Subject: Studies in the News 06-15 (April 13, 2006)

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Studies in the News for
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Children and Families Commission

Contents This Week

Introductory Material ECONOMY
   Preschool more expensive than university
   Expenditures and better child outcomes
   Multi-state study of pre-kindergarten
   Sign language and young children
   Early Head Start program data
   Alignment of pre-K and kindergarten
   PK-3 education programs that work
   Preschool search harder for immigrants
   Immigrant families and early education
   State preschool initiatives
   Children's environmental health
   Synthetic chemicals and children's health
   Forum on childhood obesity
   Childhood obesity special issue
   Nutrition and obesity videos (Spanish)
   Nutrition and obesity videos
   Health care and uninsured children
   Child Well-Being Index
   Simple checklists improve child protection
   Overweight, heart disease and diabetes
   Children and drinking water fluoride
   Television and overweight preschoolers
Introduction to Studies in the News

Studies in the News: Children and Family Supplement is a service provided to the First 5 California by the California State Library. The service features weekly lists of current articles focusing on Children and Family policy. Prior lists can be viewed from the California State Library's Web site at

How to Obtain Materials Listed in SITN:

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

  • California State Employees may contact the State Information & Reference Center (916-654-0206; with the SITN issue number and the item number [S#].

  • All other interested individuals should contact their local library - the items may be available there, or may be borrowed by your local library on your behalf.

The following studies are currently on hand:



Paying the Price for the High Cost of Preschool in California. By Brian Lee. (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, Oakland, California) 2006. 16 p.

Full Text at:

["Quality preschool programs lay the foundation for children’s success, providing critical academic and social skills. These benefits extend well beyond preparing young children for kindergarten. They help children succeed in school and in life and prevent future crime and violence. However, faced with the high costs of paying for preschool on their own, too few California families can afford to enroll their children in quality preschool programs.... Part-time private preschool is more expensive than attending a California State University. A private, part-time, center-based program for a preschool-age child costs families an average of $4,022 per year. This average includes both preschool and child care programs of varying quality. Sending a child to a part-time private preschool costs more than the full-time cost of a California State University (CSU). CSU tuition for full-time students in 2005-2006 averages $3,164—less than the average cost of part-time private preschool and child care in every California county. Many families pay far more."]

[Request #S61501]

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Are Public Expenditures Associated with Better Child Outcomes in the U.S.? A Comparison across 50 States. By Kristen Harknett, University of Pennsylvania, and others. IN: Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, vol. 5, no. 1 (December 2005) pp. 103-125.

Full Text at:

["Our article utilizes variation across the 50 U.S. states to examine the relationship between public expenditures on children and child outcomes. We find that public expenditures on children are related to better child outcomes across a wide range of indicators including measures of child mortality, elementary school test scores, and adolescent behavioral outcomes. States that spend more on children have better child outcomes even after taking into account a number of potential confounding influences. Our results are robust to numerous variations in model specifications and to the inclusion of proxies for unobserved characteristics of states. Our sensitivity analyses suggest that the results we present may be conservative, yet our findings reveal a strong relationship between state generosity toward children and children's well-being."]

[Request #S61502]

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A Portrait of Pre-kindergarten. By the FPG Child Development Institute. FPG Snapshot no. 28. (The Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.) February 28, 2006. 2 p.

Full Text at:

["The Multi-State Study of Pre-kindergarten by the National Center for Early Development & Learning (NCEDL) offers a first glance at pre-K children, teachers, and classroom quality in six states. This Snapshot overviews three recent articles co-authored by FPG scientists that summarize findings of the study. These findings fill an information gap about pre-K and serve as an information base for states and education agencies starting or expanding services for young children and their families."]

[Request #S61503]

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Sign to Learn: American Sign Language in the Early Childhood Classroom. By Kirsten Dennis and Tressa Azpiri. (Redleaf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota) 2005. 194 p.

