Subject: Studies in the News 03-77 (November 18, 2003)

Studies in the News
Children and Family Supplement

Contents This Week

Introductory Material EDUCATION
   Income and child well-being
   Childhood health statistics
   Costs and preventable childhood illness
   Health care in commercial and Medicaid plans
   Instability of child care staff
   Welfare reform, work, and child care
   Child care and aggressive behavior
   Child care and Minnesota's economy
   Geographic shift by children's families
   Movement of low-income children
   Family structure and child well-being
   School readiness and Head Start
   Value in early childhood education
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News is a very current compilation of items significant to the Legislature and Governor's Office. It is created weekly by the State Library's Research Bureau to supplement the public policy debate in California’s Capitol. To help share the latest information with state policymakers, these reading lists are now being made accessible through the State Library’s website. This week's list of current articles in various public policy areas is presented below.

Service to State Employees:

  • When available, the URL for the full text of each item is provided.

  • Items in the State Library collection can be checked out to state officials and staff.

  • Access to all materials listed will be provided by the State Information Reference Center, either by e-mail to or by calling 654-0261.

The following studies are currently on hand:



Low Income and the Development of America's Kindergartners. By Elizabeth Gershoff, National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University. (The Center, New York, New York) November 2003. 10 p.

Full Text at:

["The more income a family has, the better the children do academically, socially, and physically. This report examines the well-being of children from across all incomes and race-ethnicity groups. The implications are important for the current Head Start debate."]

[Request #S9567]

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Summary Health Statistics For U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2000. By the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (The Center, Hyattsville, Maryland) October 2003. 57 p.

Full Text at:

["This report covers statistics for the noninstitutionalized population of children under 18 years of age. Some of the statistics in the report include: 1) Nine million U.S. children under 18 years of age (12%) have ever been diagnosed with asthma. 2) Children in poor and near poor families were more likely to be uninsured, to have unmet medical need, delayed health care due to cost, no usual place of health care, and high use of emergency room services than children in families that were not poor. 3) Almost 4 million children aged 2-17 years (6%) had unmet dental needs because their families could not afford dental care." CDF Child Health Information Project (November 7, 2003)1.]

[Request #S9568]

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Costs of Preventable Childhood Illness: The Price We Pay For Pollution. By Rachel Massey and Frank Ackerman, Tufts University. (Global Development and Environmental Institute, Medford, Massachusetts) September 2003. 40 p.

Full Text at:

["A growing body of scientific literature implicates toxic exposures in childhood illnesses and developmental disorders.... This report documents monetary costs associated with five major areas of health problems in children that have been linked to preventable environmental exposures: cancer, asthma, lead poisoning, neurobehavioral disorders, and birth defects.... Preventable childhood illnesses and disabilities attributable to environmental factors are associated with large monetary costs. Our estimate of direct and indirect costs ranges from $1.1 to $1.6 billion annually in Massachusetts."]

[Request #S9569]

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"Quality of Care for Children in Commercial and Medicaid Managed Care." By Joseph W. Thompson and others, University of Arkansas. IN: JAMA Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 290, no. 1, (September 17, 2003) pp. 1486 - 1493.

["Pregnant women and children enrolled in Medicaid managed care plans generally receive lower-quality care than those in private health plans, according to this study...The study found that through Medicaid managed care plans, pregnant women had fewer physician appointments and fewer children received all recommended immunizations...In addition, 69% of children covered by private plans were fully immunized by age two, and 53% received more than six physician visits by age 15 months. In comparison, 31% of Medicaid beneficiaries ages 15 months had received more than six check-ups, and 54% of children under age two were fully immunized." Kaiser Daily Reports (September 17, 2003).]

[Request #S9371]

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"Turnover Begets Turnover: An Examination of Job and Occupational Instability Among Child Care Center Staff." By Marcy Whitebook, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California at Berkeley, and Laura Sakai. IN: Early Childhood Research Quarterly, vol. 18 (2003) pp. 273–293.

Full Text at:

["Over half of child care center teaching staff and a third of directors interviewed in 1996 had left their centers by 2000. The demographic and professional profiles of those who left and stayed at their centers were similar. Among those who left, only half continued to work in child care. The study by reveals the links among the characteristics and stability of the teaching staff as a whole and the retention of highly trained teachers. It also underscores the multi-faceted benefits resulting from paying higher wages to all staff."]

