Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy

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Archive: 2016-2017 Academic Year

Graph showing share of children in very low opportunity neighborhoodsICYFP Fellow Ms. Erin Hardy presented plenary at the 2017 Federal Reserve System Community Develeopment Research Conference

May 12, 2017

Washington, D.C.—Ms. Erin Hardy, Fellow, ICYFP, presented in the plenary “Shaping Economic Futures: The Role of Communities” at the Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference on March 23, 2017. Her plenary entitled “Why and How Racial/Ethnic Equity Matters,” addressed  racial/ethnic neighborhood opportunity inequities that exist in the U.S.; introduced the Institute Child Opportunity Index (COI); and discussed research-motivated, race/ethnicity-conscious strategies for improving neighborhood opportunities of all low-income children. Rebekah Levine Coley from Boston College, Sandra Newman from Johns Hopkins University, and Martin Sanchez-Jankowski from University of California-Berkeley also presented.

In her plenary, Ms. Hardy illustrated that a neighborhood opportunity racial divide has important implications for the U.S. economy, as children of color represent the fastest growing segment of the future workforce and research has shown that where a child grows up affects her later income and socioeconomic mobility. Using the COI, she demonstrated the depth and magnitude of the racial divide and how affordability issues further exacerbate equity issues.  She also presented results showing that the neighborhood opportunity racial divide is not only explained by income—pointing to the important role of addressing racial/ethnic inequities in policy design and implementation. The presentation can be found on the conference website here, with video of the plenary presentations and panel discussion to be added to the conference website soon.  

Housing Policy Debate Issue 3 CoverFamilies who received housing vouchers and counseling experienced substantial improvements not only in neighborhood poverty but across a wide range of neighborhood conditions, including economic conditions, social and physical features of the neighborhood environment, and health outcomes 

May 10, 2017

ICYFP director Dolores Acevedo–Garcia along with Quynh C. Nguyen, Nicole M. Schmidt, and Theresa L. Osypuk (ICYFP Visiting Scholar) publish a paper entitled “The effects of a housing mobility experiment on participants’ residential environments” in Issue 3 of Housing Policy Debate.

Using data from the Moving To Opportunity (MTO) housing experiment, the paper investigates how housing vouchers and housing mobility policies can help families living in high-poverty neighborhoods move to higher-quality neighborhoods. The paper utilizes diverse measures of neighborhood conditions including economic conditions, social systems, environmental conditions, and health outcomes. The authors find that supplementing the Section 8/ Housing Choice Voucher program with housing mobility components (i.e. housing counseling) can strengthen the program’s potential for assisting families in moving to higher opportunity neighborhoods. Read the full article here!

Photo of Tom SannicandroFormer CYF student Dr. Tom Sannicandro is appointed as the new Director of the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at University of Massachusetts, Boston

March 27, 2017

The ICYFP would like to congratulate Dr. Tom Sannicardro, Ph. D (class 2016), on his appointment as the new Director of the ICI at UMass Boston. Dr. Sannicardro has devoted his career to advocating for rights of people with disabilities. From his dissertation entitled The Effect of Postsecondary Education on Employment and Income for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities  to his experiences as an attorney in private practice focusing on special education law, he has worked to increase inclusion of people with disabilities in higher education. We congratulate him on this next exciting step in his career.

Erin Hardy speaking at CCEEPRC 2017ICYFP researchers Pamela Joshi and Erin Hardy presented at the 2017 Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.   

March 1, 2017

In a plenary session entitled “Research-to-Policy Translation for Generating Evidence-Based Child Care and Early Education Policy,” Dr. Joshi described the process used by the team to connect research and data to policy makers and end users. Additionally, Dr. Joshi moderated a discussion session entitled “Equity in Access to Early Care and Education.” The session fostered a conversation about how policies influence equitable access to early childhood care and education opportunities.  Participants also discussed how equitable access can be defined and measured in research.

Ms. Hardy presented on the panel “Mapping the Supply and Demand of Child Care and Early Education Programs: Researcher Insights and Evidence-Based Policy Tools To Make Government More Effective.” Ms. Hardy’s presentation focused on the geographic distribution of child care and early education providers and examined factors affecting low-income families’ varying levels of access. Ms. Hardy’s workshop entitled “Using GIS and Spatial Analysis to Advance Child Care and Early Education Policy Analysis and Research” similarly focused on mapping methods for research, where she, Jennifer Rankin of HealthLandscape, and Roberta Weber of Oregon State University discussed how to use GIS and spatial methods to answer key early care and education policy questions.

