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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

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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“A new paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, investigates how pre-K affects kids’ access to healthcare. The results suggest that universal pre-K programs are improving the odds that kids who need treatment for vision, hearing, or asthma issues get the help they need.”

“For example, the fact that the group of kids is 1% more likely to get hearing treatment overall means that hearing-impaired kids are actually 63% more likely to get treatment. For vision-impaired kids, the bump is 45%.”

“So why is pre-K changing health outcomes? The researchers suggest that putting kids in pre-K simply creates more opportunities for their health problems to get noticed, since early-childhood teachers are often trained to spot them.”

“Universal pre-K improves kids’ health in a hidden, powerful way, according to a new study,” Business Insider, April 12, 2017

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A series featuring communities that have a plan to expand preschool.

Literacy is a significant part of the Rainbow Child Development Center’s curriculum. Through partnerships like Edward Street Child Services’ Book Buddy program, children regularly receive books so that they can build their home libraries.

Worcester holds the triple distinction of being the second largest city in New England, a leading Gateway City, and the leading refugee resettlement community, welcoming 300-500 new families each year. All these factors drive this unique, richly diverse city.

Worcester also faces challenges. Each year, more than one-third of kindergarten students enter Worcester Public Schools with no formal preschool experience. In 2017, that percentage grew to 37 percent, or 751 students. A staggering 22 percent of Worcester’s population is below the poverty level compared to a state average of 15.6 percent, and among youth under age 18, 30 percent live in poverty.

These statistics mean that the city has work to do.

“To be a truly great city, Worcester must have healthy children, engaged families, and the very highest standards in our early learning system,” noted Kim Davenport, managing director of Birth to 3rd Grade Alignment at Edward Street Child Services.  (more…)

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