CFK Weekly—Dec. 18, 2000

We encourage distribution of this information! If reprinting
in whole or part, please attribute it to Connect for Kids (www.connectforkids.org).

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NEW ON CONNECT FOR KIDS

**Learning From Loss

**Listen Up: A First Step to Protecting Teens

**Single Dads Speak Out

**Happy Holidays for Kids with ADHD

CONNECT TODAY

**Parents and Schools

HIGH COSTS KEEP KIDS OUT OF QUALITY CHILD CARE

**Quality Child Care Out of Reach for Many Families

**Child Care Investments Build Workforce and Promote School Readiness

**New Perspectives on Compensation Strategies

IT'S A SMALL WORLD

**State of the World's Children

**A World Fit for Children

WORKING POOR FAMILIES

**ACORN and Others Call for Federal Living Wage

**The Forgotten Workforce

**Manpower Launches ?Working Poor? Web Feature

BETTER PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN PARENTS AND SCHOOLS

**Parent, Family and Community Involvement Guidebook

**Getting a Jump on Good Health

**Parents Are People, Too

**Heads Up for Educational Attainment Report

REFORMING WELFARE REFORM

**Families Struggling to Make It in Workforce

**Welfare Information Network Gearing Up for Reauthorization Debate

**The Civil Rights Issues in Welfare Reform

**Evaluation Research: Impact on Families

**Impact of Delinking in Welfare services

**Welfare Rules Database Online

READING BY THE END OF THIRD GRADE

**Every Child Reading: A Professional Development Guide

**A Developmental Path to Reading

KEEPING KIDS ON TRACK

**Monitoring the Future Sees Steady Trends in Drug Use

**Juvenile Arrests 1999

**Self-Study Guide for Youth Support Programs

**Co-Occurrence of Delinquency and Other Problem Behaviors

** Taking Action on Children Exposed to Violence

**Highlights of the 1999 National Youth Gang Survey

**New Web-Based Tool for Community Risk Data on Lead Hazards

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

**Education Resources and Federal Funding Study

**E-Learning: Putting a World-Class Education at the Fingertips of
All Children

SAFETY AND THE HOLIDAYS

**Make Sure Their Toys are Safety-Checked

**Buckle Them Up Right!

**Safety, Drinking and the Holidays

FOCUS ON THE STATES

**State-by-State News

SUBSCRIBE/UNSUBSCRIBE

 


NEW ON CONNECT FOR KIDS

**Learning From Loss

by Susan Phillips

Deann Borshay Liem was one of thousands of Korean children to be adopted
by American families in the years immediately following the end of the
Korean War. In an interview with our managing editor Susan Phillips, Borshay
Liem talks about coming to terms with her own story through the process
of filmmaking.

http://www.connectforkids.org

**Listen Up: A First Step to Protecting Teens

by Jan Richter

How can we tell which teens need help navigating the tricky terrain
of adolescence? A new report warns that the ways we often sort teens into
groups -- race, income, family structure -- actually aren't much help.
Connect for Kids' Jan Richter says there's a clear lesson to be learned.

http://www.connectforkids.org

**Single Dads Speak Out

During the week of Nov. 27th, Connect for Kids hosted an on-line discussion
about the challenges facing single dads of all types: divorced, never-married,
custodial or living away from their children. Here's a summary of what
we heard.

http://www.connectforkids.org

**Happy Holidays for Kids with ADHD

The holidays often mean changes in routine that can be difficult for
children, especially those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The Academy for Educational Development has holiday tips to help parents
of kids with ADHD keep the season bright.

http://www.connectforkids.org

 


CONNECT TODAY

**Parents and Schools

Many of you have sent us information on how parents and educators are
working together in partnership in your community to improve student learning.
Keep your stories coming. Connect for Kids will be preparing a ?Parent
and Schools? supplement for the Web site for spring 2001. E-mail jan@benton.org
with your experiences or suggestions.

 


HIGH CHILD CARE COSTS KEEP KIDS OUT OF QUALITY CARE

**Quality Child Care Out of Reach for Many Families

The Children's Defense Fund gathered data from child care and referral
agencies to document the dilemma that few working families with young children
can escape. In urban and rural areas, child care expenses pose insurmountable
obstacles for many families. Given the current rock-bottom wages for child
care teachers, private-sector solutions like raising tuition or lowering
costs are not feasible, and current levels of state and federal funding
provide assistance to only about 10 percent of eligible children.

http://www.childrensdefense.org/childcare/ccmenu.html#3

**Child Care Investments Build Workforce and Promote School Readiness

Low-income families in the South face woefully scarce funding for child
care, according to the bipartisan public/private Southern Regional Task
Force on Child Care. Their action plan argues that without partial public
aid for child care, low-income parents in the South will continue to face
a major barrier to securing and sustaining employment.

