CFK Update: December 17, 2008

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Bringing you relevant news, research and policy updates
affecting children, youth and families.

December 17, 2008

In This Issue
New on CFK
The Economics of Child Poverty
Letters to the President: Children, Youth and the Obama Transition
Education News
Health & Health Care
Early Learning
Take Action! Featured Alerts
Grants & Funding
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Editor's Note

As we approach the holidays and the end of 2008, you certainly don't need us to recap the list of woes and worries facing our nation -- instead, we'd like to send '08 out with a bit of cheer and optimism.

That's not as hard as it sounds because many in the child and youth field are turning hopeful eyes toward the new administration and offering recommendations for specific steps to improve the lives of children and youth, even in these tight times. We've got a round-up of several transition ideas below.

There's also some powerful calls to action on behalf of families, and ideas for including children and youth in the economic recovery -- with the underlying message that yes we can ensure access to quality after-school programs and child care for families. We can preserve critical social services, even in the face of state budget cuts. We can strengthen our education system, improve graduation rates and more than that, we can make sure our grads are ready for college, work and life.

And just a reminder: at CFK, we've completed an exciting strategic planning process (with input from many of you) and we're looking forward to a redesigned site that merges information and action ideas to make it easier to stay informed, inspired and effective!

We at CFK congratulate all of you for the work you do to foster the well-being of children and youth and we join you in looking toward (and acting for) the future! Together, the diverse child and youth field can be a powerful voice for improvement.

May your holidays be merry and bright,

Caitlin Johnson

PDFTo read PDF files, download the free Adobe Reader.


Changing the Odds for Children at Risk: An Interview with Susan B. Neuman
By Claus von Zastrow, Public School
NEUMANYou may know Dr. Susan B. Neuman as the apostate former Bush administration official who publicly opposes No Child Left Behind in its current form and has made headlines by arguing that schools alone cannot close achievement gaps. But Neuman has received less attention for her affirmative vision of what we can do to improve poor students' odds dramatically (includes audio).

Ready for Life: Yes, That Means CollegeKaren Pittman
To say that young people should be ready for college, work and life often provokes public criticism. People question if college is for every young person. In her column, Karen Pittman challenges leaders to "... stay with [all young people] to ensure that they complete some form of post-secondary credential-academic or technical."

The Economics of Child Poverty FF Banner

New Report: The Cost of Doing Nothing
A new First Focus report does a better job than Dickens of conjuring the Ghost of Our Economic Future: the United States will suffer a future economic loss of over $1.7 trillion if the current recession drives an additional 3 million children into poverty, as is predicted -- a loss of about $35 billion dollars per year over the lifetime of these children. It doesn't have to be this way -- the new report analyzes the cost of childhood poverty, including its effects on lifetime earnings and health outcomes.

CAPITOL HILLLetters to the President: Children, Youth and the Obama Transition

Child and youth organizations across the country are seizing the moment to share their priorities and recommendations with the new administration. Here are just a few:

Generations United: Transition Memo to Incoming President Obama
believe policies should meet the needs of all generations, and
resources go further and are more wisely used when they connect
generations rather than separate them."

CWLA Briefing and Obama's Stance on Child Welfare
The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA): "With a declining economy [and] wars ... our newly elected
President will need the support and sound advice of advocacy leaders
and state legislators ready to join in and help bring about change for
children and families" beginning with a call for a White House Conference on Children and Families in 2010.

For Obama Transition Team -- A Work and Family Agenda
Corporate Voices for Working Families is backing the call for a White House Conference on Children and Families and supports for working families.

President Obama's First Budget: Will it be Family Friendly?
The Every Child Matters Education Fund has recommendations for a child-friendly budget and investments.

Children's Leadership Council Economic Recovery Proposal
children's health, education, and well-being is not just the right
thing to do; it is one of the smartest investments we can make for our
nation's future."

CFK ARROWIf you haven't heard, check out, the official transition site for the new administration.

Do you have a transition memo for the incoming administration? Send it to us and we'll share it with readers. Email us at

Education NewsCCFY logo

The School Environment and Adolescent Well-Being: Beyond Academics
School touches children's lives and development across a range of
areas: health, social support, civic engagement and more. This Child
Trends brief offers national estimates from a variety of sources on the
impact of the school environment on adolescent development.

COVER3Educating Homeless Children in Chicago: A Case Study of Children in the Family Regeneration Program
A new Chapin Hall study examines a group of homeless children enrolled
in the Chicago public schools who received shelter from Inner Voice, an
agency that provides services to chronically homeless families.
Overall, homeless children were found to have high levels of school
mobility, academic difficulties and special education needs. The report also discusses the policy changes needed to help public schools and
homeless shelters work better together.

