Report Roundup from December 2005 – January 2006

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Child Welfare

Flexible Funding for Innovative Programming
U.S. Administration on Children and Families

Three new reports from the Children’s Bureau in the Administration on Children and Families highlight findings from several of the demonstration projects operating in 17 states that have received waivers on child welfare funding. The waivers allow states to use restricted funds to pay for innovative methods for promoting safety and permanency for children.

• “Assisted Guardianship Child Welfare Waiver Demonstrations” examines programs that offer financial support for guardians of children previously in foster care.
• “Substance Abuse Child Welfare Waiver Demonstrations” examines programs that identify and provide service referrals to parents with substance abuse issues.
• “Title IV-E Flexible Funding Child Welfare Demonstrations” examines a diverse set of programs focused on building community- and home-based alternatives to placement.

All are free online. (202) 205-8618, (under “Child Welfare Waiver Demonstrations”).

Parental and Familial Characteristics Used in the Selection of Foster Families
Children’s Mental Health Services Research Center, University of Tennessee

Families with many psychosocial problems – such as lack of a support network, marital discord and poor family functioning – are less likely to be approved as foster or adoptive families than are families with fewer problems, according to this study of 161 families who applied to a public agency to become foster families. For families with many problems, higher income increased the likelihood that a child would be placed with them, but that was not the case for families with few problems, researchers say.

Race, education, and the supply and demand of foster families were not related to placement.

Although agency workers did not have access to study data on the families over the course of the four-year study, they tended to weed out families identified by researchers as having many problems – an indication, researchers say, that the workers were able to discern unsuitability issues on their own. Free. 46 pages. (865) 974-7503,

Out-of-School Time

Using NCLB Funds to Support Extended Learning Time
Council of Chief State School Officers/The Finance Project

This brief describes in detail how six major funding streams included in the No Child Left Behind Act can support extended learning opportunities for youth. It discusses strategies, considerations and tips for accessing federal funds through Title I, Part A; School Improvement Funds; Supplemental Educational Services; Comprehensive School Reform; Safe and Drug-Free

Schools and Communities; and Innovative Programs.

The authors offer case studies of successfully funded out-of-school-time programs, lessons from the field, a table of activities allowed under each funding entity, and resources and contact information. The publication was financed by a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Free. 34 pages. (202) 336-7000,

Health Care

Kids at Risk: Declining Employer-Based Health Coverage in California and the United States: A Crisis for Working Families
The California Endowment

Results have been mixed for a variety of initiatives aimed at increasing the proportion of children covered by employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI), which has fallen steadily since the late 1990s, according to this report. Only one-third of lower-income children are covered by ESI.

After reviewing a number of government and privately sponsored ESI initiatives – such as federal Health Coverage Tax Credits, state premium assistance programs and California’s county-level Children’s Health Initiatives – the authors identify several elements as vital to the success of such initiatives. Among them:

• Premium subsidies that don’t exceed 5 percent of family income.
• Benefits adequate enough to be considered worthwhile by workers.
• Refundable tax credits, and subsidies paid in advance so workers don’t have to wait for reimbusement of premiums that they pay up front.
Free. 28 pages. (800) 449-4149,

Juvenile Justice

Keystones for Reform: Promising Juvenile Justice Policies and Practices in Pennsylvania
Juvenile Law Center

As part of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Models for Change initiative, this report highlights several Pennsylvania policies and practices that are considered models for juvenile justice reform on a national level. The innovations include:

• A Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission that has depoliticized juvenile justice and ensured that judges have input on state and county policy decisions.
• Needs-based budgeting that rewards counties for keeping offenders in their communities rather than in state institutions.
• Routine screening of detained youth for mental health problems, using the Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument (MAYSI-2).
• A combination of detention alternatives and vigilance that has kept the detention population at Philadelphia’s Youth Study Center under 105 in a city of nearly 1.5 million residents. Free. 60 pages. (215) 625-0551,


Sex on TV 4
Kaiser Family Foundation

The number of sexual scenes on television has risen significantly since 1998, according to this biennial study that measured sexual content over the course of more than 1,000 hours of television from a variety of genres. The study omitted daily newscasts, sports events and children’s shows.

