• By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Monday 22nd October, 2007

How Penn State has written a strategy for effective intervention

Since it was established in 1997 Penn State’s Prevention Research Center (PRC) has become a focal point for the connection between prevention science, policy and practice.Success of the work on home territory has led to wide application of its methods in trials across the world. Earlier in the month, Prevention Action reported on a presentation by PRC director Mark Greenberg in Belfast Ireland,…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Friday 19th October, 2007

Can several thin reeds ever make a strong policy boat?

Thomas Cook and Vivian Wong, Northwestern UniversityThe universal pre-K movement seems to be winning its political campaign, thanks in part to social science and to the dominant, empirically-supported theory in education that when students are truly and enduringly engaged in learning, individual achievement increases and the national stock of knowledge and national productivity prospers. To increa…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Thursday 18th October, 2007

Getting the measure of the 'mileage' of preschool care

W. Steven Barnett, Rutgers UniversityLike many other analyses of the benefits and costs of public early care and education (ECE), Jens Ludwig and Deborah Phillips's Social Policy Report on Head Start relied on three studies that constitute a kind of Rosetta stone for the economics of ECE. They are the Perry Preschool (Barnett, 1996; Belfield, Nores, Barnett, & Schweinhart, 2005), Abecedarian (Barn…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Wednesday 17th October, 2007

Reading, writing and IT – all in good time

More resources are being made available this week to support a community effort to improve Northern Ireland primary school children's academic and computer skills. The 'Time to' series of programs, which places volunteers from local businesses into primary schools, has launched a website to provide schools, businesses, volunteers, children and parents with online resources.‘Time To’ is in the…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Wednesday 17th October, 2007

DRAFT Elite College prep programs for dropouts

Most agree that keeping kids in school is a worthy goal, but there’s surprisingly little information about how to do it. Drop-out prevention programs abound, but few have been rigorously evaluated. It’s not clear what works. Some programs focus on the behavior or learning problems that lead kids to drop out. Others – such as academic alternative schools – “resemble elite college prep pro…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Monday 15th October, 2007

When pessimism only makes matters worse

“The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves but how she’s treated.” So explains Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion. The idea that people, at least sometimes, behave according to how they are treated (rather than treated in response to their behavior) is called the Pygmalion Effect or self-fulfilling prophecy.Can the beliefs of one person in…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Sunday 14th October, 2007

Might measuring the way that they do it be the way to get results?

SAMHSANOT RIGHT Mental illness might appear to be the most private of struggles. However, the US government is investing over $1 billion to make these private problems more of a public concern and to marshal resources in 125 communities to provide better care for children with mental health problems. The communities receiving the federal funds are developing coordinated “systems of care” which…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Friday 12th October, 2007

Election fever disguises decisions on UK children's services spending

The ill-tempered aftermath of a bout of election fever in the UK overshadowed the first pre-Budget report by new Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling. Media scrutiny focused on inheritance tax, and the possibility that the Government was stealing the ideas of the Conservative opposition, but beneath the political veneer, important decisions were being made about expenditure on children.UK…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Wednesday 10th October, 2007

Prejudice divides US society fifty years after desegregation

Fifty years after nine African-American high school students from Little Rock, Arkansas, put an end to unlawful educational segregation in the Deep South, research suggests that racial prejudice in the US is still a national problem cutting across social class and culture. The explicit aim of the historic 1954 US Supreme Court ruling which led to the Little Rock campaign was to provide equal acces…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Tuesday 09th October, 2007

The value of looking on the brighter side

Latest research on the value of cognitive behavioral therapy includes a systematic review by an Oxford University team that explores the distinction between the closely associated effects of relieving depression and improving self-esteem.The central aim of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is to modify a person’s broad perception of him or herself and the world. It teaches individuals suffering…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Monday 08th October, 2007

Scottish smoking ban is good for children

There will always be a risk with public health legislation that an apparently well designed measure confidently remedying a population-wide problem has some unforeseen, adverse knock-on effect.So, in the case of the ban on smoking in public places, researchers at the Child and Adolescent Health Research Unit at Edinburgh University posed the question: what if the benefits of the reduction in child…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Friday 05th October, 2007

What prevention science can offer all Ireland's children

Prevention strategies hold the key to improving and safeguarding the health and development of children in the island of Ireland, a leading advocate of prevention science told an influential group of Northern Ireland policy makers and practitioners in Belfast last night.US Professor Mark Greenberg, Director of the Prevention Research Center at Penn State University, said the benefits were beyond d…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Thursday 04th October, 2007

Lurgan comes together for Together 4 All

by Philomena Horner and Nuala MageeIn a week when calls from members of the Northern Ireland Assembly for a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy against crime and antisocial behavior on the streets have been tempered by arguments in favor of more rounded, innovative solutions to the underlying problems, we are pleased to be able to report on an example of just that willingness and determination to try a fr…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Tuesday 02nd October, 2007

Pay now, break out of poverty later

An Illinois academic is making the case for unprecedented investment in pre-school education as a cost effective way to help the children of poor families in the US escape the costly intergenerational cycle of social disadvantage.Greg Duncan, Professor of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University's Institute for Policy Research, has proposed a radical change in funding strategies by c…

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  • By Kevin Mount
  • Posted on Friday 28th September, 2007

Infant deaths down to ten million – or don't we really know?

Contradictory accounts of the last few weeks paint a puzzling picture of infant mortality trends. Few outcomes are as clear-cut and none is more tragic than the death of a child; concerns about the reliability of the science that drives the statistics can only add to the agonies inside international health organizations.UNICEF reports encouragingly that the number of children dying before the age…

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