Top 7 Reports from April 2012: Children and Families
The Federal food stamp program, known as SNAP, is proving to be one of the best aids to families in poverty as the level of struggling families climbs during difficult economic times. Poverty has increased substantially, from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 15.1 percent in 2010, resulting in more households qualifying for the program. And, the prolonged nature of the recession has led to record levels of long-term unemployment, extending the length of time that unemployed individuals have needed SNAP. A report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examines how effectively the SNAP program is working.
Funding for pre-K programs among the states has fallen by more than $700 per child nationwide over the past decade, according to a report by the National Institute for Early Childhood Education. The overall impact is keeping the quality of many states’ preschools low even as enrollment has grown. Some states have fared better than others, but five deserve special mention for cutting total state pre-K spending by 10 percent or more—Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
Just what happens after a family has lost its home through foreclosure? It’s not terrific for the kids, as a new report from First Focus and the Brookings Institution discovers. It finds that one-in-ten children has been or is at risk to be affected by foreclosures, that the rate approaches one-in-five in some states, and that the upheaval resulting from foreclosure can have harmful and lasting consequences on a child's development.
It’s no secret that the American Dream is growing more distance for many Americans. Community colleges can play a major role in making it happen, but it’s going to take a dramatic redesign of these vital institutions, their mission, and, most critically, their students’ educational experiences. A report by the American Association of Community Colleges explains how it can be done.
The fiscal stresses of the recent recession are expected to persist for years to come in many states. Some states are finding ways to sustain support for their citizens; some are making things worse. The National Center for Children in Poverty reviews the landscape, highlighting revenue- and spending-side approaches that are protective of low-income families and endeavor to identify some best practices that other states might adopt.
In a reversal of traditional gender roles that shines a light on the shifting demographics of the American workplace, young women now surpass young men in the importance they place on having a high-paying career or profession, according to a survey from the Pew Research Center. The study also found a rising number of middle-aged and older women saying success in a high-paying career or profession is “one of the most important things” or “very important” in their lives.
There’s good and bad news for American workers in a report from the Families and Work Institute, whose new survey of the U.S. workplace finds two conflicting trends. Flexibility that enhances an employees’ ability to decide when and where they complete tasks is on the rise with increases in the proportion of employers allowing at least some employees access to flex time and place and choices in managing time since 2005. On the other hand, flexibility around reduced time, caregiving leaves and flex careers has declined since 2005.