Report Roundup for April 2003

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Finding Resources to Support Rural Out-of-School Time Initiatives
The Finance Project

This strategy brief is built on the assumption that there is a need for more out-of-school-time activities for rural youth, and seeks to provide rural youth workers with information about the federal funding streams available to them. The report breaks down various grant-making efforts targeting rural areas within each federal agency, and includes a list of entitlements available to tribal communities. 20 pages. $10. Finance Project, 1401 New York Ave. NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20005. (202) 587-1000,

Further Evidence That Legalized Abortion Lowered Crime
National Bureau of Economic Research

In 2000, researchers John Donohue and Steven Levitt released a study of young people before and after Roe v. Wade that demonstrated a relationship between legalized abortion and reduced crime rates – a study subsequently contested by researcher Theodore Joyce in a paper this year. Donohue and Levitt’s defense of their hypothesis reflects the controversial economic leaning of their theory: Because poor populations experience a large number of unwanted pregnancies and high crime rates, more abortions among those populations would mean that fewer kids are raised in such high-risk conditions.

Joyce’s central point is that no drop in crime is evident for the first six years of data collected (1985-1990). Donohue and Levitt counter that Joyce does not account for the crack epidemic at the time, which disproportionately affected young minorities, whose abortion rates are disproportionately high. The two researchers adjust their point, however, saying that easier access to abortion (not just its legalization) is the factor that precipitates lower crime rates. 32 pages. $5. National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138. (617) 868-3900,

Who’s Looking Out for the Children? State Fact Sheets
Child Welfare League of America

This report begins with an overview of national data on child welfare issues before laying out each state’s statistics in three basic categories: child abuse and neglect; child poverty and income support; and child care, health and family support. The statistics are drawn from reports by the U.S. Children’s Bureau, the U.S. Administration on Children, Youth and Families and the U.S. Census Bureau. Free online. Child Welfare League of America, 440 First Street NW, Third Floor, Washington, DC 20001. (202) 638-4004,

Exposure to Rap Music Videos and African-American Female Adolescents’ Health
Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University

Research from a 12-month study of 522 sexually active 14- to 18-year-old black females showed that those spending a lot of time watching rap music videos were far more likely to have exhibited violent or anti-social behavior. Girls with a “high exposure to the videos were three times as likely to report hitting a teacher (7.1 percent to 2.4 percent) and more than twice as likely to have been arrested (17.3 percent to 7.2 percent). Females in the high-exposure category also were more likely to have developed sexually transmitted diseases, used drugs and alcohol and engaged in sexual activity with multiple partners. The report was published by the American Journal of Public Health. 7 pages. Subscription required. American Journal of Public Health, 800 I St. NW, Washington, DC 20001. (202) 777-2742,

What Works in Youth Media: Case Studies From Around the World
International Youth Foundation

The report profiles the successes and remaining challenges for media programs that are concerned with enabling young people to have their voices heard on important social issues. The report profiles seven different youth media programs operating throughout the world. These programs include the Little Masters national magazine, written and produced by young people under the age of 15, and Trendsetters, a magazine in Zambia that is produced by 11 youths and plays an important role in the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS. The programs described in the report use different methods of communication, including print, radio, television and the Internet, and were created by different methods, including being launched directly by youth or emerging from a partnership between youth and adults. 80 pages. $12. International Youth Foundation, 32 South St., Suite 500, Baltimore, MD 21202. (410) 951-1500,

Alone Without a Home: A State by State Review of Laws Affecting Unaccompanied Youth
National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and National Network for Youth

This report provides analyses of laws and issues that affect unaccompanied youth in the United States. The guide broaches a number of issues, including emancipation, status offenses, the right to contract, runaways, and service and shelter responsibilities. It also provides details of laws on a state-by-state basis. 109 pages. $29. National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, 1411 K St. NW, Suite 1400, Washington DC 20005. (202) 638-2535,

Interim Evaluation Report: Congressionally Mandated Evaluation of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

This report looks at the successes of and challenges for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which was created by Congress in 1997 and helped to insure 5.3 million children in 2002. The report draws on findings from California, Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, New York and Texas. Most of the states demonstrated quick implementation, high enrollment and satisfaction with services and good access to care. The report addresses problems such as gaps in outreach, awareness and access, “disenrollment” (youth previously insured but not now covered), and the difficulty of determining a reasonable retention rate. Final results will be available in a report to Congress in 2004. 190 pages. $22.50. Urban Institute, 2100 M St. NW, Washington, DC 20037. (202) 833-7200,

Source of Firearms Used by Students in School-Associated Violent Deaths – United States, 1992-1999
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Relying on media reports and interviews with police, this report determines that of the 128 firearms used in school shootings from 1992 to 1999, 61 percent came from the shooter’s home or from a friend or relative of the shooter. When the firearm was used in a suicide, 76.5 percent of the guns came from the victim’s home. 6 pages. Free online. U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 1600 Clifton Rd., Atlanta, GA 30333. (800) 311-3435,

The Reproductive Health of African American Adolescents: What We Know and What We Don’t Know
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

The 1990s saw numerous changes in African-American adolescents’ reproductive health, including a decline in pregnancy and birth rates and a reduction in cases of certain sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis and gonorrhea. The report examines research to seek explanations for the changes, determine gaps in knowledge and suggest areas for further inquiry. Areas for more research include factors that influence the age of the first voluntary intercourse, a more thorough understanding of how other relationships affect sexual behavior, and an understanding of how violence in other areas of an adolescent’s life affects his or her sexual choices. 76 pages. $3. Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 1090 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20005. (202) 789-3500,

The MacArthur Juvenile Adjudicative Competence Study
MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice

A substantial proportion of juveniles age 15 and under who are being tried as adults may be incompetent to stand trial, according to this study. Many of them don’t possess the intellectual and emotional maturity to understand the judicial process and contribute effectively to their own defense. The study found that juveniles 13 and under were more than three times as likely as young adults to be considered “seriously impaired” on the evaluation of competence-relevant abilities. But it also found that, overall, the majority of youth do appear to be competent. The study recommends a re-evaluation of state policies on trying juveniles as adults. 49 pages. Free online. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice, Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122. (215) 204-0149,

No Time for Complacency: Teen Births in California
Public Health Institute, Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Development

Despite a 40 percent reduction in the teen birth rate in California over the past decade, this report warns that it is still a significant problem and is likely to get worse. The institute says several looming factors are likely to drive up teen births and birth rates, including demographic changes and increased poverty rates. The report makes recommendations for keeping the birth rates down. 34 pages. Free online. Public Health Institute, Center for Research on Adolescent Health and Development, 2001 Addison St., 2nd floor, Berkeley, CA 94704. (925) 284-8118,