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Overcrowding and Frequent Moves Undermine Children's Health

November 1, 2011

Children need stability in their lives -- whether it is in their daily routines, the adults that care for them, or their housing. Recent economic conditions are putting families at risk, not just of outright homelessness but of being housing insecure (frequent moves, overcrowding, or doubling up with another family for economic reasons).

Boost to SNAP Benefits Protected Young Children's Health

October 1, 2011

The Great Recession has taken a significant toll on America's children. In 2010, 25 percent of children under age six were living in poverty, up from 21 percent in 2007.

LIHEAP Stabilizes Family Housing and Protects Children's Health

February 1, 2011

The heating and cooling season presents special challenges for our nation's low-income families. With limited resources, many are challenged to manage the seasonal spike in utility expenses, facing decisions about whether to pay the rent, keep the lights and heat on, or buy enough groceries to get through the end of the month. We know that each of these decisions will have significant implications for the health of their youngest children. Unfortunately, these tough choices are all too common this winter as the nation experiences increases in energy prices, unusually cold weather, and continued high unemployment.

Children of Immigrants: Healthy Beginnings Derailed by Food Insecurity

October 1, 2010

Children of immigrants are the fastest growing child population in the United States. More than 20 percent of children under age six have immigrant parents; approximately 93 percent of these children are American citizens.Of the children who are non-citizens, two-thirds will grow up to become citizens, playing a critical role in our nation's future.

Earning More, Receiving Less: Loss of Benefits and Child Hunger

September 14, 2010

New research from Children's HealthWatch shows that increases in income that trigger loss of public assistance benefits can leave young children without enough food to eat. Families hat have been cut off from SNAP or TANF when their income exceeds eligibility limits are more likely to experience levels of food insecurity that require reducing the size or frequency of children's meals compared to those currently receiving benefits. Previous research has demonstrated that both SNAP and TANF reduce the likelihood of food insecurity. Income eligibility guidelines should be re-examined to ensure that a modest increase in income does not disqulaify a family from the benefits they need to keep their children healthy and well-fed. Families that successfully increase their earnings should not find themselves worse off due to a resulting loss of benefits.

Healthy Families in Hard Times: Solutions for Multiple Family Hardships

July 6, 2010

New research by Children's HealthWatch finds that the cumulative effects of multiple hardships on young children, including a lack of nutritious food, unstable housing and inadequate home heating and cooling, decrease the chances of normal growth and development in very young children. The research shows that the greater the level of hardship experienced, the less likely a child was to be classified as 'well' on a composite indicator of well-being and the more likely their parents were to be concerned about their development.These current findings raise serious concerns about the future well-being of America's youngest children. Deprivations in early life can change the lifetime trajectory of children's health and development. Enhanced coordination across safety net programs, strong child nutrition programs, and an adequate supply of affordable housing could help offset the impacts of hardship on our nation's youngest and most vulnerable children.

Child Care Feeding Programs Support Young Children's Healthy Development

March 1, 2010

New research by Children's HealthWatch shows that toddlers from low-income families who receive meals from their child care provider - those likely to be receiving CACFP - are in better health, have decreased risk for hospitalization, and are at healthier heights and weights for their age than those whose have to bring meals from home. As the nation's only nutrition program for young children in child care, CACFP is a critical component of a comprehensive approach to child nutrition.Changes to CACFP that expand access, reduce barriers and ensure that child care providers have the resources they need to provide healthy meals are beneficial for young children's health, growth and development.

WIC Improves Child Health and School Readiness

March 1, 2010

New research by Children's HealthWatch demonstrates that young children who participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are more likely to be in excellent or good health and have a reduced risk of developmental delay. Investing in WIC supports the nutritional and health needs of young children during a critical window of brain and body growth.Progam improvements that decrease access barriers, provide the full amount of fruits and vegetables recommended by the Institute of Medicine, and accommodate working parents' schedules will help young children reach their full potential.

Energy Insecurity is a Major Threat to Child Health

February 18, 2010

With the recession and this winter's harsh weather, many families are facing a choice between eating and heating. Research by Children's HealthWatch shows that young children whose families struggle to pay their utility bills ('energy insecure' families) are more likely to suffer a host of problems including food insecurity, poor health, hospitalizations and developmental delays.The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which provides low-income households with assistance in paying their utility bills, is effective at shielding young children from the harmful effects of energy insecurity.According to research by Children's HealthWatch, young children whose families received LIHEAP were less likely to be at risk for growth problems and had healthier weights for their age.By appropriating the maximum authorized funding for LIHEAP and ensuring that climate change legislation buffers vulnerable families and children from the harmful effects of higher energy prices, Congress will be taking important steps to protect children's health.

Rx for Hunger: Affordable Housing

December 3, 2009

This report by Children's HealthWatch and the Medical-Legal Partnership | Boston finds that housing plays a significant role in protecting young children from food insecurity and the health risks of being seriously underweight. This report confirms that increased support for subsidized housing must be part of the strategy for ending childhood hunger.

Funding Shortfall for Housing Vouchers Could Have Serious Health Consequences for Children

September 28, 2009

In the fourth brief in its Policy Action series, Children's HealthWatch finds that unaffordable housing endangers the health and development of young children. Due to a federal funding shortfall, state and local housing agencies will be forced to reduce or eliminate rental assitance to thousands of families starting this month. Voucher cuts will push more families into the ranks of the "hidden homeless" -- families that move frequently, crowd into apartments that are too small, or live doubled up with other households when they cannot find affordable housing. Children in hidden homeless families are at increased risk for poor health, nutrition, and growth, as well as developmental delays. Timely Congressional action to protect the Housing Choice Voucher Program will ensure that families have stable, affordable housing essential to children's health.