[Request #S9570]

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Welfare Reform, Work, and Child Care: The Role of Informal Care in the Lives of Low-Income Women and Children. By Virginia W. Knox, MDRC, and others. Policy Brief. (MDRC, New York, New York) October 2003. 8 p.

Full Text at:

["Analyzing rich data from in-depth ethnographic interviews, researchers document the challenges that low-income families have ... to meet their child care needs.... The studies point to policy directions that can promote the well-being of children while helping vulnerable low-income parents sustain employment."]

[Request #S9571]

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"Does Time Spent in Child Care Make Kids More Aggressive?" By Jean Tepperman, Action Alliance for Children. IN: Children's Advocate (November/December 2003) p. 1.

Full Text at:

["There were news reports last summer that the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study of child care had found that preschoolers who spent more time in child care were often rated as aggressive or behavior problems by their teachers.... This article calls on child development professionals around California to get their reactions to the report."]

[Request #S9572]

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The Economic Impact of the Child Care Industry in Minnesota. By Saskia Traill and Jen Wohl, National Economic Development and Law Center. (The Center, Oakland, California) October 2003. 61 p.

Full Text at:

["NEDLC informs policy makers, the business community, and the child care industry of the economic value that child care brings to Minnesota by enabling businesses to recruit employees, decrease absenteeism and turnover, and increase productivity; ensuring a strong economy in the future by preparing children for academic success; and generating more than 28,000 jobs and $962 million in gross receipts annually. It provides recommendations for strengthening the child care industry to maximize the benefits to the Minnesota economy." NCCIC (November 2003).]

[Request #S9573]

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Where Do Children In Low-Income Families Live? By Heather Koball and Ayana Douglas-Hall, National Center for Children In Poverty, Columbia University. (The Center, New York, New York) November 2003. 8 p.

Full Text at:

["NCCP reports that 41 percent of children in low-income families now live in the South and 26 percent live in the West -- a geographic shift fueled by immigration and families seeking better jobs. In these regions, children in low-income families are more concentrated in rural areas; they are more likely to live in urban areas in the Midwest and Northeast. While poverty in suburban areas is growing, suburban children are substantially less likely to be poor than those in rural and urban areas." Connect for Kids (November 10, 2003).]

[Request #S9574]

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Geography of Low-Income Children and Families. By National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia University. (The Center, New York, New York) November 2003. 2 p.

Full Text at:

["Low-income families are moving to the South to follow jobs -- a sign of families' commitment to work, and the need for strong work supports, like an expanded federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), refundable state tax credits, and affordable child care. Restoring recent immigrants' access to income and work supports would decrease the vulnerability of their children and help these families become financially stable." Connect for Kids (November 10, 2003).]

[Request #S9575]

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Are Married Parents Really Better for Children? What Research Says About the Effects of Family Structure on Child Well-Being. By May Parke, Center for Law and Social Policy. (The Center, Washington, DC) 2003. 8 p.

Full Text at:

["This brief summarizes the research of the effects of family structure on child well-being, discusses some of the complexities of the research, and identifies issues that remain to be to be explored."]

[Request #S9576]

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[The following studies, reports, and documents have been ordered or requested, but have not yet arrived. Requests may be placed, and copies will be provided when the material arrives.]



"A Comparison of School Readiness Outcomes for Children Randomly Assigned to a Head Start Program and the Program's Waiting List." By Martha Abbott-Shim, Georgia State University, and others. IN: Journal of Education For Students Placed At Risk, vol. 8, no. 2 (April 2003) pp. 191-214.

["The results of this study, conducted with 4-year-olds and their parents from a high-quality southeastern Head Start program, include such school readiness outcomes as health, social skills, cognitive skills, and language skills." NIEER Online Newsletter (November 5, 2003).]

[Request #S9577]

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"Socioeconomic Status Modifies Heritability of IQ in Young Children." By Eric Turkheimer, University of Virginia, and others. IN: Psychological Science, vol. 14, no. 6 (November 2003)

["Genes do explain the vast majority of IQ differences among children in wealthier families, the new work shows. But environmental factors -- not genetic deficits -- explain IQ differences among poor minorities. The results suggest that early childhood assistance programs such as Head Start can help the poor and are worthy of public support.... When Turkheimer tested ... a population of poor and mostly black children, it become clear that, in fact, the influence of genes on IQ was significantly lower in conditions of poverty, where environmental deficits overwhelm genetic potential." Washington Post (September 2, 2003) A1.]

[Request #S9561]

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