CFK Weekly—Oct. 29, 2001

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

**Mockingbird Times Comes Out Singing

**Don't Prejudge Teens in Care

**Children and Foster Care

**Halloween Safety Tips

CONNECT TODAY

**Helping Children Cope

KIDS AND POLITICS

**Catholic Charities Says Keep Our Priorities Straight in Economic
Stimulus Legislation

**Agriculture Bill to Move in Senate

**Reauthorizing the Food Stamp Program

**School Environment Protection Act at Stake in Education Bill

**Dads and Daughters Fighting for Mental Health Parity Bill

KEEPING THEM ALL HEALTHY

**Health Coverage for Kids in Kinship Care

**The Smoke-Free Home Pledge Campaign

**Racial, Ethnic and Primary Language Data Collection in the Health
Care System

CONNECT FOR YOUTH

**Higher Learning, Higher Earnings

**Powerful Pathways: Framing Options and Opportunities for Vulnerable
Youth

**A Tale of Two Jurisdictions

**Looking for Youth-Led Programs Aiding Transition Out of Foster Care

**Videoconference on the Future of Federal Juvenile Justice Program

**The New Girls' Movement: Implications for Youth Programs

**The Local Television News Media's Picture of Children

**Sources of Funding for Youth Services

WELFARE REFORM: FORGING A NEW POLICY AGENDA

**Child and Adolescent Well-Being

**Administration Solicits Comments on Reauthorization

**Workforce Development

**Leaving Welfare, Left Behind

**Changing Welfare Offices

**Extending Ladders: Findings from the Annie E. Casey Jobs Initiative

**Welfare and the Economy

**Sanction Policies and Practices -- An Update

**More Research Needed on Family Caps and Other Policies

IMPROVING SCHOOLS

** Every Child Learning: Safe and Supportive Schools

**Smarter Testing ? New Guide for States

**Raising Minority Academic Achievement

**Practices and Conditions that Lead to a Sense of Community in Middle
Schools

**Middle School Drug Prevention and School-Safety Coordinators

**Literacy and After School: A Perfect Fit

FOCUS ON THE STATES

**Stateline Reports on State Budget Crunch

**Federal Aid to State Medicaid Programs Falls as Economy

Weakens

**State-by-State News

SUBSCRIBE/UNSUBSCRIBE


NEW ON CONNECT FOR KIDS

**Mockingbird Times Comes Out Singing

by Deborah Fisher

The Mockingbird Times is about foster care and homelessness, written
by kids who've lived through both. Deborah Fisher profiles this Seattle
newspaper and some of the young people who lend their voices to it.

http://www.connectforkids.org

**Don't Prejudge Teens in Care

by Venetta Dent

Many youths in foster care are hardworking, dedicated and determined,
but because of stereotypes, their good qualities go unnoticed. In this
essay from Foster Care Youth United, Venetta Dent describes how she has
striven to become successful and productive.

http://www.connectforkids.org

**Children and Foster Care

Who is in foster care, and what supports do these children need most?
Connect for Kids' feature is the place to go for information and links
to programs and organizations near you to help protect these vulnerable
children.

http://www.connectforkids.org

**Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and we can all make
sure that children have a safe holiday. The American Academy of Pediatrics
offers suggestions.

http://www.connectforkids.org


CONNECT TODAY

**Helping Children Cope

In September, we had more than 12,000 visits to Connect for Kids' response
to the Sept. 11 attacks. We continue to add resources as they become available,
including what families, schools and communities are doing around the country
to help children cope.


