Research focused on Children & Youth related issues and programs from around the countryFunding Cuts Threaten Care for Young Children in Texas: Texas’ early childhood intervention system has not kept pace with other states in the share of young children it serves. And with state policy changes and possible federal proposals, the program could find it more difficult to meet the needs of young children with disabilities and delays who need these critical services. State cuts to funding and eligibility of the state’s IDEA Part C program, called Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) in Texas, led to a clear decline in the percentage of children served by ECI, according to a new report by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families,
New Survey on Medicaid and CHIP Eligibility Released: This 15th annual 50-state survey provides data on Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) eligibility, enrollment, renewal and cost sharing policies as of January 2017, and identifies changes in these policies in the past year. As discussion of repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), broader changes to Medicaid, and reauthorization of CHIP unfolds, this report documents the role Medicaid and CHIP play for low-income children and families and the evolution of these programs under the ACA. The findings offer an in-depth profile of eligibility, enrollment, renewal, and cost sharing policies in each state as of January 2017, providing a baseline against which future policy changes may be measured.
Quarter of Americans Volunteered in 2015, Survey Finds: Approximately a quarter of all Americans volunteered through an organization in 2015, while nearly two-thirds helped their neighbors in some manner, an annual report from the Corporation for National and Community Service finds. According to the report, Volunteering and Civic Life in America, 62.6 million adults (24.9%) volunteered in 2015, providing nearly 7.8 billion hours of service valued at $184 billion (based on Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour). In addition, more than 138 million Americans (62.5%) engaged in an informal volunteering activity such as watching a neighbor’s children, helping an elderly person with shopping, or house sitting.
Homelessness in Minnesota Fell for First Time Since 2006: Following a 32% increase between 2006 and 2012, the number of homeless people in Minnesota fell 9% between 2012 and 2015, a report from Wilder Research finds. According to Homelessness in Minnesota: Findings From the 2015 Minnesota Homeless Study a survey conducted on a single day in October 2015 counted 9,312 homeless adults, youth, and children in the state — 35% of whom were children with parents and 16% of whom were minors and young adults on their own. African Americans (39%) and Native Americans (8%) accounted for a disproportionate share of the homeless population while accounting for just 5% and 1% of the state’s adult population. The report also found that while adults age 55 and older are the demographic group least likely to be homeless, the number of homeless in that group statewide increased 8% between 2012 and 2015, and jumped 21% in the Twin Cities metro area.
Healthcare Spending for the Privately Insured Rose 4.6%:
Growth in U.S. healthcare spending for the privately insured accelerated in 2015, due primarily to price increases, a report from the Health Care Cost Institute finds. Based on 2012-15 claims data from four national insurance companies, the report, 2015 Health Care Cost and Utilization Report, found that per capita healthcare spending for Americans under the age of 65 with employer-sponsored insurance in 2015 was $5,141, a year-over-year increase of 4.6%, and a jump from the 2.6% increase in 2014 and a 3% increase in 2013. The report also found that prices for outpatient, inpatient, and professional services as well as prescription drugs increased between 3.5% and 9.0% in 2015 and were the largest driver of spending growth over the four-year period, while the price of an emergency room visit rose 10.5%.
Grantmaking for HIV/AIDS Totaled $663 Million: Philanthropic support for HIV/AIDS initiatives in low- and middle-income countries totaled $663 million in 2015, up 10% from 2014, a report from Funders Concerned About AIDS finds. According to the report, Philanthropic Support to Address HIV/AIDS in 2015, funding for HIV/AIDS initiatives in 2015 returned to pre-recession levels — following declines in 2009, 2010, and 2013. Driving the growth in 2015 were significant increases among the top ten funders, including Gilead Sciences (up $50.8 million from 2014, to $124.2 million), ViiV Healthcare (up $13.2 million, to $29.1 million), the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (up $10 million, to $21 million), Johnson & Johnson (up $7.9 million, to $15.9 million), and the M.A.C AIDS Fund (up $4.5 million, to 44.9 million). Those increases were partly offset, however, by decreases in funding from other organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (down $26 million, to $197 million).
