN SERVICES
   Children's living arrangements
STUDIES TO COME
   Incarcerated mothers and their children
   Early head size and cognitive decline
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in Californiaís Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Libraryís website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • Items in the State Library collection can be checked out to state officials and staff.

  • Access to all materials listed will be provided by the State Information Reference Center, either by e-mail to cslsirc@library.ca.gov or by calling 654-0261.

The following studies are currently on hand:

CRIMINAL JUSTICE & LAW ENFORCEMENT

CRIMINAL RECORDS

Every Door Closed: Fact Sheet Series. (Center for Law and Social Policy, Washington, DC, and Community Legal Services, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) September 2003. 16 p.

Full Text at: www.clasp.org/DMS/Documents/1064841311.02/EDC_fact_sheets.pdf

["Each year, approximately 400,000 mothers and fathers finish serving prison or jail sentences and return home eager to rebuild their families and their lives. As these parents struggle to make a fresh start, they encounter many legal barriers that will make it very difficult for them to successfully care for their children, find work, get safe housing, go to school, access public benefits, or even, for immigrants, stay in the same country as their children. These eight two-page fact sheets detail the scope of the challenges these families face and offer solutions for federal, state, and local policymakers." Moving Ideas News (October 1, 2003).]

[Request #S9236]

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DEMOGRAPHY

POVERTY

Poverty Increases and Median Income Declines For Second Consecutive Year: Ranks of the Poor Increase by 3 Million Since 2000 Contact. By the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (The Center, Washington, DC) September 26, 2003. 6 p.

Full Text at: www.cbpp.org/9-26-03pov.pdf

["Census data show that poverty increased and median household income fell in 2002 for the second consecutive year. The number of poor people increased by 1.7 million to 34.6 million.... There were three million more poor people in 2002 than in 2000.... In addition, those who were poor became poorer on average."]

[Request #S9237]

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EDUCATION

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Child Care in Poor Communities: Early Learning Effects of Type, Quality, and Stability. By Susanna Loeb, Stanford University, Bruce Fuller, University of California, Berkeley, Sharon Lynn Kagan, Columbia University, and others. (National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachussetts) NBER Working Paper No.w9954. (September 2003) 36 p.

["Young children in poor communities are spending more hours in non-parental care due to policy reforms and expansion of early childhood programs. Studies show positive effects of high-quality center-based care on children's cognitive growth. Yet we know little about the effects of center care typically available in poor communities or the effects of home-based care. Using a sample of children age 12 to 42 months when their mothers entered welfare-to-work programs, this paper finds positive cognitive effects for children in center care. Children also display stronger cognitive growth when caregivers are more sensitive and responsive, and stronger social development when providers have education beyond high school. Children in family child care homes show more behavioral problems but no cognitive differences." Childcare Resource & Research Unit (October 3, 2003).]

[Request #S9239]

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Bachelorís Degrees Are Best: Higher Qualifications for Pre-Kindergarten Teachers Lead to Better Learning Environments for Children. By Marcy Whitebook, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California at Berkeley. Prepared for the Trust for Early Education. (The Trust, Washington, DC) 2003. 24 p.

Full Text at: www.trustforearlyed.org/docs/WhitebookFinal.pdf

["Our objective is that all pre-kindergarteners, not just a fortunate few, have access and exposure to the best teachers who are going to prepare them academically and socially, thus requiring pre-K teachers to have bachelorís degrees in specialized training in early childhood development is a necessity. The research in this review firmly anchors that point. These are the teachers who are best equipped to lay the groundwork for an optimistic and rewarding experience in pre-kindergarten and beyond."]

[Request #S9240]

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HEAD START

Head Start: Increased Percentage of Teachers Nationwide Have Required Degrees, But Better Information on Classroom Teachers' Qualifications Needed. By the U.S. General Accounting Office. GAO-04-5. (The Office, Washington, DC) October 1, 2003. 40 p.