KIDS AND POLITICS

**Catholic Charities Says Keep Our Priorities Straight in Economic
Stimulus Legislation

Where should we place our priorities in an economic stimulus package?
Working in communities across America, Catholic Charities USA President
Rev. J. Bryan Hehir says the public commitment to protecting vulnerable
families and children in these times of growing need must remain strong.
He calls for direct assistance to the working poor left out of the tax
rebates, with special consideration for the workers who have lost jobs
or income. He also calls for reforms in unemployment insurance and increases
for anti-hunger programs and those that protect children from abuse and
neglect.

http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/media/opinion/2001/1025crisis.htm

**Agriculture Bill to Move in Senate

The House of Representatives has passed its Farm Bill/Food Stamp Reauthorization
(H.R. 2646), and the Senate Agriculture Committee is now considering its
version. Food Research and Action Center reports that many child advocates
are urging Senator Harkin (D-Iowa) to include proposals in the final Senate
bill introduced by Senator Lugar (R-IN) that simplify the Food Stamp program,
partially restoring benefits to legal immigrants and increasing the minimum
benefit to $25 per month. http://www.frac.org/html/news/alert101801.htm

**Reauthorizing the Food Stamp Program

The Welfare Information Network reviews the research, arguments and
policy proposals for improving the Food Stamp program as a safety net and
support program for low-wage families.

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

**School Environment Protection Act at Stake in Education Bill

The House-Senate conference on education reform legislation meets again
on Tuesday, October 30, 2001, to reconcile differences in the reauthorization
of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Beyond Pesticides urges
that the Senate-adopted School Environment Protection Act remain intact.

http://www.beyondpesticides.org/main.html

**Dads and Daughters Fighting for Mental Health Parity Bill

An eating disorder can be a fatal disease, but it's not always covered
by health insurance. One woman's story led the Dads and Daughters organization
to join a fight for federal legislation requiring insurance companies to
put mental health coverage on a par with physical illness.

http://www.dadsanddaughters.org/parity_bill_080301.htm

You can track the progress of the legislation online. http://capwiz.com/dads/issues/bills/?billnum=S.543&congress=107&size=full


KEEPING THEM ALL HEALTHY

**Health Coverage for Kids in Kinship Care

More than two million children in the United States are parented by
grandparents and other relatives. All states allow these kinship caregivers
to apply for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program for the
children they are raising. But too often the caregivers do not know they
are eligible or face barriers when they apply, according to this 50-state
survey from the Children's Defense Fund. A companion brochure answers kinship
caregivers' frequently asked questions. Call 202-662-3568 for a copy.

**The Smoke-Free Home Pledge Campaign

Tobacco smoke is more harmful to children than adults because children's
lungs are still developing. Studies have also shown that children born
to mothers who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke while pregnant
are more likely to develop asthma. If parents can't quit smoking, they
can take this pledge and protect their kids by smoking only outside the
home.

http://www.aaaai.org/public/epa/epa_smoke_free.stm

**Racial, Ethnic and Primary Language Data Collection in the Health
Care System

This Commonwealth Fund report analyzes the policies and statutes governing
the collection of health care data by race, ethnicity and primary language.
It argues that better data collecting and reporting systems are necessary
to reach the goal of eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in the health
care system.

http://www.cmwf.org/programs/minority/perot_racialethnic_492.pdf


CONNECT FOR YOUTH

**Higher Learning, Higher Earnings

This brochure from American Youth Policy Forum translates the statistics
about costs, credentials and earnings potential into everyday language
so young people can make the best decisions about what courses to take
and how to plan their futures after high school.

http://www.aypf.org

**Powerful Pathways: Framing Options and Opportunities for Vulnerable
Youth

Everything we know about development suggests that vulnerable youth
-- even those who carry with them a decade of inadequate services and poor
behavior ? can transform their lives when they get support that respects
and builds on their strengths. This overview from the Youth Transition
Funders Group reviews what we know about adolescent transitions, and what
educational and policy strategies hold the most promise.