http://www.kidsouth.org/release12-13-00.html

**New Perspectives on Compensation Strategies

Researchers at Wheelock College argue that extremely low wages and
high turnover among child care teachers can be addressed by public and
private strategies that include investments in subsidies and tax credits,
scholarship assistance and loan forgiveness programs. For a copy of their
new report, call the Center for Career Development in Early Care and Education,
Wheelock College (617-879-2211).

http://ericps.crc.uiuc.edu/ccdece/library/compensate.html

 


IT'S A SMALL WORLD

**State of the World's Children

The annual UNICEF report this year highlights the importance of early
childhood and the vulnerabilities of children from birth to age 3 to war,
poverty, and HIV/AIDS. Learn what parents, nations, and the international
community can, and must, do to protect infants' rights to survival, growth,
and development.

http://www.unicef.org/sowc01/

**A World Fit for Children

The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children is
scheduled for September 2001. A special preparatory committee has submitted
a draft statement for consideration at the late January 2001 working meeting.
Claiming that ?the world now has the normative framework, the communications
capacity, the technical know-how and the financial resources to meet the
most pressing needs of children and to fulfil their rights? the document
lays out the major areas of need and identifies national and global strategies
for action. http://www.unicef.org/specialsession/pro.outcome.doc

http://www.unicef.org/specialsession/background.htm

_________________________________

WORKING POOR FAMILIES

**ACORN and Others Call for Federal Living Wage

Living wage standards mean that anyone who works full-time should be
able to support his or her family above the poverty line -- $17,050 a year
for a family of four or the equivalent of $8.20 per hour. While cities
across the country require their contractors to pay their employees a living
wage, the federal government does not. Association of Community Organizations
for Reform Now (ACORN) is leading a national campaign to secure living
wage legislation at the federal level.

http://www.acorn.org/pressrelease/nov30.htm

**The Forgotten Workforce

Pressures to downsize government workforces have led to increased government
contracting with private businesses. Most federal contract workers employed
by private business, however, do not enjoy wages and benefits comparable
to their counterparts in the federal workforce, according to this Economic
Policy Institute report. In fact, more than one in 10 federal contract
workers earn less than a living wage. The typical contractors paying poverty-level
wages are large businesses, especially defense contractors, rather than
small businesses or nonprofits.

http://www.epinet.org/briefingpapers/livwage.html

**Manpower Launches ?Working Poor? Web Feature

The Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation offers its reports
on working poor families in a new section on their Web site.

http://www.mdrc.org/WorkingPoor.htm

For more on children in poverty and family income issues, visit Connect
for Kids' Topics A-Z. http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1543/index.htm

 


BETTER PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN PARENTS AND SCHOOLS

**Parent, Family and Community Involvement Guidebook

This Massachusetts Department of Education guidebook lists specific
actions to promote parent and community involvement in student learning,
school planning and decision-making, sound parenting, and other arenas
for parent/school and community collaboration.

http://www.doe.mass.edu/schcouncil/pubs/2000/pandc.pdf

**Getting a Jump on Good Health

Obesity rates are rising at the same time as physical education classes
are falling victim to budget cuts. This article from the Harvard Graduate
School of Education takes a look at the ?new? physical education programs
that can help kids keep fit.

http://www.edletter.org/current/

**Parents Are People, Too

When teachers call parents about children's problems, they may be trying
to help, but parents can react with disappointment or fear for their dreams
for their children. This issue brief from the Association for Supervision
and Curriculum Development Understanding argues that understanding this
can help teachers be more in tune with parents' feelings so the problem-solving
work can be effective.

http://www.ascd.org/readingroom/edupdate/2000/4nov00.html

**Heads Up for Educational Attainment Report

The Census Bureau releases the data on educational attainment in the
United States on Dec. 19. http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/educ-attn.html.

 


REFORMING WELFARE REFORM

**Families Struggling to Make It in Workforce

What happens to families leaving welfare for the workforce? Based on
5,200 interviews across the nation the Children's Defense Fund reports
that those workers with at least a two-year post-secondary or vocational
degree are the only group likely to escape poverty by their earnings alone.
Many families entering the workforce are relying on emergency services
like homeless shelters, food banks and other community agencies. Welfare
caseworkers can help families maintain stable employment without hardship
when they inform parents of available services and supports, like health
coverage, child care assistance and food stamps.

http://www.childrensdefense.org/release001214.htm

**Welfare Information Network Gearing Up for Reauthorization Debate

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), established by the
1996 welfare reform legislation, is up for re-authorization by September
2002. The Welfare Information Network posts events, conferences and information
to make sure the upcoming public debate over welfare reform focuses on
strengthening families and protecting children.

