A new report, Income and Poverty in the United Sates: 2014 details the most current statistics for children and families in the United States, the largest economy in the world. The title tells the story. Despite the encouraging steps toward recovery from the 2008-09 recession in terms of employment, the US continues to be a society of the “haves and have-nots”. The new poverty statistics are sadly too familiar. I find it appalling that 21.1% of children under age 18 and 23.5% of children under age 6 live in poverty in the US! Even worse, more than half, 55.1% of children under 6 years who live in families headed by single mothers live in poverty! (See Income and Poverty in the United Sates: 2014, pages 14-15 for more details on children living in poverty). Considering the trends over the past 50 years, we clearly are not winning the War on Poverty.Read More
KIPS Blog: Parenting Assessment in Practice & Research
Importance of Parenting & Evidence-Based Intervention
Children don’t come with instructions. Yet, parenting quality effects a child’s overall welfare and influences vital outcomes such as social behavior, educational success and emotional well-being (Olds, et al., 2007). Characteristics of effective parenting include (a) interaction style with their child; (b) warmth and affection towards their child; and (c) parenting strategies used (Johnson, et al., 2008). Cultivating positive parent/child interaction is a cornerstone of most parenting programs and parenting curricula.
Guest blog by
University of Maryland School of Social Work
The Brookings Institution has just released a policy recommendation, entitled Addressing the Parenting Divide to Promote Early Childhood Development for Disadvantaged Children, written by Ariel Kalil, Professor, the Harris School for Public Policy at the University of Chicago. In this and the next few posts we will explore this proposal. The Brookings proposal centers around addressing an issue Kalil refers to as the “Parenting Divide”, the disparities in time and quality of time parents spend with their children. Kalil points to the growing inequalities in US family incomes, which are reflected in children’s educational achievement. She argues that these inequalities are due in large part to the parenting divide. She claims that focusing investments on classrooms alone is too narrow and is missing an important component. We must include parents if children are to be successful.
I am staggered by the weightiness of the topic of race, poverty and parenting, because its implications are incredibly important. I ask myself, ‘what lay at the heart of the matter of this conversation’? Does a propensity of research really prove that poor Black and Hispanic children experience double jeopardy because of poverty and low quality parenting. Or, is this an instance of the intersection of research and stereotypical life experiences of the poor and minority?
Fifty years ago this week in his State of the Union address, the New President, Lyndon Johnson declared War on Poverty. As I write this the press and politicians are abuzz debating “America’s Longest War.” We can all agree that this long war has not been won. For a timeline showing the many battles and skirmishes in this war on poverty follow this link.
A large longitudinal study conducted by a team at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina shows that for rural low-income families, cumulative risk factors can negatively affect parenting quality and child development, learning and behavior. This study is important because nearly 20% of children in United States families are located in rural communities and rural families are understudied. The Family Life Project followed 1292 children from low-income rural families over a 10-year period, and the results have been published as a monograph (The Family Life Project: An Epidemiological and Developmental Study of Young Children Living in Poor Rural Communities (2013). Lynne Vernon-Feagans, Martha Cox, and The Family Life Project Key Investigators, Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Volume 78, Issue 5, Pages vii–vii, 1–150.)