http://www.ydrf.com/ytfg

**A Tale of Two Jurisdictions

This Justice Policy Institute report looks at youth crime and detention
rates during the 1990s in Maryland and the District of Columbia. The study
found the rate of youth violent crime in the District decreased by 55 percent
when the city closed detention facilities and implemented more community
programs. This drop in crime was more than three times greater (15 percent)
than the drop in violent crime in Maryland when the state steadily increased
the use of secure detention for juvenile offenders.  http://www.buildingblocksforyouth.org/dcmd

**Looking for Youth-Led Programs Aiding Transition Out of Foster
Care

The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, helping youth in foster
care make successful transitions to the adult world, is seeking information
on efforts to engage foster youth and young adults in the development and
delivery of foster care transition services -- youth boards, councils,
advisory committees or other efforts. Contact Bob Friend (bfriend01@earthlink.net).

**Videoconference on the Future of Federal Juvenile Justice Program

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention will hold
a live satellite videoconference on Dec. 6, 2001, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
EST. For more information contact Jenny McWilliams (859-622-6671; ekujjtap@aol.com). 
http://www.juvenilenet.org

**The New Girls' Movement: Implications for Youth Programs

The Collaborative Fund for Healthy Girls/Healthy Women learned a lot
about effective programs for girls by taking a ?practice what you preach?
approach to program development and evaluation. The Collaborative added
some new evaluation tools to engage the participants themselves in designing
and evaluating their programs. This report summarizes what it takes to
develop programs that genuinely support girls' development into active,
healthy, engaged members of their communities.  http://www.ms.foundation.org/publications.html

**The Local Television News Media's Picture of Children

In the most comprehensive, nationally representative study of children
and children's issues in local television, Children Now reports serious
distortions in how the news covers children and children's issues. While
children account for one fourth of the U.S. population, they receive scant
attention in local news stories and almost half of all local news stories
about children (45 percent) focused on crime. Few stories focused on public
policy issues, accounting for only 13 percent of news stories about children.

http://www.childrennow.org/newsroom/news-01/pr-10-23-01.cfm

**Sources of Funding For Youth Services

From adult literacy to vocational rehabilitation, this comprehensive
chart gives up-to-date references of potential partners and available funding
resources for serving children and youth. The guide also describes the
key elements of a funding proposal.

http://www.doleta.gov/youth_services/maps-founding.asp


WELFARE REFORM: FORGING A NEW POLICY
AGENDA

**Child and Adolescent Well-Being

Since the children who are dependent on welfare outnumber the adults,
child advocates are keenly concerned about how welfare reform has affected
children and youth, and how changes in policies and programs in 2002 welfare
reauthorization legislation will address children's needs. The Welfare
Information Network is posting the research on welfare reform's impact
on child and adolescent well-being on a new Web page. http://www.welfareinfo.org/childwellbeingreauthorization.htm

**Administration Solicits Comments on Welfare Reauthorization

The Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services is inviting public comment about what changes the administration
should propose during reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance to Needy
Families program, which legally expires in 2002. Comments are due on or
before November 30, 2001.  http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/ofa/

**Workforce Development

Based on a research review on job training, retention and advancement
and a review of state policies, this technical paper from Kellogg's Devolution
Initiative recommends replacing federal work participation requirements
with outcome measures, like poverty reduction, sustained employment, earnings
growth and higher wages, to hold states accountable. http://www.clasp.org/pubs/jobseducation/technical%20paper.pdf

**Leaving Welfare, Left Behind

In this in-depth analysis of 18 state studies of those leaving welfare,
the National Campaign for Jobs and Income Support reports that there is
no clear dividing line between the welfare poor and the working poor. Both
groups experience low earnings and intermittent work with significant bouts
of unemployment. This means low-wage families face significant hardship,
with significant numbers reporting hunger, housing problems, use of private
charities and lack of access to needed health care.  http://www.nationalcampaign.org/Download/LEAVINGWELFARE.doc

