Issue briefs focus on current child-related issues and provide local, state and national research, policy and practice information. These in-depth documents are often released in conjunction with an event for the Schubert Center Conversation Series. To request a hard copy of any of these publications, please contact the Schubert Center.
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The years from birth to age five, when a child’s brain is developing most rapidly, are crucial for improving educational, health and social outcomes later in life. Access to quality early care with opportunities for imaginative play is increasingly understood as foundational for later school success, creativity and social and emotional skill-building as part of healthy child development. Research also shows that experiences of discrimination can negatively impact well-being, but little is understood about how bias may operate in an early education context and how discrimination may affect very young children. This issue brief investigates this new line of research and examines the implications of racial discrimination and implicit bias in early childhood education.
The experiences of and care for children who have one or both parents in jail or prison raise important issues for families, policymakers and the general public. In 2007, 1.7 million children in the United States had a parent in prison. Children of incarcerated parents experience challenges both unique to parental incarceration and similar to children with other life stressors. This brief provides an overview of issues related to children with incarcerated parents and a description of several evidence-based interventions targeted at children of incarcerated parents.
The experience of violence among children and adolescents raises significant concerns for individuals, families and the general public. Despite a declining trend in violence committed by youth, media accounts of school shootings and bullying incidents have stimulated public and professional awareness about this issue. Effective strategies exist to prevent and respond to violence and victimization; however, challenges remain in broadly implementing best practices. This brief reviews some of the recent U.S. violence data, describes some of the potential consequences of children and young people witnessing or experiencing violence and some of the policy and practice initiatives focused on youth violence, both nationally and in Ohio.
Healthy schools and educational environments are essential for healthy child and adolescent development. A positive school climate is one that “includes norms, values and expectations that support people feeling socially, emotionally and physically safe.” A positive school climate is associated with academic achievement, school success, effective violence prevention, healthy student development and teacher retention. Evidenced-based behavior interventions and disciplinary practices contribute to a positive school climate. Conversely, research has found that schools with harsh disciplinary practices typically have lower achievement scores and other poor outcomes. Providing students with a safe school environment is a key component of fostering a positive school climate. This brief highlights current research on bullying and student safety as well as Ohio school safety and climate policies.
In 2008 an estimated 22 million young people (ages 18-29) voted in the national election. This was one of the highest turnouts of young people ever recorded. Two million more people under the age of 30 voted in 2008 than in 2004. While young voters typically represent the smallest percentage of votes in an election, they are a major subset of the electorate. Young people represent 24% of the eligible voting population. As a result, their voting power is significant in terms of its potential impact on an election. The increased youth turnout in the 2008 election has inspired many researchers and advocates to explore the reasons for this increase and ways to further youth voting and engagement in future elections. A confluence of factors such as extensive voter outreach measures, civic education and increased public interest are important contributors to increasing voter turnout. This issue brief reviews the current research on youth civic engagement and discusses policy and practice implications for the youth vote.
Many girls and women develop harmful eating patterns during adolescence and early adulthood, with most cases of anorexia nervosa developing between ages 15 and 19 and most cases of bulimia nervosa developing between ages 20 and 24. Younger girls are also at risk for developing patterns of disordered eating. A recent population-based study of U.S. adolescents found that 0.3% of teens suffer from anorexia nervosa, 0.9% suffer from bulimia nervosa, and 1.6% suffer from binge eating disorder. This issue brief covers the current clinical understanding of eating disorders as well as best practices for treatment. In addition the brief highlights current research on eating disorders being conducted by CWRU faculty.
In the United States, as many as 1 in 5 teens reported experiencing physical or sexual abuse in a dating relationship and the prevalence of emotional or verbal abuse may be even higher. While particularly tragic cases are often highlighted in the media, these are merely examples of a more widespread problem of violence and abuse in adolescent relationships. This abuse has serious immediate consequences for teens and has also been linked to a pattern of violence which may lead to intimate partner violence in adulthood. Less attention has been given to the amount and nature of all forms of violence both experienced and committed by teen girls compared to adult domestic violence; however, research and practice have begun to focus more on this important social problem. This issue brief highlight current research on teen dating violence and reviews the implications for policy and practice.
Juvenile delinquency among girls is a unique research, practice and policy challenge that requires a comprehensive understanding of the problem, including scope, causes and risk factors, and opportunities for effective prevention and intervention. Various child-serving systems, including education, child welfare and mental health services are connected to the juvenile justice system and the young people in its care. The following information and data have been compiled to develop a common source of reference for the experiences and needs of girls in Ohio who have either entered or are at-risk of entering the juvenile justice system. Data collection, maintenance and reporting are not consistent across the state or across child-serving agencies, and ease of data accessibility varies considerably as well. Thus, while significant gaps in data exist, this summary serves as a starting point for background on vulnerable girls.