["Everyone is talking about signing with young children. Whether as a form of early communication for infants and toddlers or a transitioning tool for children just beginning to speak, the benefits of signing with hearing children are endless. Sign to Learn is the first complete introduction to appropriate sign language curriculum for hearing preschoolers. In this unique resource, you will learn how to integrate American Sign Language (ASL) into your classroom to enhance the academic, social, and emotional development of children, as well as to respectfully introduce children to Deaf culture.... Sign to Learn also contains strategies for using sign language with children with special needs and in multilingual classrooms and describes how ASL can assist you in developing a literacy program and in managing your classroom." NOTE: Sign to Learn... is available for loan.]

[Request #S61504]

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From the Beginning: Early Head Start Children, Families, Staff, and Programs in 2004. By Katie Hamm and Danielle Ewen. Head Start Series. CLASP Policy Brief No. 7. (Center for Law and Social Policy, Washington, DC) March 2006. 8 p.

Full Text at:

["The federal Early Head Start program connects pregnant women, low-income children under age 3, and their families with comprehensive early education and support services. This 8-page brief from the Center for Law and Social Policy looks at 2004 program data on Early Head Start – and reports that the program gave more children access to a continuous source of dental care. The proportion of home visitors and teachers with degrees also increased, although teacher salaries remained stagnant." Connect for Kids (March 27, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S61505]

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Ladders of Learning: Fighting Fade-Out by Advancing PK-3 Alignment. By Kristie Kauerz. Issue Brief #2. (New America Foundation, Washington, DC) January 2006. 11 p.

Full Text at:

["In this paper, Kristie Kauerz outlines the importance of having strong, well-aligned programs beginning in Pre-K and extending through third grade (PK-3). It reviews the short-term impact of Pre-K and full day kindergarten programs, then summarizes the evidence that these impacts may 'fade out' by the primary grades. To fight fade-out, PK-3 alignment is proffered as one means to enable children to maintain and expand upon the gains they make in early childhood education. PK-3 suggests that Pre-K experiences should be aligned with kindergarten and that kindergarten should be aligned with early elementary education. The paper closes with federal policy recommendations that provide both models and incentives for the nation, states, and local school districts to institute and strengthen PK-3 alignment." Early Education in the News (April 1, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S61506]

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PK-3 Education: Programs and Practices that Work in Children’s First Decade. By Arthur Reynolds, University of Minnesota, and others. FCD Working Paper: Advancing PK-3 no. 6. (Foundation for Child Development, New York, New York) January 2006. 28 p.

Full Text at:

["Here’s another study that demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of quality early learning programs. This one uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort of 1998-99 and finds that kids who attended programs with pre-kindergarten through 3 components do better in later school years than their peers who did not. The study authors say there’s now a critical mass of evidence in support of PK-3. The final section offers specific policy recommendations." Connect for Kids (April 10, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S61507]

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"Finding Preschool in the U.S.: Immigrant Families Face Many Barriers to Enrolling their Children in Educational Programs." By Cecelia Leong. IN: Children's Advocate (March-April 2006.)

["Even putting aside the difficult issue of legal status, immigrant families face some particular barriers to finding good early-education opportunities for their youngsters. This report looks at the situation in California." (Connect for Kids (April 3, 2006) 1.]

In English: 2 p.

En Español: 2 p. "Encontrando Preescolar en Estados Unidos: Familias Inmigrantes Enfrentan Varias Barreras para Inscribir a Sus Niños en Programas Educativos."

In Chinese: 3 p.

[Request #S61508]

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Breaking Down Barriers: The CLASP Immigrant Families and Early Education Project, Project Overview and Preliminary Impressions from Site Visits. By the Center for Law and Social Policy. (The Center, Washington, DC) March 2006. 21 p.

Full Text at:

["The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) is examining the barriers to early education for immigrant families through a new project. The project's goals include gathering information about the barriers immigrant families with children face in accessing early education services, informing policymakers about these barriers as well as about practices and policies to address them, and promoting high-quality, inclusive early education for such children. CLASP released a PowerPoint presentation about the project and preliminary impressions from site visits." Early Education in the News (April 10, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S61509]

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The State of Preschool: 2005 State Preschool Yearbook. By W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., and others. (National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey) 2005. 228 p.

