Report Roundup of November 2005

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Child Welfare

Protecting Children in Foster Care: Why Proposed Medicaid Cuts Harm Our Nation’s Most Vulnerable Children
Casey Family Programs

At least $10 billion in Medicaid cuts being considered by Congress could threaten the well-being of the 800,000 youth who spend time in the nation’s foster care system each year, leading health care experts say in this report.

Seventy percent of children entering foster care are covered by Medicaid, according to Casey, and coverage is mandatory for all youth after they enter care. The authors call on Congress to reject a proposed roll-back of the Early and Periodic Screening Diagnostic and Treatment Program, termination of coverage for medical services furnished by or through child welfare agencies, and cost-sharing proposals that affect coverage for low-income children. They also propose strengthening provisions that continue Medicaid eligibility for foster youth who age out of care. Free. 36 pages. (206) 216-4183,

The Nonprofit Sector and the Federal Budget: Fiscal Year 2006 and Beyond
The Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Sector and PhilanthropyProgram

Nonprofit programs could lose between $40 billion and $71 billion in federal funding between now and 2010, the Aspen Institute warns in this examination of recent presidential and congressional spending proposals. The report concludes that private giving would have to double or triple to offset proposed reductions in federal spending on housing, employment, education and social service programs.

Budget experts found that “fiscal year 2006 federal budget proposals reflect a trend of shifting financial responsibility for a number of social programs away from the federal government and toward the charitable sector.” At the same time, the authors note, “government funding has far outdistanced private philanthropy as a source of nonprofit funding, accounting for nearly one-third of nonprofit income.” Charitable donations account for one-fifth of nonprofit income, according to the report. Free. 15 pages. (202) 736-5855,

2005 National Annenberg Risk Survey of Youth
Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania

The number of young people who gamble with cards at least once each week has risen 20 percent over the past year, according to this survey of 14- to 22-year-olds. Researchers estimate that nearly 3 million young people in the United States gamble with cards on a weekly basis. Those youth are also more likely to gamble online each week, researchers say.

Among the self-identified weekly online gamblers surveyed, more than half said they had at least one of the symptoms of a gambling addiction such as preoccupation, overspending, and withdrawal. About 10 percent of those who acknowledged gambling at least once a month said they had owed an averge of $74 in gambling debts at least once. The study found that monthly gambling of all types occurred among 37 percent of high school and 50 percent of college males in 2004. Free. Five pages. (215) 898-6776,

United Nations World Youth Report 2005
United Nations

Ten years after the U.N. General Assembly adopted the World Programme of Action for Youth, this report finds that more than 200 million of the world’s 1.2 billion youth (ages 15 to 24) live in poverty, 130 million are illiterate, 88 million are unemployed and 10 million are living with HIV/AIDS. Some gains have been made: Four out of five eligible youth worldwide now attend secondary school, and some 100 million young people throughout the world are enrolled in university-level education, making this generation of youth the best-educated in history, the United Nations says.

The authors caution that national youth policies are too often driven by negative stereotypes of young people, including delinquency, drug abuse and violence. They say global investments in youth must substantially increase to meet U.N. goals for 2015, which include cutting extreme poverty by half, ensuring universal primary education and stemming the AIDS pandemic. Free. 207 pages. (212) 963-4475,

Juvenile Justice
Crime in the United States, 2004
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

New statistics from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program show a 1.2 percent decline in violent crime and a 1.1 percent decrease in property crime from 2003 to 2004. The rate of violent crime decreased 2.2 percent, to 465 crimes per 100,000 people, and the rate of property crime decreased 2.1 percent to 3,517 per 100,000. The UCR in a compilation of reports submitted by more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies representing 94 percent of the nation’s population.
The 2004 UCR includes a special report on juvenile drug abuse violations. It says that from 1994 to 2003, arrests for such violations increased by nearly 30 percent. While juvenile arrests for marijuana, synthetic narcotics and non-narcotic drugs all increased, arrests for opium and cocaine fell 60 percent. White youth accounted for nearly three-quarters of drug abuse arrests in 2003, up from 61 percent in 1994. Male juveniles were arrested more often than females; however, female juveniles were arrested at younger ages. Free online. (202) 324-3000, Special report on juveniles:

No Turning Back: Promising Approaches to Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities Affecting Youth of Color in the Justice System
Building Blocks for Youth (BBY)