**Changing Welfare Offices

This policy brief from the Brookings Institution finds that while many
welfare offices across the country have developed ?work first? policies
that require applicants to search for jobs or conduct other work-related
activities, few have effective mechanisms for informing applicants of benefits.
In addition, many have been haphazard in linking clients to pregnancy prevention
and other family formation services. Removing conflicting requirements
across programs and improving worker training and coordination would improve
the performance of welfare offices.

http://www.brookings.edu/wrb/publications/pb/pb09.htm

**Extending Ladders: Findings from the Annie E. Casey Jobs Initiative

The Annie E. Casey Foundation's Jobs Initiative in six cities has used
a comprehensive workforce development approach to improve the odds for
disadvantaged parents to get and keep jobs that enable them to support
their families. Some implications for future welfare policies based on
these lessons include making family poverty reduction an explicit welfare
goal, sustaining the level of federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
funding to the states, and ensuring that welfare recipients have access
to education and training.

http://www.aecf.org/jobsinitiative/ladders.pdf

**Welfare and the Economy

The 1996 welfare reform legislation contained three provisions to help
states weather a recession: the ability to carry over block grant funds,
a loan fund, and a contingency fund, but these and other public assistance
programs need reworking to be entirely effective during a recession, argues
Rebecca Blank in this Brookings policy brief.

http://www.brookings.edu/wrb/publications/pb/pb07.htm

**Sanction Policies and Practices -- An Update

Welfare reform's time limits have gotten their share of public attention,
but many advocates and community workers say that sanctions have a bigger
impact on welfare leavers. This October 2001 Resources for Welfare Decisions
from the Welfare Information Network lists contacts and reports, and provides
updated information about recent state choices regarding their sanction
policies and practices, including steps to follow up with sanctioned families
and to ensure that procedures are fair.

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

**More Research Needed on Family Caps and Other Policies

Work has been the emphasis of welfare reform implementation so far,
but the 1996 legislation's provisions regarding reducing out-of-wedlock
births are gaining more attention as the reauthorization debate begins.
In this report, the General Accounting Office says that due to limitations
of existing research, we cannot conclude that family cap policies reduce
the incidence of out-of-wedlock births, affect the number of abortions,
or change the size of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families caseload.

http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?gao-01-924


IMPROVING SCHOOLS

**Every Child Learning: Safe and Supportive Schools

If kids don't feel safe or secure, they cannot learn. The Learning
First Alliance of leading education organizations is encouraging states
and districts to create a welcoming atmosphere infused with high academic
and personal standards, establish standards to measure and evaluate school
safety, and involve parents and the community at-large in these efforts.
Hard copies available (800-933-2723, ext. 2).

http://www.learningfirst.org

**Smarter Testing ? New Guide for States

Major education groups issued this report so that the standards movement
in the states will be held accountable to high standards themselves. The
report identifies nine basic requirements for states, including prioritizing
standards and describing them clearly and thoroughly to support effective
instruction and assessment, ensuring that all students have the opportunity
to demonstrate their achievement with accommodations and alternate methods
available, and allowing test developers a minimum of three years to produce
statewide tests that satisfy Standards for Educational and Psychological
Testing and similar test-quality guidelines.

http://www.aasa.org/News_Room/2001/october/10-23-01_pr.htm

**Raising Minority Academic Achievement

This American Youth Policy Forum review of successful programs found
that minority children who attended early childhood development programs
were more likely to remain in school, complete more years of education,
and require less special education. The report recommends expanding early
childhood programs and providing continuous guidance and supports through
elementary, secondary and postsecondary education. http://www.aypf.org

**Practices and Conditions that Lead to a Sense of Community in Middle
Schools

This study suggests that parents' sense of community is strengthened
if the school conducts involvement activities?such as regular communications
that keep them informed of their children's progress?and provides frequent,
meaningful opportunities for parents to be involved. In addition, a school's
sense of community is strengthened if the principal leads the school with
strong administrative decision-making and technical skills.

