Resource Library

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The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.


New Harvard paper encourages those serving young children to consider health and learning outcomes

July 20, 2020 – Young Children

A new paper from Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child explores evidence on early childhood experiences and lifelong mental and physical health to encourage stakeholder to think more broadly than just indicators of early learning. The paper focuses on the interactions and adaptations of biological systems in the body with each other and the environment as context for longterm health outcomes, including chronic illness. Authors recommend continuing to support responsive relationships, reducing sources of stress for children and caregivers, and strengthening adult caregivers’ core life skills. #mentalhealth

New NBER research estimates effects of drug crisis on children’s living arrangements

July 20, 2020 – Young Children

A paper published through the National Bureau of Economic Research uses an innovative methodology to estimate the number of children whose living arrangements have been disrupted by parental drug use. Using cause-of-death data, the authors calculate a cumulative drug-related death rate for children’s likely parents as a proxy for exposure to the drug crisis. The authors find exposure is associated with increased chances that a child’s mother or father is absent and increased chances that a child lives with a grandparent. These results are robust even after considering inter-state policy variations, community context factors, economic conditions, and other possibly influential factors, and accounts for the possibility of a reverse relationship (e.g., that separation from a child could increase parental drug use). The authors conclude that by 2015, 1.5 million children under age 16 were living away from their mother or father because of the drug crisis.

New research finds dramatic increases in New England food assistance use in pandemic

July 20, 2020 – Young Children, Families

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has published new findings on applications for food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Massachusetts and Connecticut, the two New England states with data available. The authors find that SNAP applications track closely with spikes in initial unemployment claims in both states, indicating that SNAP continues to provide an immediate avenue for ameliorating nutrition risk, as it has in earlier recessions. The authors note that applications will likely increase when expanded unemployment insurance expires at the end of July, and heightened rates are likely to persist if economic recovery is slow to arrive. #foodsecurity #covid-19

North Carolina schools take advantage of USDA waivers to meet summer meals demands

July 8, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

The Spotlight on Poverty & Opportunity blog highlights innovative efforts in North Carolina to provide school meals to students over the summer. North Carolina schools have taken advantage of the many pandemic-induced USDA waivers that normally restrict how summer meals can be offered. For example, now meals can be delivered to students, rather than eaten in a congregate setting. Programs may also deliver more than one meal at a time, so these North Carolina schools are intentionally aiming to increase efficiency—and save money—by maximizing the number of meals in each round of deliveries. Additionally, schools have used buses as key transportation for delivering meals, filling staffing gaps with volunteers. #foodsecurity #covid-19

Alabama revitalizes perinatal regionalization system to help reduce infant mortality rate

July 6, 2020 – Young Children

Historically, Alabama has high infant mortality rates. Through revitalizing the state’s perinatal regionalization system, Alabama reported a reduction in the infant mortality rate in 2017 followed by another drop in 2018 to a new record low of 7 deaths per 1,000 live births. The enhanced perinatal regionalization system helped achieve these results by facilitating the coordination of care across facilities and ensuring babies are treated at hospitals equipped to provide the appropriate level of care.

REL Mid-Atlantic study uses school and child welfare data to predict short term academic risks

July 6, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Using school and child welfare data for Pennsylvania school districts, REL MidAtlantic finds that predictive models can be used to effectively identify at-risk students. They consider short-term academic outcomes including chronic absenteeism, suspensions, course failure, low grade point average, and low scores on state tests. The idea is to successfully identify near-term challenges so that administrators and school staff can provide additional support before a problem develops or a student considers dropping out. Interestingly, researchers found that models including out-of-school predictors from human services data did not enhance the performance of the models, suggesting models using only in-school data are sufficient. #education

Households with children facing greater financial challenges during the pandemic

June 30, 2020 – Young Children

U.S. Census Bureau analysis of their Household Pulse Survey (June 4-9) found that adults in households with children have been hit hard financially amid COVID-19. Both food insufficiency and late housing payments were particularly prevalent among adults in households with children. They found that adults in households with children more often reported a late or deferred housing payment in May 2020, including rates as high as one-in-four among renter households. Authors estimated that 3.9 million children live in households experiencing pandemic-induced food insufficiency, and almost 1.3 million children live in households experiencing both pandemic-induced food insufficiency and housing insecurities. #foodsecurity #covid-19

Strategies for supporting informal child care providers

June 24, 2020 – Young Children

Mathematica, in partnership with foundations in the Bay Area and in Detroit, has been shared some of their key findings from years of work on informal child care. As questions about school and child care re-openings and capacity remain, the authors expect reduced access to formal settings and increased reliance on informal caregivers. Supporting informal caregivers and enhancing the quality of this care will become increasingly important. Such supports include promoting subsidies for informal providers (available in some states), building informal caregiver networks and incorporating informal caregivers’ input into programming that is offered around child development and education. #covid-19 #education

Maine Data Glimpse: Pandemic Shift to Remote Learning

June 17, 2020 – Older Youth, Young Children

The U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey is a unique source of timely data on how households are faring across the United States and in each state during the pandemic. Topics include household income and employment changes, mental health, food insufficiency, and the shift to remote learning. In this data glimpse, we use these new data to explore remote learning shifts in New England and the United States. #covid-19 #education

Brookings experts propose new formula to allocate federal education aid to states

June 15, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Experts at Brookings argue that future federal education aid should not be distributed through existing formulas (like the Title I formulas used to distribute CARES Act funding), which cause confusion around spending restrictions and reduce local flexibility. Instead, authors propose allocating aid based simply on child poverty rates, wherein states with higher rates would receive more aid per student. Currently, states with higher levels of child poverty tend to spend far less on education—one factor that reduces allocations under Title I. #covid-19 #education

Only 20 percent of K-12 school districts offered rigorous remote learning this spring

June 15, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

A new report from the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) finds that only about one in five K-12 school districts offered “rigorous” remote learning this spring. A remote learning plan was defined as “rigorous” if it: used online platforms to deliver content; included synchronous learning (such as over Zoom); tracked attendance or participation; and included some amount of grading. Further, only 12 percent of school districts classified as high poverty had rigorous plans. Of course, this metric assumes at-home internet access and sufficient access to devices; AEI suggests that paper packets are not as effective as online platforms, particularly when there is little grading and/or accountability attached. #covid-19 #education

Children still need physical education in remote learning environments

June 3, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

One aspect of K-12 education that has often been left out during the transition to remote learning is physical education. A University of South Carolina researcher notes that without the structure of a school day, many children are typically less physically active over the summer. This summer, with many activities canceled, children may be even less active than usual, which has implications for longer-term health and child wellbeing. The author provides age-appropriate suggestions for parents, such as playing catch with elementary students to develop motor skills. #covid-19 #education