Report Roundup for May 2003

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Causes of the Decline in Nonmarital Birth and Pregnancy Rates for Teens From 1991-1995
Adolescent & Family Health Journal

Compiling data from three major sources on teen pregnancy (the National Vital Statistics Records, National Survey of Family Growth and the Alan Guttmacher Institute), the study authors argue that abstinence was a prominent reason for the decline in teen pregnancy and birth rates between 1991 and 1995. The claim flies in the face of similar assessments by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and Guttmacher that attribute 50 percent to 80 percent of the drop to improved use of contraception. The authors use a complex formula that includes defining abstinent youth as those who had abstained for the year prior to being surveyed (rather than only those who had never had sex) and excluding married teens. They conclude that a 3 percent increase in abstinent teens is responsible for 67 percent of the drop in teen pregnancies, and also accounts for a drop in teen birth rates.

In response, Guttmacher said that 25 percent of the decline in pregnancy between 1988 and 1995 was due to “an increase in the proportion of U.S. women aged 15-19 who had never had intercourse.” The other 75 percent was caused by behavioral changes by sexually active youth, with the only significant behavioral factor being increased and improved use of contraception. 8 pages. Subscription required. Adolescent & Family Health Journal, P.O. Box 16560, Washington, DC 20041. (703) 471-8750,

Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice: Federal Agencies Could Play a Stronger Role in Helping States Reduce the Number of Children Placed Solely to Obtain Mental Health Services
U.S. General Accounting Office

Thousands of families have been forced to relinquish custody of children who have mental and emotional problems in order to get mental health services for them, according to this report by the General Accounting Office. Using data from 2001, the GAO found 12,700 documented cases where children were placed in child welfare or juvenile justice systems for that reason. Parents cited gaps in and limits on mental health coverage, a lack of coordination among services and limited child mental health resources as factors in their decisions. 66 pages. Free. GAO Report 03-397. U.S. General Accounting Office, 441 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20548. (202) 512-6000,

Child Maltreatment 2001
U.S. Administration for Children and Families

Findings from data collected by the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System for the U.S. Administration for Children and Families indicate that 903,000 children were abused or neglected in 2001. Of those children, 57 percent suffered neglect, 19 percent were physically abused, 10 percent were sexually abused, and 1,300 died. Women comprised 59 percent of perpetrators of abuse and neglect. Only 5 percent of sexual abusers were parents, although one-third were relatives. The average number of investigations per assessment worker was 50 per year. 150 pages. Free online. National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect, 330 C St. SW, Washington, DC 20447. (800) 394-3366,

Are All Dads Equal? Biology Versus Marriage as a Basis for Paternal Investment
Journal of Marriage and Family

This study found that married stepfathers are as good at parenting their stepchildren as their biological children. Married stepfathers on average spend 12 hours a week engaged with their stepchildren and show the same amount of “warmth” to both biological and stepchildren. The study also found that cohabitating but unmarried biological fathers don’t spend as much time with their children or show them as much warmth as do married biological fathers. The study concluded that while marriage makes a difference, cohabitating male partners still contribute a substantial amount of warmth and time (seven to nine hours a week) to children in the household. 20 pages. Free online. 2101 Turner Building, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. (301) 405-4621,

Reaching More Hungry Children: The Seamless Summer Food Waiver
Mathematica Policy Research

This study looks at the effectiveness of the Seamless Summer Food Waiver, a federal initiative to help reach a larger number of hungry children in low-income areas during the summer months. In its first year, 2002, the waiver did not have a significant effect on the number of children being fed: Only 10 percent of children at the waiver-eligible sites received meals they would not have had otherwise. Despite small improvement, researchers are confident that the high marks for the simplicity of the waiver process will lead to more youth workers hearing about it and taking advantage of it. 4 pages. Free online. Mathematica Policy Research, PO Box 2393, Princeton, NJ 08543. (609) 275-2350,

What Everyone Can Do to Prevent Child Abuse: 2003 Child Abuse Prevention Community Resource Packet
National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information

April marked the 20th anniversary of the first presidential proclamation of Child Abuse Prevention Month. This packet was developed in an effort to promote greater visibility for child abuse prevention. It includes an overview with definitions and statistics about child abuse, resources for organizations seeking to work with the media, and a directory of national organizations working to prevent child abuse. 62 pages. Free. National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, 330 C St. SW, Washington, DC 20447. (703) 385-7565,

Strengthening Families to Promote Youth Development
Annie E. Casey Foundation

This report synthesizes the Casey Foundation’s roundtable discussions among practitioners, researchers and policy-makers and attempts to further articulate a family-based perspective for promoting youth development. The report examines “youth-family-community linkages” and emphasizes the need to develop a holistic framework that allows practitioners to work with youth, family and communities at the same time. 16 pages. Free online. OMG Center for Collaborative Learning, 1528 Walnut St., Suite 805, Philadelphia, PA 19102. (215) 732-2200,

Religion Matters: Predicting Schooling Success Among Latino Youth
Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame

This report attempts to determine what role religion plays in the academic success of Latino youth. Researchers found that having religious parents enhances educational opportunities because it plays a key role in Latino family dynamics, such as helping to maintain two-parent families and increasing parent-child interactions and parents’ supervision of children. They also found that religion among Latino teenagers was linked to stronger connections to school and staying on track with school. 50 pages. Free online. Institute for Latino Studies, 230 McKenna Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. (574) 631-4440,