Full Text at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d045.pdf

["On the basis of Administration for Children and Families (ACF) data, Head Start appeared to meet the 1998 mandate requiring at least 50 percent of Head Start teachers nationwide to have, at a minimum, an associate degree by September 30, 2003, but it is not known if all classrooms in Head Start centers had at least one teacher with at least the minimum credentials required by statute.... Quality improvement funds, which have declined sharply in recent years, enabled Head Start to increase teacher salaries to levels comparable to other preschool teachers during the 1999-2001 period, although they remained at about half of what kindergarten teachers earned nationally."]

[Request #S9241]

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Head Start Key Among Array of Early Childhood Choices, but National Research on Effectiveness Not Completed. By Marnie S. Shaul, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Issues. Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. GAO-03-840T. (U.S. General Accounting Office, Washington, DC) July 22, 2003. 13 p.

Full Text at: www.gao.gov/new.items/d03840t.pdf

["This report explores what is known about the effectiveness of Head Start and how it compares with other early childhood education and care programs available to low-income children and their families." NIEER Online Newsletter (September 23, 2003).]

[Request #S9242]

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HEALTH

CHILDREN

Preventing Childhood Injuries. By Allison Cook and Leah Oliver, National Conference of State Legislatures. Legisbrief. Vol. 11, No. 37. (NCSL, Denver, Colorado) October 2003. 2 p.

["States have enacted laws covering many aspects of injury prevention. Every state addresses child protection in motor vehicles, but great variety exists in those regulations.... Several federal laws apply to childhood injury prevention."]

[Request #S9243]

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MENTAL HEALTH

"Geographic Disparities in Children's Mental Health Care." By Roland Sturm, RAND, and others. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 112, no. 4, (October 2003) pp. e308-e315.

["In this study, the first to examine geographic differences in children's mental health treatment, the authors surveyed parents of 40,112 children in 13 states. According to the report, Colorado, Minnesota and Massachusetts are the best at meeting children's needs for mental health treatment, while Florida, California and Texas offer the least help to children in need of mental health services. The geographic differences are likely related to disparities in public and private health plan coverage for mental health care, as well as cultural differences among states... areas with large foreign-born populations, like California, Texas and Florida, immigrants are 'not sure of the value of mental health services, and many are in low-paying jobs with no insurance.'" Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report (October 6, 2003).]

[Request #S9244]

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HUMAN SERVICES

WELFARE REFORM

The More Things Change? Children's Living Arrangements Since Welfare Reform. By Gregory Acs and Sandi Nelson, Urban Institute. (The Institute, Washington, DC) October 2003. 2 p.

Full Text at: www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/310859_snapshots3_no10.pdf

["Research shows that, on average, children fare better in families with two married parents than in single mother families. Therefore, the dramatic declines in the shares of young and lower-income children living in single mother families between 1997 and 2002 must be considered good news, especially since the declines are accompanied by increased shares living with married parents. It is also important to note the significant increases in the shares living with two unmarried parents, an historically rare living arrangement that has been growing in recent years, particularly among children of lower-income families."]

[Request #S9245]

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STUDIES TO COME
[The following studies, reports, and documents have been ordered or requested, but have not yet arrived. Requests may be placed, and copies will be provided when the material arrives.]

CRIMINAL JUSTICE & LAW ENFORCEMENT

WOMEN

"Incarcerated Mothers and Their Children: A Decade Long Overview." By Susan M. George, University of Chicago. IN: Women, Girls and Criminal Justice (August/September 2003) pp. 69-70,78.

["The results in this article come from an analysis of the Illinois Department of Corrections admissions and exit files covering a 12-year period between 1990 and 2001.... This analysis will make it possible to develop more comprehensive baseline information about the economic consequences of female offenders and their children."]

[Request #S9238]

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HEALTH

BRAIN

"Foetal and Postnatal Head Growth and Risk of Cognitive Decline in Old Age." By Catharine R. Gale and others. IN: Brain: A Journal of Neurology, vol. 126, no. 10 (October 2003) pp. 2273-2278.

["Studies of elderly people have shown that scores on tests of cognitive function tend to be higher in those with larger head circumferences. One explanation for these findings is that optimal brain development in utero and in the first years of life may protect against cognitive decline in old age."]

[Request #S9246]

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