CFK Weekly: December 12, 2007


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Bringing you the
most up-to-date and relevant news, research and policy developments affecting children,
youth and families.

December 12,

In This Issue
Care Resources
Justice Tools
and Health Care
and Nutrition
for Kids and Families
for Your Work
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This week, CFK and Child Advocacy 360 bring you a
new column about the real math of child poverty, and
what that means for communicators.

Speaking of math, the latest government numbers are
in on high school dropout rates, which have remained
stable between school years 2002-03 and 2004-05.

The big news on the health front is that, unfortunately,
teen birth rates are inching upward (by 3 percent) for
the first time in 14 years. Also, as Congress wraps
up its session, the State Children's Health Insurance
Program (SCHIP) may get a one-year extension with an
increase in funds.

Check out the foster care resources, tools for your
work and the round-up of new national campaigns with
a child and family focus.

The Weekly will be on holiday break next week through
the new year. We'll return in full on January 9.

Happy and safe holidays, everyone!
Caitlin Johnson

read PDF files, download the free Adobe


Real Math of Child Poverty In America
In this column, Child Advocacy360 publisher and CFK Editor-at-Large
Hershel Sarbin looks at the numbers that grab attention
-- and where the stories of good news and engagement can
be found.
I was somewhat surprised
when I recently came across the following paragraph
on the Voices for America's Children Website: "As
a society we pay a steep price for allowing one in five
of our nation's children to live in poverty..."

Spirituality and Youth Work: Claiming the Territory

In her December Youth
column, Karen Pittman examines the connections
between two seemingly divergent articles -- and offers
this recommendation to the youth development field:

"Seize the day. Let's
claim powerful words like 'creativity' and 'spirituality'
and make them our own. Let's define them in ways
that reflect and respect diversity and capture the essence
of what makes us human: the desire to find the spark,
the spirit, the connection to something bigger than
ourselves or something deep within ourselves. Let's
acknowledge the central role that youth workers can
play and are playing to help young people find themselves."

Care Resources

save dateSupporting
Kinship Families: What State Policymakers Can Do (December

This National Governors Association webcast will bring
together experts to discuss the benefits of kinship care
and how states are supporting kinship families. The webcast
will also give participants the opportunity to hear directly
from a caregiver.

Welfare and Child Well-Being: Bridging Research, Policy
and Practice

If you missed this recent Chapin Hall panel, you can access
the audio and PowerPoint online. The event brought together
a panel of experts and the authors of a new book -- Child
Protection: Using Research to Improve Policy and Practice
to discuss how research can shape effective
policies and programs. It centered on two themes: interventions
for vulnerable infants and young children, and evidence-based
parenting programs for families in the child welfare system.

of Intensive Family Preservation Services
NFPN logo
Are Intensive Family Preservation and Reunification Services
effective in strengthening families and keeping children
in the home when safe and appropriate? A new National
Family Preservation Network report finds substantial progress
on several domains of family functioning, including the
families' environment, parental capabilities, family
interactions, family safety and child well-being. It also
looks at race (disproportionality), substance abuse, type
of referring problem (abuse vs. neglect), differences
between intact and reunifying families, and follow-up

Justice Tools

Casey publicationBeyond
Detention: System Transformation Through
Detention Reform

The latest edition of the Casey Foundation's Juvenile
Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) Pathways series
documents the ways in which detention reforms in general
-- and JDAI's comprehensive reform model in particular
-- stimulate and support a broad array of other juvenile
justice system improvements.

Safe Schools Partnerships: Spotlight on Juvenile Justice

The federal Safe Schools/Healthy Students program has
a resource guide outlining how juvenile justice can work
in effective partnership with school and other partners
to support youth. (It's the fourth bullet at the top
of the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and
Youth Violence Prevention Resource Page; you'll find
other great tools here as well.)

and Health Care

Birth Rate Rises for First Time in 14 Years

The teen birth rate in the United States rose in 2006
for the first time since 1991, and unmarried childbearing
also rose significantly, according to preliminary birth
statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The rate rose from 40.5 births per 1,000 females aged
15 to 19 in 2005 to 41.9 births per 1,000 in 2006 -- a
3 percent increase.