Full Text at:

["The latest picture of state preschool initiatives finds that across the country, average enrollment rose between 2002 and 2005, but per-pupil state spending dropped in 11 states. That’s according to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) Yearbook, which ranks state pre-K programs according to access, quality and money allocated. State preschool programs are a growing movement—but progress and quality is uneven. Arkansas was the only state to meet all 10 of NIEER's quality benchmarks; programs in Alabama, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Tennessee met nine of the 10 benchmarks; 21 state initiatives met five or fewer benchmarks." Connect for Kids (March 27, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S61510]

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"Integrated Assessment of Environment and Health: America’s Children and the Environment." By Amy D. Kyle, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, and others. IN: Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 114, no. 3 (March 2006) pp. 447-452.

Full Text at:

["The significance of environmental factors to health and well-being is increasingly apparent. Environmental factors that affect children may differ from those most relevant to adults because children can be both more vulnerable and more highly exposed than adults. The article reports on the framework and methods used to develop this first integrated assessment of environment and health for children in the United States." MCH Alert (March 17, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S61511]

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"Hundreds of Man-made Chemicals Are Interfering with Our Hormones and Threatening Our Children's Future: A Special Report." By Gay Daly. IN: OnEarth Magazine, vol. 27, no. 4 (Winter 2006) pp. 20-27.

Full Text at:

["You may never have heard of endocrine disruptors. After you read this article, you will never forget them. A story about the most underreported threat to our health, fertility, and intelligence."]

[Request #S61512]

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Childhood Obesity: Transcript of Forum. By Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution, and others. (Miller Reporting Co. Inc., Washington, DC) March 14, 2006. 59 p.

Full Text at:

["The Spring 2006 issue of The Future of Children, titled Childhood Obesity, lays out the evidence related to the multiple causes, consequences, and methods of dealing with childhood obesity.... A forum to examine federal, state, and local initiatives, particularly in public schools, designed to address childhood obesity, was held in conjunction with the journal's release." MCH Alert (March 17, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S61420]

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"Childhood Obesity: [Issue Theme.]" The Future of Children, vol. 16, no. 1 (Spring 2006)

["This issue of The Future of Children lays out the evidence on the multiple causes, consequences, and methods of dealing with childhood obesity. Now is an opportune time to assess what is and is not known. Many policymakers, having become convinced that childhood obesity is indeed a problem, are searching for effective ways to combat it.... But while the policymakers' desire to reduce obesity is clear, state and federal budgets are stretched thin. It is crucial to develop programs and policies that are effective and can be implemented at reasonable cost."]

Executive Summary: 2 p.

Full Issue: 227 p.,_Number_1_Spring_2006.pdf

[Request #S61421]

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Nutrición Infantil: Cómo Prevenir la Obesidad. Videorecording. (InJoy Videos, Longmont, Colorado) 3 videocassettes, Facilitator's and Teacher's guides.

[Spanish language version of Childhood Nutrition: Preventing Obesity. Volume 1: La Alimentación del Bebé (Del Nacimiento al 1er Año); Volume 2: La Buena Alimentación de los Niños de 1 a 6 Años; Volume 3: Hábitos Saludables Para Niños. NOTE: Nutrición Infantil (video set)... is available for loan.]

[Request #S61514]

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Childhood Nutrition: Preventing Obesity. Videorecording. (InJoy Videos, Longmont, Colorado) 2005. 3 videocassettes, Facilitator's and Teacher's guides.

["Did you know that the number of overweight children in our country has tripled in the last two decades? Obesity puts our kids at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, early heart disease and low self-esteem. But how can parents combat fast food and couch potato lifestyles?... With smart strategies and straight talk, parents learn effective ways to develop healthy eating and exercise habits for the whole family, so kids can feel their best - from the inside out. Volume 1: Feeding Your Baby (Birth to 1); Volume 2: Young Children Eating Right (Ages 1 to 6); Volume 3: Healthy Habits for Kids (Ages 7 to 12)" NOTE: Childhood Nutrition (video set)... is available for loan.]

[Request #S61515]

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"Dimensions of the Local Health Care Environment and Use of Care by Uninsured Children in Rural and Urban Areas." By Carole Roan Gresenz, PhD, Rand Corporation, Arlington, Virginia, and others. IN: Pediatrics, vol. 117, no. 3 (March 2006) pp. e509-e517.

