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Children and Youth

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The well-being of children and youth is a central Urban Institute research topic. Our work spans child development at the youngest ages to teenagers transitioning into adulthood. We study child care, the child welfare system, juvenile justice, child poverty, and children's health and education. Read more.

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Promise Neighborhoods Frequently Asked Questions (Document)
Urban Institute

To provide technical assistance to Promise Neighborhood grantees in developing case management systems, collecting consistent and uniform GPRA indicators, and meeting reporting requirements, the Urban Institute released the Guidance Document in February 2013. Since its release, implementation grantees have asked Urban Institute for additional guidance on collecting GPRA indicators and other activities related to Promise Neighborhoods data collection and reporting. This Promise Neighborhoods Frequently Asked Questions document compiles questions and technical assistance requests that Urban Institute has received since the release of the Guidance Document.

Posted to Web: June 30, 2014Publication Date: June 17, 2014

From Cradle to Career: The Multiple Challenges Facing Immigrant Families in Langley Park Promise Neighborhood (Research Report)
Molly M. Scott, Graham MacDonald, Juan Collazos, Ben Levinger, Eliza Leighton, Jamila Ball

With estimates predicting that immigrants and their children will account for most of U.S. population growth over the next 4 decades, it is critical to understand how to build ladders of opportunity for these families. This report is a complete assessment of the needs of Langley Park, an immigrant neighborhood outside Washington, DC. Langley Park families are resilient but experience substantial hardships that may stall the progress of subsequent generations. At six crucial life transitions, children lag behind on indicators of future success. Fortunately, the data pinpoint not only the gaps, but also opportunities for change.

Posted to Web: June 23, 2014Publication Date: June 23, 2014

Limited Evidence That Competitive Food and Beverage Practices Affect Adolescent Consumption Behaviors (Article)
Tracy Vericker

Childhood obesity is emerging as a considerable public health problem with no clear antidote. The school food environment is a potential intervention point for policy makers, with competitive food and beverage regulation as a possible policy lever. This research examines the link between competitive food and beverage availability in school and adolescent consumption patterns using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999. Results from value-added multivariate regression models reveal limited evidence that competitive food policy affects fruit and vegetable consumption. Findings suggest a stronger link between competitive beverage policy and consumption of sweetened beverages for population subgroups.

Posted to Web: May 02, 2014Publication Date: April 02, 2014

Making Sense of Childhood Asthma: Lessons for Building a Better System of Care (Research Report)
Marla McDaniel, Susan J. Popkin, Judy Berman, Paola Barahona, Priya Saxena, Deborah Quint, Stephen J. Teach

This report highlights findings from a qualitative study about asthma care for low-income African American and Latino children ages 4-14 in Washington, DC, where nearly one in five children under age 18 has the condition. We interviewed medical providers, health administrators, policy makers and caregivers whose children had visited the IMPACT DC clinic (located in the emergency department of Children’s National Health System) about the primary barriers, challenges, and opportunities for improving asthma treatment in DC. The stakeholders each felt their school, clinic, agency, or department had a role to play in improving asthma care, and that many challenges were system-related. Three major areas where caregivers and stakeholders described system breakdowns were poor communication among caregivers, providers, and other stakeholders; inadequate access to both the quality and quantity of care needed to manage a child's asthma; and scarce long-term support to address both the social-emotional and financial burdens created by managing a chronic childhood illness.

Posted to Web: April 16, 2014Publication Date: April 16, 2014

Children's School-Related Food and Physical Activity Behaviors Are Associated with Body Mass Index (Article)
Tracy Vericker

Childhood obesity is a critical public health issue, with prevalence rates reaching nearly one in five children. Schools may be a promising public policy intervention point. The foods schools sell and the physical activity environments they foster can influence dietary behaviors and overall physical activity. Using secondary data from a nationally representative sample of children from the kindergarten class of 1998-1999 and nonexperimental methods, this study examines the associations between the food and physical activity environments in school and body mass index (BMI) for low-income boys and girls in the 8th grade during 2007. Results reveal that participating in school sports is associated with a 0.55 lower BMI score for boys. For low-income girls, eating the school breakfast is associated with a 0.70 higher BMI score and eating the school lunch is associated with a 0.65 higher BMI score. Each hour spent on homework is associated with a 0.02 higher BMI score for low-income girls. These findings suggest that schools may influence adolescent BMI and that there is room for improvement in school food and physical activity environments to promote healthier weights for low-income boys and girls.

Posted to Web: April 14, 2014Publication Date: October 28, 2013

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