• By Ali Abunimah
  • Posted on Monday 09th July, 2007

Care leavers still missing out on good research

In their efforts to find useful responses to persistent social problems, researchers will sometimes end up reflecting on the imperfections and inadequacies of their science.It is a bleak fact that the 20,000 US and 8,000 English young people who leave government care each year are more likely to be homeless, unemployed, and/or dependent on public assistance than their peers who have grown up at ho…

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  • By Ali Abunimah
  • Posted on Thursday 28th June, 2007

Children's futures and the big screen

Epidemiological studies suggest that between 10 and 20 percent of children in the general population have severe enough symptoms to qualify them for some form of psychiatric diagnosis. Yet fewer than half will receive services to address their problems. There are also worrying signs that mental health among young people may be deteriorating in some countries, particularly the UK.On another, simila…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Friday 15th June, 2007

Showing kids that obesity isn’t Phat

The childhood obesity epidemic is so severe in the US that policymakers are fretting about the eating habits of animated movie characters. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, for example, recently complained about the lovable – but fat – ogre 'Shrek.' “Kids love Shrek so if Shrek says, ‘Eat Cheetos,’ then kids want to eat Cheetos… So why isn't Shrek advertising fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy c…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Saturday 09th June, 2007

Growing apart: UK children have fewer trusted friends

Not only are English children more unhappy than they were in previous generations, it appears they have fewer close friends. Latest findings from a 30-year study by the Institute of Psychiatry in London indicate that today's 16-year-olds are less likely than their counterparts two decades ago to have a trusted confidant.Youth Trends research led by Dr Stephan Collishaw has made a powerful comp…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Saturday 09th June, 2007

UK regions to pilot US family support program

A home visiting program developed in America to support first-time parents is to take centre stage in a new UK government program designed to reduce social exclusion. The $13m initiative will be piloted among 1,000 families in ten English regions.Over the last decade, the UK government has made some progress in reducing poverty, but a flurry of prevention and early intervention programs has had li…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Friday 08th June, 2007

New Zealand study shows how chickens may come home to roost

First evidence that there may be a link between anti-social behavior in childhood and poor physical health in adulthood is emerging from a long-term study of men in their thirties in South Island, New Zealand. Findings from the Dunedin longitudinal study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry add to the well-established evidence on the negative social consequences of childhood mental heal…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Thursday 03rd May, 2007

Why do we sometimes care so little about what children need?

Comparisons between medical and social care services can be misleading — there is a limit to the parallels that can be drawn — but we would hardly expect a doctor to continue prescribing a certain procedure or treatment if there was no evidence for saying that it worked. So, at this most rudimentary level, why are we so accommodating when it comes to the developmental care of our children?Colu…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Wednesday 02nd May, 2007

Nursery report makes transatlantic waves

It must say something about the insecurities of parenting on both sides of the Atlantic when coverage in The Guardian newspaper of long-term research by the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development generates several yards of correspondence and weblog responses, some of it almost as lurid in its prejudices as a recording of The Jerry Springer Show.The cause of all the fuss was a…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Wednesday 02nd May, 2007

placeholder: windows on young people's worlds etc.

At the same time as it is demonstrating what good science and good practice can do for children. Prevention Action wants to reflect how young people living in different countries see the world around them — their neighbourhoods and the texture of their lives.Photography is one way to do that and an in ia growing number of schools photography classes focus on various aspects of child development,…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Tuesday 01st May, 2007

Too much of a good thing? Children are losing out on down-time

Competing ideas about organized activities for young people have taken root in the United States. The first is that adult-supervised programs that provide academic assistance, sports and recreation, or enrichment learning during out-of-school hours increase young people's safety and positive development. The second idea is that such activities, in large doses, can lead to poor adjustment. The…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Tuesday 01st May, 2007

Skills beget skills: Nobel Laureate updates view on early intervention

Nobel-prize winning economist James Heckman has long advocated the view that early investment in children yields the biggest returns. But in a recent commentary on new research findings he revises what has become conventional wisdom: "I now believe that early interventions with children are not so productive if they are not followed up with ongoing investments in children during their element…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Tuesday 01st May, 2007

Do urban adolescents benefit from out-of-school activities?

Urban adolescents need help. The effects of poverty, social isolation, and exposure to drugs and violence are well-documented. Violence among inner-city youth is now a "public health epidemic," according to Susan C. Scrimshaw, former dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois, writing in the Boston Globe.Over the years, a broad range of programs has emerged to alle…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Tuesday 01st May, 2007

Wealth over well-being: UNICEF survey highlights challenges

Press coverage of the latest UNICEF report on well-being among children in the advanced economies of the world has obscured more fundamental questions that confront rich and poor nations alike.National league table positions inevitably grab the headlines — Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark race to the top; USA and UK slide into in the relegation zone. But the truer challenge all of them face is not a…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Tuesday 01st May, 2007

Has Prime Minister Blair succumbed to false memory syndrome?

It is one thing to gossip nostalgically in a bar or across the dinner table about how much things have changed — and for the worse — since we were children growing into adolescence, but it can raise serious questions when those unreliable memories seem to be finding their way into Government policy. So Prime Minister Tony Blair’s words at the launch of the government's new Respect Zones…

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  • By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Tuesday 01st May, 2007

When togetherness can do more harm than good

“First, do no harm,” a common precept among physicians since ancient times, might well apply to educators, youth workers, policy-makers, and others who run or support programs that aim to reform deviant youth in group settings. Based on their review of 19 randomized control-trial studies of group-based programs, researchers from the Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University conclud…

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