Extension May be Proposed This Week

Since Congress could not agree on comprehensive legislation
to renew the successful bipartisan State Children's
Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Democrats are poised
to propose a one-year extension that includes $800 million
in additional funds to maintain 2008 projected enrollment
levels and help states facing budgetary shortfalls avoid
making program cuts, as the Kaiser Network reports.

08: Newspapers Examine Presidential Candidates' Health
Care Proposals

Also from Kaiser, summaries and links to recent articles
examining the presidential candidates' health care

and Nutrition

Food Stamps Reaching Those in Need? State Participation

Food Stamps, the largest federal nutrition assistance
program, served 26 million people in an average month
in fiscal year 2007. This policy brief from Mathematica
Policy Research, Inc., looks at participation in 2005
and found that about 65 percent of eligible people in
the United States received food stamp benefits. Only 57
percent of the eligible working poor participated in the
program. Rates varied widely from state to state for both


Here's a potential tool in the fight against obesity
-- a free database for mobile phones that offers calorie
and nutritional information on more than 50,000 fast food
items (there's a Web
too). Please check with your mobile phone
service provider to be sure fees will not apply.

Childhood Obesity Resource Toolkit

Connect for Kids offers a comprehensive collection of
resources to help Americans understand and take action
on this tough issue.

grad rates

and Rates of Public High School Dropouts: School Year

The National Center for Education Statistics does the
math on public school students who dropped out in school
years 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05, using data from the
CCD State-Level Public Use Data File on Public School
Dropouts for these years. The report includes high school
dropout rates by state, region, school district size and
several student characteristics.

Reveal Online Learning's Successes, Needs

Online learning continues to grow at a rapid pace, with
30 states -- six more than last year -- now offering state-led
programs or initiatives, according to the latest report
from the North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL).
But the group warns in this Eschool
article that more oversight of online learning
programs is needed to ensure growth and equal accessibility.

for Kids and Families

Campaign: America Forward

December 11 marked the official launch of America Forward,
a coalition of more than 60 organizations involved in
health, education, poverty and economic mobility, workforce
and other issues. Its aim is "to introduce the presidential
campaigns to the work of social entrepreneurs and encourage
them to ... support policies that encourage new approaches
to difficult social problems," writes the Chronicle
of Philanthropy.

Visit the America Forward Website:

& Community Policy Roundup: Progress on Infant-Toddler
Issues Across the Country

Every six months, ZERO TO THREE provides a synopsis of
innovative policy activities that support the healthy
development of infants, toddlers and their families. The
December 2007 edition covers everything from early learning
guidelines and quality rating systems to the unionization
of home-based child care providers and increases in state
funding for infant-toddler services.

on Poverty

We thought a gentle reminder of this great new site might
be in order. As we head into the 2008 election, 36 million
Americans live in poverty, earning less than $20,650 for
a family of four in 2007. Another one in six Americans
struggle to make ends meet. This nonpartisan effort aims
to turn poverty and hunger into key campaign issues and
promote effective action in 2008 and beyond.

for Your Work
action alert

Policy Communications - Tutorial

Looking to effectively communicate with the media? Check
out this narrated slide tutorial from the Kaiser Family
Foundation. It offers information and suggestions for
framing key messages for print, broadcast and radio settings
as well as policy audiences. (It's the Featured Tutorial.)

for Good - Fundraising and Communications Help

How to Tell Your Story, 5 Elements of a Good Story, Search
Engine Marketing 101 -- just a few of the free resources
for nonprofits on this site.

and the Budget: Opportunities for Action

Decisions made by the federal government have a direct
impact on how services are provided to infants, toddlers
and their families in local communities. The next federal
budget process begins in January. This ZERO TO THREE Policy
Network advocacy tool can help concerned adults understand
the budget process and seize opportunities for action.

Finance ProjectYouth
Programs Resource Center and Clearinghouse

To help smaller youth programs, the Finance Project and
its partners (including the Forum for Youth Investment)
have created a clearninghouse of information and resources
related to supporting and sustaining youth programs, initiatives
and policies. Here, you'll find data, tools, financing
and funding strategies, policy guides and technical assistance.


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