Picture of preschoolersMassachusetts Department of Early Education and Care forms new partnership with researchers from ICYFP and Boston University to assess potential CCDBG policy changes 

February 21, 2017

ICYFP researchers Pamela Joshi, Kate Giapponi, Erin Hardy and Diana Serrano and Boston University’s Yoonsook Ha were awarded a new contract with the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to establish a research partnership to 1) provide research support for EEC’s review of policies in response to new federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) regulations focused on quality improvement and 2) develop a plan to evaluate the implementation/effectiveness of a change in state CCDBG policy aimed at increasing access to high quality care. Below is the project summary:

The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) has established a partnership with the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP) at Brandeis University and the School of Social Work at Boston University (BU) to 1) provide research support for EEC’s review of policies in response to changes in federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) regulations focused on quality improvement and 2) develop a plan to evaluate the implementation/effectiveness of a change in state CCDBG policy. One of the core goals of the reauthorized CCDBG regulations is to ensure that subsidy-receiving families have access to stable high quality early care and education. Essential to achieving this goal is to understand the current levels of stability and quality of care that children in the subsidy system receive.  In active collaboration with EEC, ICYFP and BU will execute rigorous analyses to assess the current levels of care stability/quality in Massachusetts.  Using this research, the partnership will identify a policy/administrative change to Massachusetts’ subsidy system aimed at improving access to high quality stable care.  The project team will then identify the most suitable and cost-effective research design and methodology to evaluate this change. This partnership is funded by the CCDBG Implementation Research and Evaluation Planning Grant. This grant was dispersed by the U.S. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. 

Housing Policy Debate CoverTrading off neighborhood opportunity and affordability in large metro areas

January 26,2017

In Neighborhood Opportunity and Location Affordability for Low-Income Renter Families, recently published in Housing Policy Debate, researchers Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Nancy McArdle, Erin Hardy, Unda Ioana Crisan, and Theresa L. Osypuk as well as the Kirwan Institute reveal the difficult trade-offs that low-income renter families face in obtaining affordable housing in higher-opportunity neighborhoods and the particular disadvantages encountered by black and Hispanic families with children. By combining two unique databases, HUD’s Location Affordability Index and our own Child Opportunity Index we take an unprecedented look at the relationships between affordability, (both in terms of housing and transportation costs) and opportunity at the neighborhood level, across the 100 largest U.S. metro areas.

We find:
• Low-income renter families face high housing and transportation cost burdens at all levels of neighborhood opportunity.
• Correlations between opportunity and housing-cost burden vary substantially in strength across metro areas but are always positive. Correlations between opportunity and transportation-cost burden are considerably lower.
• Between metros, there is vastly higher variation in transportation affordability than in housing affordability. More sprawling metros have higher transportation cost burdens.
• Poor black and Hispanic children are most likely to live in neighborhoods where cost burdens exceed relative neighborhood opportunity levels. Story maps showing these relationships for several large metros are available here.

The report concludes with policy prescriptions, including the need to:
• Expand the notion of affordability by incorporating child neighborhood opportunity into the objectives of rental housing assistance. Such a redefinition could enhance fair housing efforts, as black and Hispanic children more commonly face detrimental neighborhood cost-opportunity imbalance.
• Increase rental subsidies to allow families to afford neighborhoods of opportunity.
• Adopt policies that address structural metropolitan factors such as sprawl, which contribute to lack of affordability.

Racial/ethnic composition of the child population younger than 18 years, 1980-2050.Study by ICYFP team shows positive effect of Head Start on Children

December 31, 2016

ICYFP researchers Pamela Joshi, Kimberly Geronimo, and Dolores Acevedo-Garcia published Head Start since the War on Poverty: Taking on New Challenges to Address Persistent School Readiness Gaps this December in  Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk. The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEERS) at Rutgers University also mentioned this study in their monthly newsletter in their Hot Topics section. Read the abstract below:


This article explores Head Start’s overall effectiveness in improving school readiness outcomes and its potential to reduce gaps in these outcomes in light of changing program goals, resource and funding capacity, and the demographic changes in the low-income child population it serves. Although not an explicit goal of the Head Start program, we assess whether and how the program can address reducing school readiness gaps between children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds and income groups. Because of changing policy priorities and targeting vulnerable groups of children with diverse needs, meeting Head Start goals within funding constraints can be challenging. Yet, as we will show in this paper, the program has successfully adapted to its changing environment, and despite the evolving nature of its goals and populations served, it has managed to demonstrate a favorable impact on children. Future research on tailored programming, program implementation and impacts on specific groups of children is needed to help Head Start further improve its ability to address persistent school readiness gaps.

Picture of Pamela JoshiPam Joshi presents "Job quality and racial equity" at EARN conference 2016

December 16, 2016

Pam Joshi presented about racial/ethnic differences in parents’ job quality at the Economic Analysis Research Network (EARN) conference in St. Louis. The workshop entitled, “Job quality and racial equity” explored inequities in the job market and the quality of jobs by race and ethnicity. Panelists discussed wage inequity, occupational segregation by race and gender, how workers of color are impacted by the uneven enforcement of employment laws and regulations, disparities in access to core job benefits such as paid family and medical leave and health coverage, and the challenges facing immigrant workers. The moderator of the panel was Tamara Draut from Demos and other panelists included representatives from Missouri Jobs with Justice and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR).

