Monthly Archives: October 2011
|October 31, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Budget, Children and Family, Education, Federal Government, News||
Federal spending on children is projected to decline significantly over the next 5 to 10 years, barring changes in current legislation or an unexpected shift in the current political climate according to the Kids’ Share 2011: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children Through 2010 from The Brookings Institution and The Urban Institute.
The report suggests that education programs and unrefundable tax credits will lose the most funding over the next decade, as federal spending will focus on interest payments on debt, non-child Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security costs. Projections indicate that by 2014 the United States federal government will spend more money will be spent on interest payments than children.
Individualized Services, Lower Caseloads & Higher Adoption Rates: The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Program Evaluation Report
|October 27, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Children and Family, Evaluation, Program Model||
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA) and its Wendy’s Wonderful Kids initiative strive to increase adoptions of foster children in the United States and some provinces in Canada. A recent evaluation of the program found that it is more successful in attaining the goal of adoption than traditional casework and adoption models.
The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK) program, funded partially from donations from Wendy’s restaurants, administers grants through DTFA to adoption agencies across the country who then work with local professionals to place children in the foster care system with adoptive families. The process is highly individualized, with much attention paid to getting to know the children and placing them with recruited, well-vetted families according to the history, strengths and unique needs of the youth. In this model, WWK staff carry a caseload of 12 to 15 children.
The evaluation found that overall; the youth in the WWK program were more likely to be adopted (1.5 times more) than youth outside the program and those who had mental health diagnoses were three times more likely to be adopted than their counterparts in the control group. Also, as the age of the child increased, so did the likelihood that they would be adopted compared to youth receiving traditional services; for example, the report states that youth entering the program at age 11 were twice as likely to be adopted and those referred at age 15 were three times as likely to be adopted. Taking this data at face value it appears the model used by the WWK works exceptionally well with youth sometimes considered more challenging to place in adoptive families (those with special needs, teenagers, etc.).
Demographics of the intervention group, a more detailed breakdown of the findings and information on the WWK program model are available in the Evaluation Report Summary and other evaluation materials at the Child Trends website. A fact sheet of the findings is also available.
Citation of Evaluation Report: Malm, K., Vandivere, S., Allen, T., DeVooght, K., Ellis, R., McKlindon, A., Smollar, J., Williams, E. and Zinn, A. (2011). Evaluation Report Summary: The Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Initiative, Child Trends, Washington, D.C.
|October 25, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Behavorial Health, Drug and Alcohol, Federal Government, Health, Youth Development||
According to a brief from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the lessons learned about healthful living during one’s youth continue into adulthood, increasing the importance of accessible, quality healthcare for young people during their adolescent and teenage years. The publication, Adolescent Health: Coverage and Access to Care from October 2011, explores the major health concerns for tweens and teens (10 to 18 years old) as well as the expected impact of the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) on coverage and ideas for future policy initiatives.
Based on reports of behaviors from the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the primary areas of concern around the health of youth ages 10 –18 are:
- Violence (adolescents 12 to 15 years old are more likely to become the victim of violence than any other group in the country )
- Nutrition and physical activity (troubling rates of obesity among teenagers)
- Use of controlled and illegal substances (drugs, alcohol and tobacco and their impact on physical and mental health)
- Sexual activity (rates of sexually transmitted infection, assault, pregnancy)
According to the authors of the brief Esme Cullen and Alina Salganicoff, federal data show youth ages 10 to 18 years have the highest rate of health coverage compared to other age groups, yet approximately 4 million remain uninsured even when over half are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). ACA provisions set to begin 2014 may close this gap through increasing eligibility for public health coverage and subsidies with which families may purchase private insurance. These policy changes are expected to lead to an increase in regular medical care of adolescents, including annual well-visits (preventive care) and the identification of risky behaviors, behavioral health or developmental concerns. However, as the authors correctly point out, only if medical professionals are prepared to address delicate topics such as drug and alcohol use, sexual activity and other risky lifestyle choices will the preventative care afforded to adolescents improve their health and future well-being.
Do these concerns and policy priorities line up with your experience with youth in community, school or program settings?
If you work with youth you may also be interested in a the resources for youth alcohol education, assessment and intervention found on the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)’s website.
|October 21, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Management, Research||
After being greatly impacted by the fiscal crisis and recession of 2008, nonprofits are cautiously but steadily getting back to recruiting and hiring staff according to the summer 2011 report, Bouncing Back? Employment trends in the nonprofit sector from Idealist.org.
Findings from the survey of 3,000 nonprofits nationwide give insight into their current service and human resource concerns from health insurance to future hiring.
Impact of the recession:
- Over 80 percent of nonprofits impacted by the recession described it as a “negative” impact and 31 percent reported having to cut services and staff after losing funding.
- 82 percent of respondents planned to hire 1 to 5 positions during the year, primarily program staff (69 percent), then fundraising (36 percent) and administrative (33 percent) positions.
- When recruiting for positions, 89 percent rank understanding their mission as “very important”, as opposed to intern/volunteer experience with their organization (9 percent) or another organization (15 percent).
Salary and Benefits:
- 34 percent of organizations are not planning salary increases in 2011.
- 62 percent of nonprofits expect health insurance costs to increase, while 36 percent expect them to stay the same.
How is your nonprofit faring in 2011? Do you plan to add staff this year or in early 2012?