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March 2015

When One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Differing Outcomes for Foster Children in Group Homes

  • In this brief from the Chicago Policy Review, Emily Feldhake summarizes the findings of an exploratory study about children in foster care group homes by researchers at the University of Maryland. The researchers were especially interested in the children’s length of stay and psychosocial functioning, which was measured by the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) assessment. Their findings suggest that boys may benefit from group home placements, while girls and children with lower initial levels of need may experience negative impacts on long-term wellbeing in this type of residential setting.

Are the Children Well? A Model and Recommendations for Promoting the Mental Wellness of the Nation’s Young People

  • dad and kidsFostering wellness among children is the focus of this policy brief from Child Trends and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Because much of brain development occurs during childhood, children are especially vulnerable to risk factors for mental illness. If we want our youth to thrive, the authors argue that home environments must be stable and communities must emphasize wellness. The brief includes several policy recommendations, including: more funding for mental health programs and professionals, supports so parents won’t have to choose between work and parenting, and increasing access to high-quality child care.

Mindfulness in the Classroom

  • Studies have shown significant gains in self-regulation and executive functioning for students who participate in classroom mindfulness programs. At inner-city schools in Lancaster, PA, developing attention control through mindfulness helps special education students learn to calm themselves and develop self-awareness. The Nantucket New School also offers a mindfulness-based social and emotional learning curriculum.

A New Majority: Low Income Students Now a Majority in the Nation’s Public Schools

  • girl outsideThis research bulletin from the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), brings attention to the sobering fact that now, the majority of students attending public schools in America come from low-income households. SEF has documented this growing trend over the last several decades, noting that the U.S. had been heading toward this majority for some time. SEF expresses concerns that our schools are in danger of perpetuating the gap between the rich and poor. It stresses the need to address the question of how we will improve public education to give these students a good chance to succeed.