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Can child care and pre-K help reduce inflation?

June 2, 2022

Inflation has recently emerged as the top economic concern in the U.S. The Federal Reserve is now raising interest rates in an attempt to curb inflation, but their job would be easier, and the risk of a recession reduced, if we could directly address some of the job market bottlenecks that are contributing to inflation. This phenomenon has been called "the Great Resignation" – where there are too few workers to fill currently available jobs – because some have left the labor market, while others are reluctant to accept or keep jobs there. The aging of the U.S. population and a recent decline in immigration compound these effects.In his Wall Street Journal op-ed on May 31, President Biden listed a number of ways to reduce inflation – and one of them was cutting the cost of child care to families, so that the parents of small children could more easily enter the workforce. Indeed, his Build Back Better (BBB) agenda included policies such as greater access to child care and universal pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds, policies with the potential to boost labor supply and potentially reduce inflation. That legislation remains in limbo because of the opposition of Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). But if it had been enacted a year ago, it could have made a difference – not just to the well-being of families and children but even to the inflationary pressures that have now emerged, pressures fueled in part by a lack of workers to produce the products and services people want.

The Economic Role of Paid Child Care in the U.S. Part 3: Economic Growth Modeling

May 26, 2022

This report is the third in a four-part series focused on the use of paid child care in the U.S. The report provides extensive empirical analysis on a group of factors that potentially underlie differences in paid child care usage across the states and over time. These factors were introduced and discussed in the first report in the series.Time series tests of both short- and long-run statistical causality are used to examine the empirical relationships between these factors and paid child care usage. The report then develops a model of long-run economic growth and uses it to examine the potential effects of increased maternal and female labor force participation on real income growth and paid child care usage.The results provide a helpful empirical view of the historical linkages between these factors and paid child care usage as well as the role of paid child care in economic growth. For policymakers, the results also inform the ongoing policy debate over the economic role of paid child care. 

The Economic Role of Paid Child Care in the U.S. Part 2: Labor Force Participation

May 19, 2022

This is the second report of a four-part series related to use of paid child care in the U.S. and the labor force participation of mothers. The first report focused on the use of paid child care, what percent of household income is spent on child care for those families who pay for it, and what characteristics are associated with families who pay for child care. This second report examines labor force participation in greater detail to better understand labor force attachment for mothers with children over time, as well as trends across gender, race, marital status, and women with and without children, to gain a better understanding of labor force trends in which mothers with children are a subset.The ability of many working parents to participate in the labor force is highly dependent upon access to paid child care. Paid care has historically been used by working parents for approximately 20% of children in the U.S. under the age of 15.The use of paid care is most closely associated with the labor force participation of mothers. Mothers traditionally perform most of the primary care duties for children, especially for younger children. Hence, the use of paid child care is closely tied to the decision of mothers to enter or exit the labor force. At the state level, the share of children in paid child care is highly correlated with the share of mothers participating in the labor force.This report examines both long- and short-run trends in U.S. labor force participation. The two primary measures of labor force participation are defined and discussed, and key trends are examined. Many of the key labor force trends examined are related to the role of women in the labor force, particularly women with children. The influence of sex, race, income, and marital status on the participation rate is also examined, along with the variation in participation rates across the states.

Better Responses to Differing Immigration Statuses: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practices

April 22, 2022

What does it take to deliver 2Gen services to families, youth, and children whose various immigrant statuses may dictate different access to benefits and make sure all family members are supported, healthy, and feel welcome and safe in their place? Our brief on immigration status examines how service organizations can provide a sense of stability and security and create a supportive environment in which immigrant and refugee communities feel safe enough to seek help around immigration statuses. When organizations are prepared for this sensitive topic, they can serve an even more valuable role in ensuring that these communities feel safe and prepared for whatever tomorrow may bring.

Cultural Competency Secrets to Success with Immigrant and Refugee Families: Spreading and Adapting 2Gen Working Practices

April 22, 2022

The cultural shift for immigrant and refugee families can be welcomed for some and terrifying for others, but what are the cultural competency secrets to success that can best support these groups? As service providers build their understanding of and responsiveness to the cultures of their newer customers, they can more equitably engage with and effectively serve them, which leads to better outcomes for immigrant and refugee families and the local communities.