Seventy percent of the shows reviewed in 2005 included some sexual content, averaging five sexual scenes per hour. That compares with 64 percent of shows and 4.4 sex scenes per hour in 2002, and 56 percent of shows and 3.2 sex scenes per hour in 1998.

Researchers found that references to delaying the initiation of sex, using protection and the consequences of unprotected sex have also increased since 1998. The number of shows in which sexual intercourse is shown or strongly implied has declined since 2002, from 14 to 11 percent. Free. 81 pages. (202) 347-5270,

Exposure of Hispanic Youth to Alcohol Advertising, 2003-2004
The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY)

This study says 12- to 20-year-old Hispanics saw 20 percent more alcohol advertising per capita in English-language magazines in 2004 than did all people in this age group. CAMY’s report also found that in 2003 and 2004, all but one of the 15 most popular television programs among 12- to 20-year-old Hispanics included alcohol ads.

Hispanic youth in some cities, including New York, San Francisco, San Antonio and San Jose, were also more likely to hear alcohol ads on the radio, researchers say. Some alcohol brands exposed Hispanic youth to significantly more radio ads for their products than other youth, including the beers Becks, Coors and Budweiser. Free. 15 pages. (202) 687-1019,


Decision Process to Deny Initial Application for Over-the-Counter Marketing of the Emergency Contraceptive Drug Plan B Was Unusual
Government Accountability Office (GAO)

This report questions the “novel” rationale used by Steve Galson, then the acting director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to deny an application last year to switch the Plan B birth control pill from perscription-only to over-the-counter sales. That denial was controversial, in part because an FDA advisory panel had overwhelmingly approved the switch for the morning-after pill. The FDA’s decision-making process on Plan B was “not typical” of the process used in decisions the FDA made on 67 other such proposed changes from 1994 through 2004, this GAO investigative report says.

Galson had expressed concerns that making Plan B easier to get would alter the sexual behavior of young teenage girls, and that it was invalid to apply to that group FDA data that showed no such effect among older girls. FDA review officials told GAO that such extrapolations are scientifically sound and there was no need for the pediatric study of Plan B that Galston requested. Free. 62 pages. (202) 512-6000,

Preliminary Births for 2004
National Center for Health Statistics

According to preliminary federal data, a record 1.5 million babies were born to unmarried women in the United States last year, but fewer of those babies were born to teens than in 2003. Teens accounted for about one-quarter of births to unmarried women in 2004, down from 50 percent in 1970, researchers say. Among teen mothers, more than eight in 10 were unmarried.
Overall, the teen birth rate in 2004 had declined by more than 33 percent since 1991, when it was 61.8 per 1,000. The preliminary birth rate for girls ages 15 to 19 was 41.2 per 1,000 in 2004, down from from 41.6 in 2003. The rate for girls ages 10 to 14 in 2004 was 0.7 per 1,000, half the rate for 1991, but slightly higher than the 2003 rate of 0.6 per thousand. Free online. (301) 458-4000,


Psychologically Distressed Children More Likely To be Involved in Bullying
Children’s Primary Care Medical Group, San Diego

Elementary school children who bully are more likely to feel unsafe at school, have lower academic achievement and report feeling sad most days, according to researchers who surveyed 3,530 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders. The study appears in the November issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Six percent of the children surveyed reported being bullied; 14 percent said they bullied others; and 2 percent said they both bullied and were bullied. All three groups were significantly more likely than bystanders to feel unsafe at school. Youth who felt they “did not belong” at school were four times as likely to be bullied and three times as likely to bully as were youths who felt they belonged. Bullies and victims were also more likely than bystanders to feel sad on most days. Abstract available online. (858) 673-3340,