http://www.welfareinfo.org/tanf_reauthorization.htm

**The Civil Rights Issues in Welfare Reform

In this ColorLines editorial, writer Gary Delgado charges that welfare
reform has made real the myth that most welfare recipients are people of
color, and intensified racial and gender discrimination. He calls on local
organizations to enter into serious policy discussions about what changes
are needed for real welfare reform. These include quality childcare, access
to transportation, exemptions from paid work, due process before imposing
sanctions and real educational opportunities. http://www.arc.org/C_Lines/CLArchive/story3_3_04.html

**Welfare Reform's Impact on Families

Two new reports (from Manpower and Mathematica) find many participants
in welfare reform programs in Florida and Pennsylvania earning modest increases
in their incomes. Many continue to face serious challenges that are having
negative impacts on families and children, however. For summaries, check
out the Connect for Kids' Florida and Pennsylvania pages.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1576/index.htm

**Impact of Delinking in Welfare services

Research comparing enrollment rates in Medicaid, food stamp and the
federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food programs among Wisconsin's
low-income families suggests that altering such programs without provisions
for transition can result in unintended consequences. Data indicates that
enrollment Medicaid and food stamp programs dropped when families left
the welfare rolls, but enrollment in WIC -- which had not been linked to
welfare -- was unaffected.

http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/abstract/106/6/e83

**Welfare Rules Database Online

The Urban Institute's Welfare Rules Database provides a comprehensive
online account of changes in welfare rules in all 50 states and the District
of Columbia. Compare cash assistance programs between states, research
changes in cash assistance rules within a single state, or find the most
up-to-date information on the rules governing cash assistance in one state.

http://newfederalism.urban.org/WRD/WRDWelcome.CFM

For more information, look up ?welfare,? ?family income? and ?poverty?
in Connect for Kids' Topics A-Z. http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1543/index.htm

 


READING BY THE END OF THIRD GRADE

**Every Child Reading: A Professional Development Guide

The Learning First Alliance tried to call a halt to the ?reading wars?
with ?Every Child Reading: An Action Plan.? Now they have added more detail
to delineating what teachers need to know and how they can improve their
teaching skills and methods in "Every Child Reading: A Professional Development
Guide."

http://www.learningfirst.org/publications.html

**A Developmental Path to Reading

This booklet, published by the Educational Resources Information Center
(ERIC), explores how children can be taught to read. The fall 2000 issue
of "The ERIC Review" explains the typical pathways children take when learning
to read and some of the difficulties they encounter. It also offers tips
and activities for parents and caregivers to help children learn to read
by the end of third grade.

http://www.accesseric.org/resources/ericreview/vol7no2/splash.html

 


KEEPING KIDS ON TRACK

**Monitoring the Future Sees Steady Trends in Drug Use

The 2000 survey of drug use among eighth-, tenth- and twelfth-graders
found that illicit drug use, including marijuana, generally remained unchanged
in the last year, marking the fourth year in a row of level or declining
use. The use of MDMA (ecstasy) among all grades and the use of steroids
among tenth-graders increased. Cigarette use declined, but use of alcohol,
amphetamines, barbiturates, tranquilizers, hallucinogens other than LSD
and opiates other than heroin remained unchanged.

http://www.monitoringthefuture.org

**Juvenile Arrests 1999

The U.S. Dept. of Justice's new juvenile crime data for 1999 shows
a decline in crime by youth for the sixth straight year, reporting a 68
percent decline in the juvenile arrest rate for murder in the U.S. from
1993 to 1999, reaching its lowest level since 1966. The juvenile arrest
rate for violent crime overall dropped 36 percent from 1994 to 1999, and
is now at its lowest since 1988.

http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/about/press/ojp001214.html

**Self-Study Guide for Youth Support Programs

How young people spend their out-of-school time is a longstanding concern
of the public and of those organizations and individuals that offer programs
and services for them. This Chapin Hall guide can help you determine how
your program is serving young people's healthy development, how you could
improve it, and how it measures up to several critical indicators of program
quality. Register for free at <http://www.chapin.uchicago.edu/ProjectsGuide/registration/index.html>
and then scroll down to find it in ?downloadable publications.?