Religion in the Lives of American Adolescents: A Review of the Literature
National Study of Youth & Religion

Combining surveys and academic research, this study concludes that religion plays a significant role in the lives of adolescents. It cites, for instance, a Gallup Organization report that 76 percent of adolescents believe in God and 74 percent occasionally pray. The study also reports that a decline in the frequency of attending religious services occurs between eighth and 12th grades. In 1997, it says, 44 percent of eighth-graders reported attending religious services weekly, compared with 31 percent of 12th-graders. 52 pages. Free online. National Study of Youth & Religion, CB# 3057, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. (919) 918-5294,

Community Change for Youth Development: Ten Lessons From the CCYD Initiative
Public/Private Ventures

This report documents the lessons gleaned from the Community Change for Youth Development Initiative, a six-city grant-making effort that offered communities a framework for improving youth development practices. The report examines what has worked and what needs to be improved after six years of work. Areas for improvement include: the distinction between youth leadership and youth involvement efforts; structured and consistent evaluations of large-scale initiatives; and flexibility in accommodating community members in different roles. 38 pages. $10. Public/Private Ventures, 2000 Market St., Suite 600, Philadelphia, PA 19103. (215) 557-4400,

Impact of September 11 Events on Substance Use and Mental Health in the New York Area
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

The report shows little fluctuation in the amount of substance abuse among youth in the fourth quarter of 2001 when compared with data from the first three quarters of the year, before the terrorist attacks. The most significant shift: Use of marijuana by males over the age of 12 doubled. An increase in use of nonmedical psychotherapeutic drugs was noted, but binge drinking actually decreased among 12- to 17-year-olds. 121 pages. Free online. SAMHSA Office of Applied Studies, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 16-105, Rockville, MD 20857. (301) 443-6239,

Child Care Funding: The Story Since 1996, the Challenges in Reauthorization
The Center for Law and Social Policy

This PowerPoint presentation was given by staff at the Center for Law and Social Policy to the National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies. The presentation reviews child care funding since 1996 and puts the upcoming reauthorization of that funding in perspective. Since 1996, CLASP reports, state spending grew by 75 percent, from about $3 billion to more than $10 billion. Most of the additional funding came from federal funds for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, which states used to increase the number of families served, lower co-payments and fund quality initiatives. In 2000, only one out of seven federally eligible children received child care subsidies. 24 pages. Free online. The Center for Law and Social Policy, 1015 15th St. NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005. (202) 906-8004,

American Teens
Child Trends

As part of Child Trends’ ongoing effort to identify approaches to youth development that have been proven effective, this report looks at six areas: teen pregnancy, health, social skills, education, mental health and civic engagement. Footnoted charts complement the assessments. 53 pages. $20. Child Trends, 4301 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20008. (202) 362-5580,

The Texas Faith-Based Initiative at Five Years
Texas Freedom Network

This study paints a not-so-pretty picture of the faith-based initiative used as a model for President Bush’s national faith-based effort. Five years after the Texas initiative began, says the Texas Freedom Network, the loosened regulations on faith-based providers have provided “refuge for facilities with a history of regulatory violations.” Case studies of religious organizations in Texas are included to support TFN’s argument that the initiative has done little except to allow some youth-serving facilities to thrive without complying with state regulations. 38 pages. Free. Texas Freedom Network. P.O. Box 1624, Austin, TX 78767. (512) 322-0545,

Health Insurance for Children: Analysis
David and Lucile Packard Foundation

After recognizing the overwhelming impact of increased enrollment of youth in State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP) and Medicaid, the study authors note that 8.5 million American children remain uninsured. While 76 percent of these youth are eligible for either SCHIP or Medicaid, the authors fear that the economic downturn will reverse the expansion of these programs seen in the past decade. 25 pages. Free online. David and Lucile Packard Foundation, 300 Second St., Suite 200, Los Altos, CA 94022. (650) 917-7110,

Prevalence and Development of Child Delinquency
U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

According to this bulletin, younger adolescents are accounting for a larger share of juvenile crime. Data show that 7- to 12-year-olds account for 10 percent of all juvenile arrests, 33 percent of arrests for arson and 20 percent of arrests for sex offenses. From 1988 to 1997, arrests for property crimes in the age bracket dropped 17 percent, while arrests for violent crimes jumped 45 percent. 8 pages. Free online. National Crime Justice Reference Service, P.O. Box 6000, Rockville, MD 20849. (800) 851-3420,

A Place To Grow: Evaluation of the New York City Beacons
Academy for Educational Development

This report presents findings from a study of six Beacon sites – the community centers located in public school buildings that offer a variety of activities before and after school and on weekends. The report looked at whether Beacons have provided opportunities for youth development, school linkages and neighborhood safety and community-building, and at who participates. The study found that Beacon centers offer young people a place to grow through challenging activities and caring relationships, but the quality of the environment and activities at each site affected the outcomes.130 pages. Free online. Academy for Educational Development, 1825 Connecticut Ave. NW Washington, DC 20009. (202) 884-8000,