“Part of my heart was torn away”: What the U.S. Government Owes the Tortured Survivors of Family Separation

April 19, 2022

When the news broke in 2018 that the U.S. government was forcibly separating thousands of parents and children as young as infants at the U.S.-Mexico border, nationwide outcry ensued due to the evident trauma caused by the separations. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) found that the cases of forcible family separation by the U.S. government that we documented constituted torture. PHR's torture finding was cited by the Biden campaign during the 2020 U.S. presidential election. However, as the election passed, uproar and outrage around family separation abated, but parents and children who were eventually reunited struggle to recover from severe psychological effects of the trauma they endured. Parents who were deported and separated from their children for three or even four years continued to suffer and wait in desperation for the moment when they could be with their children again.This study documents the longer-term psychological impact of this inhumane policy of forced separation on parents who were deported by the United States government, most of them separated from their children for three to four years. The persistent and damaging psychological effects documented by PHR call out for acknowledgement, accountability, redress, and rehabilitation. This study also seeks to make visible the desires of the parents who were interviewed regarding means of redress owed to them by the U.S. government. In the context of a broad discussion about redress, it is essential that the views of affected communities be directly incorporated into research and policy recommendations.

Six Strategies for Keeping Families Supported, Connected and Safe

February 14, 2022

In recent years, two concurrent factors have led to an increased focus on how child welfare leaders can work with partners to support families to stay together: the 2018 passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act, which created new approaches to a child welfare funding stream to prevent the need for foster care, and a heightened awareness of how discriminatory policies and practices within child welfare lead to unnecessary disruption and separation of families of color.Many states are expanding their efforts to support families and creating new partnerships to fund those efforts. The Annie E. Casey Foundation profiled six innovative efforts across the country. While the focus and stage of development of these partnerships vary, six strategies emerged as important to successful and effective coordination of resources to prevent system involvement and keep families supported, connected and safe.

Key Funding Streams to Keep Families Supported, Connected and Safe

February 14, 2022

The Family First Prevention Services Act provides an important opportunity for child welfare leaders to support families with Title IV-E funding. However, Family First is just one piece of the puzzle.Developing an array of services to meet family needs requires child welfare leaders to understand funding that is administered by other agencies and to work across sectors to support a broad range of services.This quick, four-page brief highlights federal funding streams that can support a continuum of services to prevent children from entering the child welfare system and foster care. It also shares examples of how communities are leveraging such funding streams at the local level. 

Rebalancing Children First: A Report of the AEI-Brookings Working Group on Childhood in the United States

February 8, 2022

The future of America rests in part on how the country prepares the next generation to live and to lead. Childhood is a consequential and cost-effective time to make investments that last a lifetime. Yet, many children in the United States do not have the resources or relationships they need to build a strong foundation for their future.Since 2019, scholars at the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution have convened a working group of leading experts to study the challenges and opportunities facing children in America. The members of this working group represent a wide range of academic disciplines, views on the proper roles and effectiveness of government programs, understanding of the current condition of American life, and opinions on how public policy should properly weight competing goods, such as personal responsibility and economic security.Yet, one area of resounding agreement among this diverse group is the need to rebalance national investments toward children. What follows is a consensus report on our conclusions, laying out actionable policies across a range of policy areas to improve the life of every child in the United States.The working group was guided by expertise, evidence, and values, and arrived at consensus through constructive dialogue. While there is broad agreement across academic disciplines and the political spectrum on the need to invest in children, there are substantial tensions resting just beneath the surface. The research base for some policies is mixed and reasonable people disagree about how to interpret and act on the evidence. These disagreements, as well as philosophical differences in how to set priorities, generate division. Through work in consensus-building and compromise, and based on both evidence and shared values, the working group has helped to clarify areas that can garner widespread support.The working group focused its attention on children ages 12 and younger. Across critical domains—household resources, family structure and stability, early development, health, education, and the teenage years—the report presents key facts about the state of childhood in the United States, assembles evidence on policy effectiveness, and establishes a set of priorities for progress.

Learnings from the Pandemic: Opportunities to Build Better Schools

February 2, 2022

This paper summarizes findings from a meeting and individual interviews with Carnegie Corporation of New York grantees conducted in October 2021. As educators are grappling with how to build better schools in the 2021–2022 school year and how to spend an unprecedented influx of federal funding to help them do so, this paper focuses on the challenges and opportunities that system leaders face and what success might look like over the next few years.

Parents 2021: Going Beyond the Headlines

December 8, 2021

Learning Heroes, in partnership with National PTA, National Urban League, UnidosUS, and Univision, released Parents 2021, our annual nationwide research conducted with K-12 parents, teachers, and, for the first time, principals. This timely research examines the commonalities and differences between mindsets of parents, teachers, and school leaders, and looks at their perceptions of family engagement.

Mobility Matters Employment and Advancement for Working Parents

December 6, 2021

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) supported two innovative initiatives over a three year period that yielded some impressive results for single mothers and working families. The STEPS (Supporting Transitions to Employment for Parents) program served to help working parents enter the labor market, while the MOVE UP (Mobility and Opportunity for Valuable Employment by Upskilling Parents) program focused on providing low-income workers opportunities to move up within the labor market, thereby increasing income and job stability. Between 2015 and 2018, WKKF invested $11 million to support 13 different organizations to implement these two pilot programs. This report overviews findings from those investments.