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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Retired Brigadier Generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas. Photo courtesy of Mission:Readiness.

 

Retired Brigadier Generals Jack Hammond and Gary Pappas came to Boston earlier this month to talk about the link between child care and the military – and about the findings in a new, related report, “Child Care and National Security: How greater access to high-quality child care in Massachusetts can help improve military readiness.”

The upshot: high-quality child care is a key ingredient in preparing children to become successful adults who could serve in the military. But right now, most of this state’s potential military candidates could not join the armed forces because of poor health, limited educational attainment, and histories of illegal activities.

“If a basic part of the population, 70 percent roughly [in Massachusetts], cannot pass a simple entrance exam,” Pappas says in an NECN interview, “you have a recruiting problem.” (more…)

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Moms, dads, toddlers, and babies from all 50 states came to the Washington, D.C., this week for Strolling Thunder.

During this annual event, families meet with members of Congress to talk about making child care more affordable, expanding paid family leave, and increasing funding for health care and early education.

“As parents, we must advocate, communicate and collaborate with all agencies serving and caring for our babies,” said Anna Akins, a Strolling Thunder parent from Louisiana, says in a press release from Zero to Three, the national nonprofit that organizes the event, which is part of the Think Babies campaign. “Our babies’ lives are depending on our voices. Let us continue to speak up and out about the importance of all things that help our babies thrive.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

High quality early education programs can boost children’s health. But to do so, these programs need to build partnerships with health care providers.

To explore this idea, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop last year called “Exploring Early Childhood Care and Education Levers to Improve Population Health.” And last month, the National Academies released a report on the workshop.

“By weaving health promotion, preventive care, health literacy, and health care coordination into early care and education environments and making it easier for both health care providers and early care and education providers to coordinate and cooperate through policy levers, we can change the health status of entire geographies of children,” the report says, summing up the ideas of Debbie Chang, a member of the workshop’s planning committee and the Senior Vice President of Policy and Prevention at Nemours Children’s Health System. (more…)

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Screenshot from “Honoring Dr. T. Berry Brazelton (1918 – 2018): A Celebration”

In March, the world lost an early childhood champion who helped the public appreciate the power of investing well and often in the lives of very young children.

“Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, America’s most celebrated baby doctor since Benjamin Spock and the pediatrician who revolutionized our understanding of how children develop psychologically, died on Tuesday at his home in Barnstable, Mass., on Cape Cod. He was 99,” the New York Times reported, adding:

“Before Dr. Brazelton began practicing medicine in the early 1950s, the conventional wisdom about babies and child rearing was unsparingly authoritarian.”

Brazelton “rejected such beliefs and practices as being senseless, if not barbaric.

“ ‘He put the baby at the center of the universe,’ Dr. Barry Lester, a pediatrician and director of the Center for the Study of Children at Risk at Brown University, said…”

Born in Waco, Texas, and a graduate of Princeton University and Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, Brazelton has said that he was not close to his father.

“ ‘I’m sure he loved me,’ Dr. Brazelton later reflected, ‘but I never really knew him.’ His father’s remoteness, he added, ‘fueled my ambitions’ to better understand early father-child bonding,” the Boston Globe reported. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Worcester, Mass., wants to do more for its children by offering trauma-informed care.

The city’s goal is to look at what scientists call ACES — adverse childhood experiences — and understand their impact on children and how these impacts can cause health problems once children are grown.

“We had been thinking about the vulnerability of our populations in Worcester,” Kim Davenport says of work that was going on around the city. Davenport is the managing director for Birth to 3rd Grade Alignment at Edward Street Child Services.

Among the city entities that were thinking about children was Worcester Hears, a local coalition focused on bringing together “advances in brain science, child development, and best practices to address childhood adversity” to help public school students. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

As you may have heard, last Friday Congress reached a bipartisan deal on the national budget, which President Trump signed. The agreement includes major funding increases for programs that affect children and families. It’s a wise investment that is making headlines.

“There’s still a lot to be worked out, and the deal gives Congress six weeks to hammer out the final details. But congressional leaders have already signaled what they plan to give to certain domestic programs,” according to an Education Week article featured on the website of the Center for Law and Social Policy, a national nonprofit.

The budget doubles funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant — an increase that would allow states to serve 230,000 more children, including 4,780 here in Massachusetts.

According to Education Week, “The bill provides $650 million to provide disaster relief to Head Start centers affected by the 2017 hurricanes that hit Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

The American Public Health Association has adopted new policy statements, including this one on preschool:

 

“Support for universal preschool — With more than 60 percent of American 4-year-olds not having access to publicly funded preschool programs and knowing that education is a key social determinant of health, calls for federal, state and local government to implement a voluntary, universal and publicly funded preschool programs based on sliding fee scales for all preschool-age children regardless of citizenship status. Urges governments and preschools to ensures high-quality preschool standards, and calls on federal, state and local officials to make sure preschool teachers and staff are prepared to work with children and are paid livable wages. Calls on state and local school districts to create and implement anti-racist, culturally relevant and trauma-informed approaches in preschool. Encourages collaborations between health professionals, community health centers and preschool programs to support wrap-around services such as immunizations and health screenings.”

 

The association “champions the health of all people and all communities,” and these policy statements are summaries of full statements that will be posted on line next year.

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