http://www.principals.org/news/bltn_prac_cond1001.html

**Middle School Drug Prevention and School-Safety Coordinators

The U.S. Dept. of Education has awarded more than $28 million in federal
support to 74 school districts in 34 states to recruit, hire and train
middle school drug-prevention and school-safety coordinators. Coordinators
serve up to seven schools, work solely on coordination of drug prevention
or school safety programs, and must have a degree from an accredited four-year
institution of higher education, as well as an academic background or equivalent
work experience in a field related to youth development.

http://www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/SDFS

**Literacy and After School: A Perfect Fit

This Mott Foundation ?Making After School Count? issue takes a look
at several different after-school programs that are reaching out to English
language learners and kids with poor reading skills.

http://www.mott.org/publications/pdf/MAFC4-1.pdf


FOCUS ON THE STATES

**Stateline Reports on State Budget Crunch

The slowing U.S. economy is shrinking the budgets of at least 40 states,
and about two dozen of them have frozen spending or cut programs to plug
the gaps, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures and
data compiled by Stateline.org.
http://www1.stateline.org/story.do?storyId=203864

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

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

California

Santa Ana school officials hope to institutionalize an extra year of
kindergarten for students at risk of failing.

http://www.sacbee.com/news/calreport/data/N2001-10-22-0015-1.html

A new California Budget Project report, ?Losing Ground,? suggests that
a number of California families may have unnecessarily lost health coverage
when they left the welfare rolls.

http://www.cbp.org/reports/s0110med.html

Iowa

A proposed cut in Iowa state aid this year will hurt programs for troubled
youngsters, a group of nonprofit organizations warns.

http://www.dmregister.com/news/stories/c4789010/16207605.html

Florida

Child advocates say the state is facing severe budget cuts that will
affect programs and services for children.

http://www.floridakids.com/campaign/index.html

The Miami-based Early Childhood Initiative and the United Way launched
the "Teach More/Love More" campaign in Miami-Dade County last month to
help parents prepare their children to enter school ready to succeed.

http://www.teachmorelovemore.org

Louisiana

A housing rehabilitation project will bring some 82 families closer
to the dream of affordable housing in Baton Rouge's Melrose East neighborhood,
reports the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, which helps resident-led,
community-based development organizations transform distressed communities
and neighborhoods into healthy ones.

http://www.liscnet.org/whatsnew/press/releases/2001.10.12.1.shtml

Pennsylvania

A new report from Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. highlights operational
lessons from Community Solutions, a Pennsylvania initiative to provide
job placement and employment retention services to welfare participants.

http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/PDFs/redirect.asp?strSite=commsolisbr.pdf

Maine

The Maine Legislature set aside $30 million last June to begin funding
a program to provide laptop computers for every seventh and eighth grader,
but the funds may be reallocated due to a souring economy.

http://www1.stateline.org/story.do?storyId=204298

Michigan

The Michigan Kids Count 2001 Data Book has good news--half of the eighteen
measures reviewed showed progress, with the biggest improvement over the
decade in education.   However, significant gaps persisted between
minority and non-minority children on measures of child well being.
http://www.milhs.org

New York

"Policies Affecting New York City's Low-Income Families" from the National
Center for Children in Poverty offers an analysis of, and recommendations
for, New York City's programs for the poor. http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/dept/nccp/policiesNYC.html

South Carolina

The Education Commission of the States reports that Governor Jim Hodges
has declared workforce education a priority for South Carolina and has
endorsed a series of nine recommendations released by his Workforce Education
Task Force.

http://www.ecs.org/html/newsMedia/e-Connection.asp#ws

Washington

The Seattle Times praises Seattle's latest plan for bringing its 47,000
students up to standard: free rent for before- and after-school programs
that align their activities with school curricula.

http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis/web/vortex/display?slug=daycareed17&date=20010917

Stay in touch, everyone!

Jan Richter, Policy and Outreach Specialist, and the Connect for Kids
team

Jan@benton.org