Coverpage of Place and Race Matter webinarWebinar: and CLASP discuss influence of race, ethinicity and location on early childhood education access 

December 14, 2016

Webinar called Place and Race Matter: Head Start and CCBDG Access by Race, Ethnicity, and Location features research from ICYFP's and Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). The webinar examines neighborhood- and state-level access to Head Start and Child Care by race, ethnicity, and nativity. Policy implications of this research are also explored, with particular focus on Hispanic and immigrant children and families.

Despite the known lasting impact early childhood experiences can have on children's future health and well-being, racial and ethnic disparities in access to early childhood opportunities persist even in income-based programs like Head Start. This webinar features data from addressing the share of eligible children with a Head Start center in their neighborhood and the child-to-center ratio, as well as analysis from CLASP on early childhood education programs and the Child Care and Development Block Grant administrative data. 

Presenters include:

Watch the webinar here!

Funding for this webinar has been provided by the Annie. E. Casey Foundation. 

Photo of Dr. Lindsay Rosenfeld, Sc.D

Rosenfeld and collaborators publish study analyzing and making call-to-actions for health literacy

December 2016

Dr. Lindsay Rosenfeld, ScD, ScM, ICYFP Scientist and Lecturer, in collaboration with Maria Dr. Dolores Navarro-Rubio (first author), MD; Rima Rudd,ScD; and Dr.Emilia Arrighi, PhD published “Health Literacy: Implications for the health system” in Medicina Clinica as a Special article! This paper describes and explores health literacy and features actions to improve population health. 

As there are numerous ways to communicate, there are even more ways to measure health literacy in its various forms and settings. As past research has shown the links connecting health literacy to clinical outcomes, use of preventative health, and health follow-through; health literacy is an important health factor. However, existence of so many measurement tools shows a lack of agreement on what health literacy is and how to measure it. Understanding and tracking health literacy must expand from research to the realms of practice and other health institutions to ensure patient-centered communication exists across environments. In order to achieve better health literacy for patients and healthcare professionals, both participants must work together and adapt patient-health professional expectations.  

DOI: 10.1016/j.medcli.2016.02.010

Photo of Dr. Joanna Almeida, Sc.D.

Joanna Almeida publishes study that identifies possible link between anti-immigrant policies and health of all Latinos 

December 2016

A new study by Dr. Joanna Almeida titled “The association between anti-immigrant policies and perceived discrimination among Latinos in the US:  A multilevel analysis” was just published in Social Science & Medicine-Population Health. This study found that the portion of Latinos in the U.S. reporting discrimination more than doubled to nearly 70% from 2003 to 2013. Study authors also found that Latinos living in states with more anti-immigrant policies (e.g. Arizona’s SB 1070) are more likely to report discrimination than those living in states that are more welcoming to immigrants, regardless of documentation status. The higher prevalence of discrimination may in part be due to the increase in anti-immigrant policies and sentiment that have been building sub-nationally in the past decade. This is the first quantitative, nationally representative study to identify a key link in the chain of how anti-immigrant policies may impact the health of all Latinos. Promoting policies which engender discrimination may have the unintended consequence of worsening health among a growing segment of the US population. Click here for the full article.

Photo of Dr. Lindsay RosenfeldRosenfeld Presents at APHA 2016 Annual Meeting and Expo

November 2016

Dr. Lindsay Rosenfeld, ScD, ScM, ICYFP Scientist and Lecturer, presented on the PREPARED and NOURISH research projects at the American Public Health Association (APHA) 2016 annual meeting and expo in Denver, CO. The conference, “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health,” occurred from Oct. 29- Nov. 2.

The PREPARED oral presentation, “Parents of young children with disabilities: New critical thinking strategies to support participation at home and in the community,” reflected findings from literature review, interviews, and focus groups centered on barriers to young children with disabilities’ participation in physical, social, and service environments and parents’ strategies to overcome these barriers. This work was done in collaboration with Ms. Melissa Demir Levin (Sargent College, Boston University), ICYFP Director Dr. Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Ms. I-Ting Hwang (Sargent College, Boston University), and Dr. Jessica Kramer (Sargent College, Boston University).

Dr. Lindsay Rosenfeld also presented “Compliance with new school nutrition standards for competitive foods and beverages: NOURISH, A Massachusetts example,” a joint project with Dr. Juliana Cohen (Merrimack College & Harvard School of Public Health), Ms. Mary Gorski (Harvard University), Mr. Andrés J. Lessing (Independent Consultant), Dr. Eric Rimm (Harvard School of Public Health), and Dr. Jessica Hoffman (Northeastern University). This research explored compliance, finances, and major themes of food service directors’ concerns in implementing competitive food and beverage standards that are similar to USDA's Smart Snacks in School standards.

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