Trend Lines Blog

Welcome to Child Trends’ blog, Trend Lines, where we share key findings from child and youth research and offer insights to inform  policies and programs.

Why Child Abuse Prevention Month Matters

sad asian babySome observances are ones you wish you did not have to mark. With some 686,000 children victimized annually by physical, mental, or sexual abuse, National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April is one of those observances.  If there is good news here, it is that reports of child abuse have been declining slightly over recent years.

Congress first drew national attention to the pervasive issue of child maltreatment in 1982 by declaring June 6-12 to be Child Abuse Prevention Week. President Reagan expanded the initiative by declaring the entire month of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This tradition carries on as various communities mark 2014’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month with demonstrations such as employees at a children’s hospital in Colorado lining up to form a giant blue ribbon to honor children in Colorado who have died from child abuse and neglect, or individuals planting blue pinwheels in parks or on the grounds of legislatures to bring community awareness to the issue of child maltreatment.

The latest figures by The Children’s Bureau’s Annual Report on Child Maltreatment provide updated statistics on our nation’s reported incidences of child abuse and neglect. Read More

The Health and Well-Being of Early Childhood Educators: A Need for Compassion and Commitment

teacher daycareIn a recent report, early childhood educators working in Pennsylvania Head Start programs reported chronic illnesses, such as obesity and headache, in significantly higher proportions than nationally representative cohorts of women of similar age and socioeconomic status. Notably, in this anonymous online survey, 24 percent of the over 2,000 Head Start staff surveyed reported clinically significant levels of depression. Read More

How Parents Make Child Care Decisions

preschool imageFor families, child care arrangements are not one-size-fits-all. Parents make child care decisions as one piece of a complex puzzle of work and family life. Constrained family finances, inflexible work schedules, and limited availability of suitable options make choices challenging for many families. But just as important are parents’ preferences, values, and worries about choosing a caregiver for their young child. Acknowledging the difficulties families face and recognizing the importance of the choice, several programs and policies aim to help parents, including child care resource and referral (CCR&R) and quality rating and improvement (QRIS) services.

How do parents make child care decisions? How can programs, providers, and policymakers work with families to help them make the best possible choice for their child and family?  Read More

Dual Language Learners and Social-Emotional Development: Understanding the Benefits for Young Children

teacher and 2 girlsChildren who are dual language learners are those who are exposed to more than one language, either simultaneously or sequentially, during the early years of life when language acquisition is taking place. While we often hear about the English proficiency of these children, what do we know about their social-emotional development? Read More

Big Data and Social Science Research

big dataIn March 2012, the Obama Administration announced the “Big Data Research and Development Initiative” to improve our ability to extract knowledge and insights from large and complex collections of digital data. At its launch, the Big Data Initiative featured more than $200 million in new commitments from six federal departments and agencies aiming to make the most of big data and the tools needed to analyze it.

Two months after that, the United Nations published the White Paper “Big Data for Development: Opportunities and Challenges,” which highlighted the opportunities and challenges of using big data in the field of international development. It says that “it is important to recognize that Big Data and real-time analytics are no modern panacea for age-old development challenges. That said, the diffusion of data science to the realm of international development nevertheless constitutes a genuine opportunity to bring powerful new tools to the fight against poverty, hunger, and disease.” Both of these announcements indicate the potential influence of big data techniques on social science research. Read More