Full Text at:

["Despite concerted policy efforts, a sizeable percentage of children lack health insurance coverage. In this article, researchers examine the impact of the health care safety net and health care market structure on the use of health care by uninsured children." RAND Child Policy Update (March 2006) 1.]

[Request #S61517]

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The Foundation for Child Development Child and Youth Well-Being Index (CWI), 1975-2004, with Projections for 2005. By Kenneth C. Land, Duke University. (Foundation for Child Development, New York, New York) March 2006.

Full Text at:

["According to the 2006 Child Well-Being Index (CWI), one of the nation’s most comprehensive measurements of trends in the quality of life of children and youth, America has made great strides since 1975 in the well-being of children in many important areas but one: Education. The CWI suggests several leading indicators that may predict higher academic performance among American students. For instance, this year’s CWI shows that an increase in nine year-olds’ math and reading performance, as measured by the National Assessment of Education Progress (or NAEP, 'the nation’s report card'), corresponds with the dramatic expansion of Prekindergarten (Pre-K) since the mid-90s, according to Dr. Kenneth Land, developer of the CWI and a sociologist at Duke University."]

Policy Brief: 12 p.

Full Report: 24 p.

[Request #S61518]

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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.]



"Improving Child Protection: A Systematic Review of Training and Procedural Interventions." By Yvonne H. Carter and others. IN: Archives of Disease in Childhood, Accepted manuscript published ahead of print. (March 23, 2006) Online.

["Simple checklists and structured forms could help healthcare professionals pick up child abuse more effectively, suggests research published ahead of print in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.... The authors evaluated 21 research papers on child protection training for healthcare professionals and the procedures for managing cases of abuse, published between 1994 and 2005. From the evidence presented, the authors conclude that structured forms and checklists help healthcare professionals to record child protection issues more effectively and help raise awareness." EurekAlert! (March 22, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S61513]

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Evidence for Identifying Children at Risk for Being Overweight, Cardiovascular Disease, and Type 2 Diabetes in Primary Care. By Ruth McGillis Bindler and Margaret Auld Bruya. IN: Journal of Pediatric Health Care, vol. 20, no. 2 (March 2006) pp. 82-87.

["The March-April 2006 issue of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care includes an article on evidence for identifying in primary care children at risk for overweight and having cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Recommendations are provided to help nurses identify children who need intervention to prevent them from becoming overweight or treatment for overweight and for diseases related to overweight." MCH Alert (March 17, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S61516]

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Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA's Standards. By the Committee on Fluoride in Drinking Water, National Research Council. (National Academies Press, Washington, DC) 2006. 576 p.

["The dental and health effects of fluoride in drinking water have long been controversial. Now, a National Research Council report finds that kids exposed to fluoride levels of 4 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water – the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum allowable concentration — risk developing severe tooth enamel fluorosis. These levels may occur naturally or as a result of pollution. Over a lifetime, exposure to these levels may increase the risk of bone fractures. (The report does not examine artificially fluoridated water, which contains much less fluoride.)" Connect for Kids (March 27, 2006) 1.]

Report in Brief: 4 p.

[Request #S61519]

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"Television Exposure and Overweight Risk in Preschoolers." By Julie C. Lumeng, MD, and others. IN: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, vol. 160, no. 4 (April 2006) pp. 417-422.

["In a national study of more than one thousand preschool-age children, those who were exposed to more than two hours of television per day were more likely to be overweight at ages 36 and 54 months than those who were exposed to less than two hours of television per day, according to a study in the April issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, a theme issue on children and the media. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children aged 2 years and older be limited to less than two hours of total media time per day, according to background information in the article. Studies have linked excessive television viewing to a variety of problems, including risk of being overweight. However, most research has focused on school-aged rather than preschool-aged children. Julie C. Lumeng, M.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and colleagues studied 1,016 children from 10 urban and rural areas of the United States. The families were recruited shortly after the birth of a child... " EurekAlert! (April 3, 2006) 1.]

[Request #S61520]

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