A woman in a Walmart in Texas last week who took photos of a man pushing a shopping cart with his daughter’s hair wrapped around its handle helped touch off a debate about when, or if, a bystander should intervene when a parent harshly disciplines a child in public.
The woman, Erika Burch, was with her husband, Robert, in the store in Cleveland, Tex., about 45 miles north of Houston on Sept. 19 when they spotted the girl walking extremely close to the cart. Her head was leaning at an odd angle as the man dragged her alongside the cart by her hair, Ms. Burch said in an interview.
Mr. Burch, 44, said the girl, who the police said was 5, was crying: “Please stop! I won’t do it again.” He added that she was “just begging the man to let her go.”
Here’s a scenario currently playing out across the country: A low-income family receives vouchers through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to help buy nutritious staple foods such as milk, fresh produce, and peanut butter. Under WIC, the family is eligible to receive these benefits until the child in the household turns five (when he presumably enters kindergarten). But, because of where his birthday falls in relation to the start of the school year, the child becomes ineligible to receive the benefits; the resulting gap in nutritional support can last up to a year. There’s also an increase in the likelihood that his family will have to seek emergency food relief, choose cheaper, less-nutritious (read: processed) foods, and in some cases, even skip meals.
According to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Missouri (MU), this very real scenario affects an estimated 153,000 American children every year. The study, titled “the impact of aging out of WIC on food insecurity in households with children,” was published in a recent issue of Children and Youth Services Review. Its authors analyzed a nationally representative data set that encompassed 1,350 children between the ages of four-and-a-half and six.
“Lots of people have looked at food insecurity among WIC participants, but not at this drop-off point,” says Colleen Heflin, a professor in MU’s Truman School of Public Affairs and one of the study’s authors. She and her colleagues found that 30-day food insecurity (that is, a one-month reference period for measuring a household’s difficulty in obtaining enough food due to a lack of resources) increases by an estimated 5 to 11 percent for children who age-out of WIC at the age of 61 months, but are not yet able to start kindergarten.
Health education has come a long way since 1975, when 20 state legislatures voted to restrict or abolish sex education. Today, most parents are in favor of their teenagers learning about sex and pregnancy prevention, as well as drug and alcohol abuse, healthy eating, and physical activity, according to a national health poll unveiled last week.
In addition to those oldie-but-goodie topics, the poll revealed growing support for several less traditional others: Two-thirds of parents said schools “definitely” should cover emotional and mental health issues, such as bullying, depression, and stress. The majority also would like their children to learn basic first aid, CPR, and how to use the healthcare system
“For so long, the stigma of mental health has prevented people from seeking treatment and talking about a problem, but I think this generation of parents really has a different attitude, and they see schools as a partner to help,” says University of Michigan researcher Sarah Clark, co-director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
SACRAMENTO — Foster youth advocates and Bay Area legislators on Monday told a panel of state officials that the alarming conclusions of a recent state audit highlighting California’s weak oversight of psychiatric drugs for foster kids could be solved if Gov. Jerry Brown signs three pieces of key legislation into law this week.
“The audit is troubling because it points to the fragmented” California foster care system and its “inability to monitor” the medications the state prescribes to about 9,500 foster youth, said Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose.
The audit, released Aug. 23, mirrored many findings of this newspaper’s series “Drugging Our Kids” that disclosed the state’s dependence on psychotropic medications to control troubled children in the state’s foster care system and the failure to track how the drugs are prescribed.
A new video uploaded Friday shows another case of a child standing helplessly by an adult unconscious from a drug overdose.
The scene, filmed by an onlooker in a supermarket, is the most recent public example of children who witness their parents' overdose. Earlier this month, the Ohio police department shared a graphic photo of a 4-year-old in a car with two overdosed adults sprawled out in the front seats, hoping to make a very public statement about the dangers of the continuing opioid overdose epidemic throughout the United States and its unintended consequences on children.
There is heartening news in health care about childhood obesity. New York is among several states where rates of obesity among 2- to 5-year-olds have declined. Across the age span, it seems that the skyrocketing rate of pediatric obesity has at least leveled off.
The State of Obesity website reports that obesity rates in New York toddlers dropped from 14.8 percent to 13.2 percent between 2008-2011. This small, yet significant decrease, particularly in children from low-income families, is a hopeful sign that statewide efforts to improve nutrition options for young children can be successful.
Despite some positive signs of improvement, however, up to 20 percent of children in this country are too fat. To improve the health of these children, we as a larger community, have to continue to invest the resources needed to change this trajectory.
Cut into syllables, one of Wednesday’s vocabulary words was displayed on the board in Rachel Schiff’s fourth-grade classroom in Manhattan.
The children rang out the beats:
Millions of high schoolers are having to wake up early as they start another academic year. It is not uncommon to hear comments from parents such as,
“I have a battle every morning to get my teenager out of bed and off to school. It’s a hard way to start every day.”
Sleep deprivation in teenagers as a result of early school start has been a topic of concern and debate for nearly two decades. School principals, superintendents and school boards across the country have struggled with the question of whether their local high school should start later.