While minorities make up only one-third of American youth, they make up two-thirds of youth in juvenile detention facilities and are more likely than white youth to be incarcerated, even when charged with the same offenses, according to BBY.
The report highlights stories of recent positive changes regarding disproportionate minority confinement in several states, including the closing of juvenile facilities that primarily incarcerated youth of color; the reversal of an Illinois law that automatically prosecuted youth as adults (the majority of whom were African-American or Latino); and the removal of African-American and Latino young people from abusive conditions in youth facilities and adult jails. The report documents efforts to address the issue in local communnities. Free. 94 pages. (202) 558-7974, ext. 308,

Mental Health
Which Comes First in Adolescence—Sex and Drugs or Depression?
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation

Depression is not a predictor of risk behaviors by teens; rather, risk behaviors lead to depressed feelings in adolescents, this two-year study of 13,000 teens finds. For both boys and girls, researchers found that depression in the first year of the study almost never predicted the onset of sexual activity or the use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs in the second year.

Teens who abstained from those behaviors during the first year of the study, and boys who only “experimented’ with those behaviors, had very low rates of depression the next year: about 4 percent. Girls who experimented with illicit substances, however, were more than twice as likely to be depressed as were girls who abstained; those who were sexually active were three times as likely to be depressed. Among boys, binge drinkers were more than four times as likely as others to be depressed, while those who smoked marijuana daily were three to four times as likely to be depressed. Available from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, (301) 755-2445,

Emergency Treatment of Young People Following Deliberate Self-Harm
Columbia University Medical Center

A little more than half of youth who appear in emergency rooms after trying to harm themselves are diagnosed by hospital staff as having a mental disorder, according to this study in the October issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. Deliberate self-harm, such as poisoning and cutting, is an important risk factor for subsequent suicide, according to the study’s authors.

Using a nationally representative sample from the 1997-2002 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, researchers determined an annual rate of emergency visits for self-harm of 225 per 100,000 people ages 7 to 24. A mental disorder was diagnosed during 56 percent of those visits, including depressive disorders in 15 percent and substance use disorders in 7 percent. Nearly six in 10 emergency room visits for self-harm resulted in hospital admissions. Admitted patients were more likely than discharged patients to be diagnosed with a mental disorder. Free online. (212) 305-0820,

Sexual Behavior
Statutory Rape Known to Law Enforcement
U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)

Three out of every 10 statutory rape offenders are the boyfriends or girlfriends of the victims, while six in 10 are merely acquainted with the victims, according to this analysis of law enforcement data from 21 states from 1996 to 2000. In 2000, those agencies recorded one statutory rape (nonforcible sex with a minor) for every three forcible rapes of a juvenile. Nearly three in every five statutory rape victims were 14 or 15 years old.

OJJDP found that the median age difference between victims and offenders was six years for female victims and nine years for male victims. It also found that between 13 and 32 percent of statutory rapes of girls 15 and younger were by male juveniles. Those figures differ significantly from a recent Child Trends report that found 77 percent of older individuals who had sex with youth ages 15 or younger were teens themselves. (See “Research of Note,” page 25.) Child Trends said the variation can be attributed to the many cases of sex between younger teens and older teens that go unreported to law enforcement. Free. Four pages. (800) 851-3420,

Parental Involvement in Minors’ Abortions
Alan Guttmacher Institute

This policy brief provides quick access to state laws regarding parental involvement in minors’ abortions. Thirty-four states require some parental involvement. With the exception of Utah, all 34 have an alternative process (most often a judicial bypass) for minors who are seeking abortions and do not wish to involve their parents. Six also permit involvement by a grandparent or other adult relative in lieu of a parent.

Twenty states require parental consent and 14 require parental notification. Most states that require parental involvement make exceptions under certain circumstances: Twenty-eight permit abortions without parental consent in medical emergencies, and 11 permit them in cases of abuse, assault, incest or neglect. Free. Three pages. (212) 248-1111,

Youth Development
Beyond Safe Havens: A Synthesis of 20 Years of Research on the Boys & Girls Clubs
Public/Private Ventures and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA)

As the prelude to a multiyear study of Boys & Girls Clubs recently launched by Public/Private Venures (P/PV), this report reviews a range of evaluations of club programs conducted over the past two decades. It identifies potential benefits of participation, outlines strategies that might have contributed to program success, and discusses impediments to postive program outcomes. The summary concludes with a description of P/PV’s planned longitudinal evaluation of BGCA members as they make the transition to high school.

The authors note that BCGA’s policy welcoming all youth to whatever extent they are willing to participate makes it impossible to conduct a rigorous evaluation in which youth are randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. “Given this challenge, the evaluations … used different strategies to learn about program effectiveness, none of which are without flaws,” the report says. Free. 44 pages. (215) 557-4400,

Jennifer Moore can be reached at