Category Archives: Children (0-5 years)
How many children could possibly identify with a new Sesame Street character whose dad is in prison? Close to two million, according to many experts. A White House “Champions of Change” event yesterday honored twelve men and women who have spent their careers researching and improving the lives of children who have at least one parent in prison. That explains why Sesame Street released a new video and toolkit yesterday, as part of their "Little Children, Big Challenges" series, that tells the story of Alex, whose dad is in prison. Alex’s grown up and peer friends help him talk, and sing, about his feelings about his dad and how other people speak about his dad’s prison stay. The "Challenges" series includes issues many kids face such as divorce and a parent in the military, and the resources are distributed through therapist's offices, schools, jails and other key places to reach kids.
The White House program, led off by Domestic Policy Council director Cecilia Munoz and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, included panel discussions on the needs of kids whose parents are in jail, which is a recognized “adverse childhood experience” that can lead to poor health outcomes as children become adults. Among the problems kids of incarcerated parents can face are decreased living standards, social isolation because of the stigma they feel about having a parent in prison, and long-term or permanent separation from the incarcerated parent.
>>Watch a CBS News story on the Sesame Street program that will help support kids with incarcerated parents.
U.S. News & World Report has added a new set of rankings, “America's 50 Healthiest Counties for Kids” to its just released annual report on the Best Children’s Hospitals. The top counties have some important measures including fewer infant deaths, fewer low-birth-weight babies, fewer deaths from injuries, fewer teen births and fewer children in poverty than lower ranked counties. Most of the measures were taken from this year’s County Health Rankings, a collaboration of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
According to U.S. News, “America’s 50 Healthiest Counties for Kids,” represents the first national, county-level assessment of how health and environmental factors affect the well-being of children younger than 18 and shows that even the highest-ranking counties grapple with challenges such as large numbers of children in poverty and high teen birth rates.
>>Read the full U.S. News & World Report article.
What can happen when local partners collaborate to improve community health? In Austin, Texas, one such collaboration between the local YMCA, child safety advocacy group SafeKids Austin, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas and local elementary schools, has resulted in Project SAFE (Swimming, Aquatics, Fitness Education). The project, a free, two-week water safety and physical activity program for over 3,000 first-graders, includes an introduction to the Y, and its sliding scale fees for the kids and their families, many of whom are from underserved neighborhoods. About 20 percent of the families of kids in the project program returned to the Y facilities after their kids completed the class.We took a detour while in Austin for the ASTHO Annual Meeting to learn more about the Austin YMCA’s programs.
Not all the kids are swimmers by the end of the sessions, but most are comfortable in the water, can float on their back, know the importance of life jackets, recognize a swimmer in trouble and know “it’s not safe to run at the pool,” chime a group that has just finished up a morning lesson. That knowledge can be lifesaving, says Bret Kiester, executive director of the Hays Communities YMCA, one of the participating Y’s hosting the classes.
“Drowning is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for kids under fourteen, and many of these kids have no regular access to pools or the beach,” Kiester. On vacation, Kiester says, families may visit lakes, rivers and pools—and having no familiarity with water is often how accidents happen.