Change the Game: Create a Federal Innovation Office for EdBROOKINGS
Brookings Institution is calling on the federal government to "change
the game" in public education by creating a federal Office of
Educational Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Department of
Education. The authors cite the achievement gap between poor and
minority students and their more affluent peers, along with findings
that US 15-year-olds perform worse than students in 23 countries in math and behind 11 countries in

TOOLKITToolkit: Helping Students with Disabilities
The federal Office of Special Education Programs has released a toolkit on teaching and assessing students with disabilities.

Health & Health

On tough times: "Of the people who have already lost or are at risk of losing
their coverage [in this recession], more than 590,000 are adults and more than 447,000 are
children." -- Families USA

A Painful Recession: States Cut Health Care Safety Net ProgramsFAMUSA COv
In a new report, Families USA examines the impact of the economic recession on
states -- and the risks that lie ahead if states don't receive additional help from the government. With a boost in federal health care safety net programs such as the State Children's
Health Insurance Program, the report shows increased business activity, jobs
and wages would result.

Governors Ask for $40B for State Medicaid Programs; President-Elect Obama Says He Will Provide Aid to States
at least 43 states facing budget shortfalls and many seeing increased enrollment
in state programs, the Kasier Network reports that 49 governors met with President-elect
Obama "to discuss an economic stimulus package that could include additional
federal Medicaid funds for states."

PDFWhat's Congress Planning for SCHIP Reauthorization? A Side-by-Side
FF CovFirst
Focus, the Children's Health Fund and the National Association
of Community Health Centers have compiled a side-by-side comparison of the House, Senate and joint (where they exist) proposals to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). It also includes recommendations to improve the health
and well-being of our nation's children.

Early Learning

NACCRRA Releases Stimulus Proposal to Boost Child Care Employment and Keep Children Safe NACCRA LOGO
For the more than 11 million children under age 5 who spend a portion of their day in child care each week, quality counts. The National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRA) is calling for the next stimulus package to improve access to child care since it's "the linchpin between working families and safe
children ... which is particularly critical as
family stress increases during uncertain times."

Obama's $10 Billion Promise Stirs Hope in Early Education
The New York Times
has a downright gleeful article with reactions to Obama's pledge to
invest $10 billion in early childhood education - "the largest new
federal initiative for young children since Head Start began in 1965.
Now, Head Start is a $7 billion federal program serving about 900,000

UNICEFThe Child Care Transition: An OECD Report Card from UNICEF
The rise in out-of-home child care in industrialized nations coupled with advances in neuroscientific research and our understanding of child development give policymakers and others more opportunities than ever. This new UNICEF report card looks at how well countries are doing -- the US ranks 22 out of the 25 industrial nations in critical indicators -- and proposes international standards for early childhood care and education.

Create-Your-Own Tables: Pre-Elementary Ed Longitudinal Study
The National Center for Special Education Research has released a dynamic website that lets the public generate tables and comparisons using data from the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS). The system includes over 1,000 variables related to child and family characteristics; special education programs and services; and academic, social and functional performance for preschoolers with disabilities.

Take Action! Featured Alertsaction alert

National Call-In Day on Social Services Block Grant Increase (Today, December 17)
As Congress drafts legislation for an economic recovery package, the Coalition on Human Needs is recommending increasing the Social Services Block Grant -- federal funds for state social services -- to $2.8 billion. Severe budget shortfalls in states and communities are straining human services
for children and families and forcing cuts at a time when we need services more than ever.

Be a Voice for Out-of-School Time Programs
In place of a traditional holiday card, the Afterschool Alliance invites you to celebrate the holidays by making your views heard on out-of-school time programs. Here are some things you can do:

Grants and Funding ResourcesGRANTS

Coming Up Taller Awards
These awards, from the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities funds, recognize and support outstanding community arts and humanities programs that celebrate the creativity of America's young people, provide them learning opportunities and chances to contribute to their communities. Deadline: January 30, 2009.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation offers grants for healthy eating and active living initiatives that support healthier U.S. communities, with a special emphasis on reaching children who are at highest risk for obesity on the basis of race/ethnicity, income and/or geographic location. Deadline: February 3, 2009.

Home Depot Foundation
The Foundation offers grants to nonprofits in the U.S. and Canada to support the production and preservation of affordable, efficient and healthy housing. Deadline for letters of inquiry: March 1, 2009.


Caitlin Johnson and Thaddeus Ferber
Connect for Kids and the Forum for Youth Investment