Policy: Improving Children’s Lives
POLICY: IMPROVING CHILDREN'S LIVES
WHAT DETERMINES PUBLIC POLICY FOR CHILDREN?
TYPES OF PUBLIC POLICY
CHILDREN IN POVERTY: A SOCIAL POLICY CHALLENGE
ECONOMICHARDSHIP ANSOCIAD ISADVANTAGE
EFFECTS OPOVERTY OCHILDREN
PROGRAMS TR EVERSEFFECTS OPOVERTY
Learning from Living Leaders: Jack P. Shonkoff
Learning from Living Leaders: Deborah A. Phillips
Welfare Reform Policies
Learning from Living Leaders: Lindsay Chase-Lansdale
Input and Outcome: Getting What You Pay For
Real-World Application: Early Intervention with Children in Poverty
CHILD CARE: A PROBLEM LACKING UNIFIED POLICY
CHOOSINGCHILDCARE: WHA’S APARENT TDO?
Types of Child Care
EFFECTS OCHILDCARE OC HILDREN
Quality of Child Care Matters
What Is Quality Care?
Time in Child Care
Learning from Living Leaders: Kathleen McCartney
HOW CAN POLICH EL?
Research up Close: The Florida Child Care Quality Improvement Study
TEENAGE PREGNANCY: CHILDREN HAVING CHILDREN
Bet You Thought That . . . More Teens Are Having Sex Than Ever Before FACTORSLEADING TTEENPREGNANCY
OUTCOMES OT EENPREGNANCIES
Problems for the Teenage Mothers
Problems for Children of Teenage Mothers
Problems for Other Family Members
Problems for Teenage Fathers
Into Adulthood: When Teen Mothers Grow Up
Support from the Media
Sex Education in Schools
Learning from Living Leaders: Kristin Anderson Moore
SUPPORT FOTEENAGEM OTHERS
CHILD ABUSE WITHIN THE FAMILY
CHILDABUSE: A AMILYAFFAIR
THEE COLOGY OCHILDABUSE
Cultural Context: Child Abuse and Children’s Rights
Programs that Prevent Abuse
Insights from Extremes: Suggestive Interrogations and Legal Policy
Federal and State Policies
At the Movies Learning Objectives
1. Describe the trade-offs and compromises involved in policy decisions.
2. Define and distinguish between primary and secondary prevention policies.
3. Discuss the different types of policies including economic improvement, service oriented,
parent-directed intervention, intervention with parents and children, and those that target
4. Describe the social disadvantage of those living in poverty.
5. Summarize the effects of poverty on children.
6. Describe programs, such as Head Start, that have set out to reverse the effects of poverty for
7. Describe welfare reform (i.e., PRWORA and TANF).
8. Discuss the effects of TANF.
9. Discuss the importance of investing in policies to improve their effectiveness.
10. Explain what parents in the United States, with no uniform policy, face in making decisions
about child care (e.g., cost, convenience quality).
11. Distinguish between different types of available child care.
12. Summarize the findings regarding the effects of quality child care on children. Explain what
quality child care entails.
13. Summarize the effects of the amount of time spent in child care.
14. Discuss how a unified government policy on child care might improve the availability of care,
increase parent knowledge about quality care, providing money to pay for care, to supplement
caregivers’ wages, to regulate quality, and to limit the number of hours children spend in child
15. Discuss the problem of teenage pregnancy in the United States.
16. Describe the factors that lead to teenage pregnancy.
17. Explain the problems that teenage mothers, the children of teenage mothers, other family
members, and teenage fathers face.
18. Describe the different policies that could help to reduce teenage pregnancy (support from the
media, sex education in the schools).
19. Describe how policy may help support teenage mothers.
20. Discuss the prevalence of child abuse in the United States.
21. Distinguish between physical and sexual abuse and child neglect.
22. Describe the factors that make abuse more likely to occur.
23. Summarize the findings regarding the consequences of abuse. 24. Describe policies and programs to prevent abuse and protect children from abuse. Student Handout 13-1
Definitions, Aims, and Types of Social Policy
• Social policy refers to a set of planned actions whose goal is solving a social problem or
attaining a social goal; government-based social policy is referred to as public policy.
• Social policies are designed to provide information, funding for programs and services,
services to prevent or solve problems, and an infrastructure to support efforts on behalf of
• Policy decisions represent compromises based on societal needs, budgetary limitations, and
political agendas. Policy makers increasingly use scientific information as one basis for
• Programs may be focused on prevention or intervention. Primary prevention policies alter
social and environmental conditions to reduce the likelihood that social problems will develop.
Secondary prevention policies provide services for at-risk groups. Policy-based interventions
involve treating children and families who have already been identified as having problems.
• In the United States, 18 percent of children live in poverty.
• Poor parents generally have limited power, feel helpless and insecure, have little choice of
occupation or housing, and are vulnerable to job loss and unemployment.
• Poverty makes child rearing difficult and leads to adverse outcomes for children.
• Poverty affects children through poor-quality home environments, high rates of parental
physical and emotional problems and conflicts, neighborhoods characterized by social
disorganization and limited resources, and increased family disruptions.
• Among the best-known programs for poor children is Head Start, which has reported modest
gains in children’s academic and social performance.
• Welfare reform involving supplemental income is linked to improved school engagement and
social behavior; younger children benefit more than older children.
• More than two thirds of children in the United States are cared for by someone other than their
parents partly because of maternal employment and geographic mobility.
• In choosing child care, parents balance cost, convenience, and quality. However, most do little
• Major care forms are care in the child’s own home, care in a family child care home, and care
in a center. Centers are most likely to emphasize educational opportunities, peer contacts, and
materials and equipment, and to be licensed and regulated.
• Children in high-quality care are more sociable, considerate, compliant, controlled, and
• prosocial; they are better adjusted, less angry and defiant, have higher self-esteem and better
relationships with their child care caregivers than children in poor-quality care.
• Child care in the United States lacks unified government policy. Parents pay for child care
costs themselves unless they are poor and receive a welfare supplement or are eligible for a
government-subsidized program. • Possible policies to improve child care include increasing parental knowledge about its effects,
providing parents with more money to pay for it, supplementing wages of child care workers as
a way to reduce turnover, and regulating quality standards.
• Nearly 18 percent of teenage girls in the United States become pregnant—the highest rate of
teen pregnancy in industrialized nations.
• Teens who become pregnant are more likely than those who do not to have low selfconfidence
and limited educational aspirations, to belong to an ethnic minority, to have unsupervised time,
to live without their father, to view sexually oriented TV, to engage in sexual activity, and to
come from a family in which parents are poor, uneducated, nonreligious, and unresponsive to
• More than half of pregnant teens decide to keep their babies and become single mothers. Teen
mothers are likely to quit school, go on public assistance, and live in poverty.
• Children of teen mothers are likely to have behavior problems and low self-control. Lack of
economic resources, less competent parenting, and higher rates of abuse and neglect contribute
to these poor child outcomes.
• Adolescent males are more likely to become fathers if they are poor and prone to behavior
problems. Lack of responsibility, poor earning power, and family interference all contribute to
a decline in father-child contact over time.
• Policies to reduce rates of teen pregnancy involve comprehensive sex education; abstinence-
only programs are not effective.
• Education and employment assistance and marriage support for teenage mothers could reduce
the negative outcomes for them and their children.
• In 2006, nearly 1 million cases of child abuse or neglect were substantiated in the United
States. Young children are particularly likely to be victims.
• Mothers are frequently the ones who physically abuse their children partly because they spend
more time with them than other family m