Report Roundup for April 2004

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Key Findings From This Is My Reality: The Price of Sex
National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

This is the campaign’s short version of a long study by Motivational Educational Entertainment on black urban youth, sexuality and the media. Findings from focus groups, totaling 2,000 black youth in 10 cities, indicate a chilly rift between young black males and females. Girls said they felt devalued by their male peers, which the boys were inclined to agree with, on the grounds that they did not trust girls to be faithful.

The bad omens did not end there. According to other findings, black youth view becoming a teen parent as more realistic than abstaining from sex or getting married. Also, the mistrust and miscommunication reported by both sexes extends to health care services and sex education classes. (Health clinics “tell your business; everybody in the neighborhood knows by the time you get home,” said one teen.) 8 pages. Free online. National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 1776 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20036. (202) 478-8588,

Inhalant Use among Youths: 2002 Update
U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

According to data from the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2.6 million children ages 12 to 17 said they had used an inhalant at some point in their lives; only 4.4 percent had done so in the past year. The most frequently used inhalants included glue, shoe polish, gasoline and spray paint. White youth were significantly more likely to use inhalants than either black or Asian youth.

Though the percentage of youth reporting inhalant use was relatively low, the users were far more likely to experiment with other drugs. According to the report, inhalant users were more than three times as likely to smoke marijuana as nonusers, nearly four times as likely to use psychotherapeutics nonmedically, and more than seven times as likely to use hallucinogens. 3 pages. Free online. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Room 12-105 Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857. (301) 443-1038,

Connected by 25: A Plan for Investing in Successful Futures for Foster Youth
Finance Project

Finance Project, based on a large sampling of input and research from the child welfare field, presents an agenda for ensuring that foster youth are not elbowed out of the community when they age out of care. The key, says the report, is to create opportunities for these youth to do well financially. The framework for investing in that goal includes creating community empowerment programs and tracking foster-care youth who participate in them; supporting technical assistance to states and communities; and improving outreach and communication with children in foster care. 80 pages. Free online. Finance Project, 1401 New York Ave. NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20005. (202) 587-1000,

The Foster Care Straightjacket: Innovation, Federal Financing, and Accountability in State Foster Care Reform

Fostering Results

As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services attempts to better monitor the progress of state child welfare systems, researchers believe many of these systems are restrained from success by the “foster care straightjacket” conundrum: having money to spend, but lacking the freedom to spend it wisely.

A large portion of federal funding is used to reimburse states for costs associated with foster care; money that cannot be applied to helping return children to their families when possible. But some states have been granted waivers to use it for that purpose, and the authors note the success of several such efforts: Illinois cut the number of foster care children from 51,000 to 19,000, and Delaware cut the time spent in foster care by children returned to recovering substance abusers by one-third. With this in mind, the report urges HHS to consider expanding the number of states receiving waivers each year, beyond the current maximum of 10. 14 pages. Free online. Fostering Results, Children & Family Research Center, 2 N. LaSalle, Suite 1700, Chicago, IL 60602. (312) 641-2505,

Afterschool Alliance Backgrounders
Afterschool Alliance

A 2003 study by Mathematica of 21st Century-funded after-school programs found no across-the-board significant academic gains resulting from after-school programs. The alliance, which questioned that conclusion as well as the study’s methodology, counters with this compilation of more specific evaluations of after-school programming.

The backgrounders provide details and findings from evaluations of such programs as LA’s BEST, the After-School Corp. in New York, and Houston’s After-School Achievement program. One backgrounder focuses on success along the lines of academic improvement, while the other encompasses behavioral and safety achievements. 35 pages. Free online. Afterschool Alliance, 1616 H St. NW, Suite 820, Washington, DC 20006. (202) 347-1002,

Axis of Ideology: Conservative Foundations and Public Policy
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy

This report is a comprehensive explanation of the grants that various conservative nonprofits have received from 12 of the largest conservative foundations. After explaining that these conservative organizations have played a significant role since the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 and particularly with the Republican sweep of all three branches of government under the Bush presidency, the report discusses where the money has gone. Educational groups received roughly 10 percent of grants, the second-largest allotment behind “general public policy” (46 percent). Purposes for the grants include eliminating liberal biases in universities, promoting school vouchers and sponsoring conferences for young conservatives. 48 pages. Free online. National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, 2001 S St. NW, Suite 620, Washington, DC 20009. (202) 387-9177,

Hidden in Plain Sight: A Look at the $335 Billion Federal Asset-Building Budget

Corporation for Enterprise Development

The federal encouragement of asset-building initiatives has allowed Americans to do such things as buy homes and send their children to college, among other financial activities. These initiatives include both direct spending as well as incentives (e.g., tax expenditures) that “reward specific types of behavior.” This study of the $334 billion federal asset-building budget explores the reason for the size of this budget (considering that the defense budget is $409 billion, just $75 billion more) and whom these budget initiatives really benefit, as, according to the study, the top 20 percent of wage earners control 86 percent of assets. 9 pages. Free online. Corporation For Enterprise Development, 777 North Capitol St. NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20002. (202) 408-9788,

Walking the Collaboration Talk

Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council

The report offers 10 lessons learned by author Jacquelyn McCroskey through her work with the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council. The wisdom seems simple enough in hindsight, but comes from decades of mistakes and learning. Among the recommendations: Build influence and let go of control; connect existing networks; remain flexible enough to seize opportunities; and follow the money. 35 pages. Free online. Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council, 500 W. Temple St., Room B-26, Los Angeles, CA 90012. (213) 893-0421,