$10 Million Project to Study Basic Income Programs: The Economic Security Project, a coalition of more than a hundred tech entrepreneurs, investors, and activists, has announced a two-year, $10 million project to explore how a universal “basic income” (UBI) could provide economic opportunity for all. ESP signatories who have committed to think seriously about how recurring, unconditional cash stipends could work, how to pay for them, and what the political path might be to make them a reality. The Alaska Group American Center will work to fight cuts to the yearly dividends Alaskans receive from the state’s Permanent Fund and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network will study the feasibility of implementing carbon pricing at the municipal level to fund a basic income.
Social Contagion Helps Explain Chicago Gun Violence, Study Finds: Gun violence is transmitted by networks of socially connected individuals through a process of “social contagion,” a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds. Funded in part by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and based on an epidemiological analysis of 138,163 individuals in Chicago comprising pairs of individuals arrested together for the same offense, the study, Modeling Contagion Through Social Networks to Explain and Predict Gunshot Violence in Chicago, 2006 to 2014, found that when one co-offender becomes a victim of gun violence, the likelihood of the other co-offender being shot increases. Indeed, social influence of this sort was responsible for 63.1% of the 11,123 episodes of gun violence analyzed, leading to the shooting of 9,773 individuals, some more than once.
Seven in Ten Youth Doubt Trump’s Commitment to Democratic Principles: Seven in ten young adults question President-elect Donald J. Trump’s commitment to democratic principles and worry about how his presidency will affect their lives, a GenForward survey finds. Conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the survey of 1,823 Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 found that 76% of African Americans, 77% of Asian Americans, 76% of Latino/as, and 67% of white Americans believe Trump is unlikely to respect those he disagrees with, while 59%, 60%, 66%, and 54%, respectively, are concerned he will make it more difficult for Americans to protest. The survey also found that respondents of color were far more likely to say they will be worse off in four years — including 43% of African Americans (vs. 12% who expect to be better off), 44% of Asian Americans (vs. 16%), and 47% of Latino/as (vs. 18%) — while 35% of white respondents expect to be worse off, compared with 30% who expect to be better off.
Team-Based Approach Boosts Charitable Lending, Studies Find: Individuals who use online lending sites to help others provide significantly more money to borrowers when they are part of a team than when they are not, two studies led by economists and computer scientists at the U. of Michigan find. Based on two randomized field experiments with more than 60,000 members of Kiva, the online lending community, the studies found that team membership appears not merely to correlate with but to drive an increase in the number of loans made by users of the site. In one study, Kiva members who joined teams and have their stats posted on the Kiva leader-board — contributed about 1.2 loans, or at least $30, per month, more than non-team members. A second study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reported that Kiva members could be most effectively nudged to join a team by an email message that included three teams of interest and an explanation of why those teams were included.
Focus on Overhead Counterproductive for Effectiveness: Overhead cost ratios are a poor metric for assessing the effectiveness of charities, and donors’ focus on such costs often constrains organizational effectiveness, a study published in IZA World of Labor finds. The study, “Are Overhead Costs a Good Guide for Charitable Giving?” by Texas A&M University associate professor of economics Jonathan Meer, found that overhead ratios are an unreliable metric of a charity’s effectiveness, in that they depend on average, rather than marginal, expenses. The study also found that many programs require administrative support in order to function effectively, and that using donations to boost fundraising results and awareness can be an effective use of funds. At the same time, the study found that donors were strongly swayed by administrative costs and were less likely to give — and gave smaller amounts — to programs or charities with higher overhead cost ratios, even when those costs had no bearing on the quality or effectiveness of a program.
No Early Learning Overlap, HHS Finds: A recent analysis of federal programs conducted by the Departments of Education (DoEd) and Health and Human Services (HHS) make it clear that the investments in early learning are not meeting the needs of families across the nation and many eligible families are not receiving services. A joint review looked at all federal programs identified by GAO and concluded that only eight programs have the primary purpose of promoting early learning for children from birth to age six. Each program provides critical services for children and families, and they often work together to help meet the diverse needs of children from birth through age five. For example, programs such as Early Head Start and IDEA Part C serve children birth to age three, whereas Head Start, Preschool Development Grants, and IDEA Part B section 619 serve preschool-aged children. While some federal early learning programs serve a similar age span, they have different purposes and offer different services, such as child care and interventions for children with disabilities. Furthermore, half of these programs, including IDEA, the Bureau of Indian Education’s FACE and the Department of Defense Child Development Program, address the needs of distinct populations – children with special needs, Native American families and children of military parents, respectively.