**Co-Occurrence of Delinquency and Other Problem Behaviors

Most youth who exhibit problem behaviors during adolescence do so only
during a single year. According to this bulletin from the Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Prevention, longitudinal research on those youth
with more persistent patterns of delinquency shows differing patterns of
drug use, school problems and mental illness. The findings emphasizes the
importance of identifying and addressing the needs of each individual youth,
rather than proceeding under the assumption that all offenders require
similar treatment.

http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/delinq.html#182211

**Safe From the Start: Taking Action on Children Exposed to Violence

Many of today's children are exposed to some form of violence ? in
the streets, at school, at home or in the media ? causing upheaval in a
child's life and potentially serious difficulties in school, at work and
in relationships. The June 1999 National Summit on Children Exposed to
Violence's follow-up action plan relies on 8 principles: work together,
begin earlier, think developmentally, make mothers safe to keep children
safe, enforce the law, make adequate resources available, work from a sound
knowledge base and create a culture of nonviolence.

http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/violvict.html#182789

**Highlights of the 1999 National Youth Gang Survey

National estimates based on survey results indicate that a total of
3,911 jurisdictions in the United States experienced gang activity in 1999,
a 19-percent decline from 1996. Respondents in 66 percent of large cities,
47 percent of suburban counties, 27 percent of small cities, and 18 percent
of rural counties reported active youth gangs in 1999. Compared with 1998,
these numbers represent declines of 3-5 percent. http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/fact.html#HNYGS

**New Web-Based Tool for Community Risk Data on Lead Hazards

The National Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning and Environmental
Defense have launched a new interactive Web-based tool that maps the relative
risk of lead hazards by state, county and census tract. Rank your community's
risk for lead hazards, determine the number of children reported as lead-poisoned
in each state, or identify hotspots for air emissions of lead.

http://www.scorecard.org/env-releases/lead

 


YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

**Education Resources and Federal Funding Study

Congress has just agreed to major increases in educational spending
in the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations (?Labor-H?) bill that represent
a compromise between those who would roll back federal education spending
to previous levels and a larger increase negotiated before the Nov. 7 election.
While the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) has not yet been
re-authorized, the education funding negotiated for the ?Labor-H? appropriations
includes funding for the ESEA components, according to the House Labor-HHS-Education
subcommittee.

A recent U.S. Dept. of Education report looks at six of the largest
elementary-secondary programs. Data on the largest funding category, Title
I, indicates that federal dollars help increase the resources for low-income
schools, but cannot boost them to a par with what high-income local districts
can spend on their students.

http://www.ed.gov/offices/OUS/PES/whatsnew.html#evaluation

**E-Learning: Putting a World-Class Education at the Fingertips of
All Children

The U.S. Dept. of Education's new national educational technology plan
completes an 18-month effort that involved educators, administrators, policy-makers
and the private sector to revise the national strategy for the effective
use of technology in elementary and secondary education.

http://www.ed.gov/Technology

 


SAFETY AND THE HOLIDAYS

**Make Sure Their Toys are Safety-Checked

Every year the Consumer Safety Protection Commission reviews the toys
that have been recalled due to the serious dangers they pose to children.
While these toys are no longer on the store shelves, they may be on your
shelves at home. The CSPC recommends that consumers check labels and toys
for small parts, sharp points or other potential hazards.

http://www.cspc.gov

**Buckle Them Up Right!

Most parents think they are fitting safety seats in their cars correctly,
but the National Transportation Safety Board says the majority of safety
seat checkups show that parents unintentionally make mistakes. The board
has called upon automobile manufacturers, state policymakers and others
to establish child safety seat fitting stations so that every parent can
check the way their seat has been installed. http://www.ntsb.gov/Surface/Highway/childseat.htm

**Safety, Drinking and the Holidays

Planning an office party or holiday event at home? Here are some reminders
of social host responsibilities from Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

http://www.madd.org/PROGRAMS/safe_party.shtml

[Thanks to the Onyx-Group for these last two reminders?http://www.onyx-group.com]

 


FOCUS ON THE STATES

**State-by-State news

Check out news about kids in your state in the ?state-by-state? section
of the Connect for Kids Web site.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1576/index.htm

Here's a sample of this week's additions to our state pages.

Florida

Unintentional firearm deaths in children have been significantly reduced
in Florida due to the state's child access prevention gun law.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=386

Idaho

Boise school leaders built a high-tech high school with a Web site
maintained by students.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=389

Maryland

Baltimore was among the 19 of 24 school systems in Maryland to show
overall improvements in student achievement over the past year, according
to the results of the Maryland School Performance Report.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=397

Massachusetts

School nurses have begun a statewide campaign to enroll children in
programs that provide free and low-cost health care coverage.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=398

New York

Children's Defense Fund-New York has a toolkit to help organizations
serving low-income families identify and help enroll eligible families
in health insurance.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=409

North Carolina ? Charlotte

Advocates argue that freezing enrollments in the state's CHIP are unnecessary
and harmful. E-mail adam@ncjustice.org for the North Carolina Health Access
Coalition statement.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=1663

Ohio

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeal has struck down Cleveland's school
voucher program.

http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=412

Pennsylvania

The evaluation of an Allegheny County welfare-to-work program reveals
steady but modest economic gains for most participants. http://www.connectforkids.org/homepage1667/index.htm?state_id=415

Have a Happy Holiday, everyone!

Jan Richter, Outreach Specialist and the Connect for Kids team

Jan@benton.org