Foster Care and Children's Wellbeing

Friday, May 15, 2020
Max Gross
Key Findings
  1. The Family First Prevention Services Act took effect in 2019 and incentivizes
    states to prevent placing candidate children into foster care, yet there is little
    credible research of how foster placement influences children’s lives.

  2. We provide new causal evidence of how foster care placement influences
    children’s safety and educational outcomes, focusing on public school students
    in Michigan.

  3. Our analysis indicates that candidate children who were placed in foster care
    were less likely to be abused or neglected in the future, had higher school
    attendance rates, and performed better on standardized math tests than
    those who were not placed.

  4. These findings suggest that there is much work to be done to keep vulnerable
    children safe and thriving with their families while preventing foster care
    placement. We recommend that states explore a variety of ways to improve the
    targeting, delivery, and tracking of in-home prevention services.

Six percent of all children enter the foster system by age eighteen.” Page 2

Improving Maternal and Infant Health in Michigan: The Potential of Universal Home Visiting Outreach

Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Helen Joa, Megan Foster Friedman, Robin Jacob, Melisa Schuster
Key Findings
  1. Home visiting programs have demonstrated numerous benefits for pregnant
    women, new parents, and infants. Most new parents can benefit from extra help
    and support when bringing a new baby into the world. All families should have
    access to the types of supports home visiting provides if they need it.
  2. While most maternal-infant home visiting programs target services to specific
    socioeconomic or demographic groups, a universal approach that provides
    screening and needed services to all women may improve awareness, potentially
    improve maternal and infant health, and signal that home visiting is the standard
    of care for all new mothers.
  3. Several universal approaches to home visiting operate in other regions of
    the United States and have demonstrated promising impacts on parenting
    behaviors, connections to social services, and health care use.
  4. A number of states have passed legislation encouraging universal approaches
    to home visiting, including Hawaii, Maine, and Oregon, which recently passed
    legislation encouraging statewide expansion of an existing universal home
    visiting program. However, no state as large as Michigan has taken a universal
    home visiting model to scale thus far.
  5. Michigan provides an promising context for piloting a universal approach to
    home visiting screening, assessment, and referral to test whether it reaches
    more women with pregnancy-related risk factors, and shows population-level
    impacts on infant and maternal mortality.
  6. However, a key to ensuring the success of such programs will be identifying
    appropriate funding and bolstering community capacity. Other states and
    localities have leveraged a variety of funding streams to help support similar
In Michigan, the infant mortality rate is 17% higher than the national rate.” Page 4

Career and Technical Education in Michigan: Access and Participation

Thursday, Jan 30, 2020
Brian Jacob and Jeremy Guardiola
Key Findings
  1. Approximately half of all Michigan students enroll in at least one CTE course during high school. Business, marketing, and health sciences are the most popular programs.

  2. Female, Black, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged students are less likely to participate in CTE. These gaps are smaller among students who attend the same high school, suggesting disparities in opportunity rather than student demand drive statewide participation gaps.

  3. More than 500,000 skilled trades jobs are expected to become available in Michigan through 2026, primarily in construction, manufacturing, healthcare, automotive technology, and information technology. While many CTE programs align with these high-demand fields, some exhibit low participation and completion rates.

CTE aims to equip students with knowledge and skills to thrive in the workforce.” Page 2

Grow Detroit’s Young Talent: Multi-Cohort Analysis and Completion Rates

Wednesday, Jan 15, 2020
Brian Jacob and Jeremy Guardiola
Key Findings
  1. In the years following participation, GDYT youth from the 2015, 2016, and 2017 cohorts are somewhat more likely to be enrolled in school, take the SAT, and graduate from high school compared to non-participating applicants; they are also less likely to be chronically absent. Though modest in size, these differences are statistically significant.
  2. Three-quarters of 2017 GDYT youth completed their work commitments by working at least 102 hours. The remaining 25% of youth exhibit higher rates of baseline chronic absenteeism and are more likely to be older and male. Note that youth may not complete for positive reasons (e.g. starting college, participating in sports camp).
  3. Youth who complete GDYT outperform those who work but do not complete across our academic outcomes. We must interpret these results carefully, however, as we know youth who do and do not complete their work commitments differ in a number of important ways before they ever participate in GDYT (see Finding #2).
GDYT aims to both set individual participants on stable career pathways and propel the broader city's continued economic resurgence.” Page 2

MyVoice: Youth Perspectives on Barriers to College

Thursday, Dec 19, 2019
Robin Jacob, Jasmina Camo-Biogradlija, and A. Foster
Key Findings
  1. Although cost is the most widely cited barrier, young people report many other barriers to college.
  2. Mental health challenges are a significant barrier for many students.
  3. Policy makers should attend to more than just the affordability of college when seeking to increase college access and success.
28% of the students who identify as nonbinary or transgender and 14% of female respondents indicated that mental health was a barrier to attending college compared to only 2% of men.” Page 5

Chronic Absenteeism: An old problem in search of new answers

Friday, Mar 1, 2019
Brian Jacob and Kelly Lovett
Key Findings
  1. Chronic absenteeism, which is defined as missing 10 percent of school days or more, is a growing concern for educators across the US.
  2. Absenteeism is associated with lower academic achievement and higher risk of dropping out of school.
  3. Some interventions to reduce absenteeism have shown promise, but they have primarily focused on specific populations and/or have produced relatively small improvements. It is likely that substantial improvement will require more substantial investments.
In 2013-14, roughly 14 percent of students nationwide were chronically absent.” Page 2

Using Best-Practice Research to Inform Program Revision in Juvenile Justice

Friday, Mar 1, 2019
Robin Jacob and A. Foster
Key Findings
Current opinion polling indicates that the policy swing away from harsh punishment has popular support. While some Americans feel that court-involved youth should be punished, the majority opinion is that “getting juvenile offenders the treatment, counseling, and supervision they need to make it less likely that they will commit another crime” is more important than “serious
Getting juvenile offenders the treatment, counseling, and supervision they need to make it less likely that they will commit another crime.” Page 2

Child Maltreatment and Academic Performance

Saturday, Jun 2, 2018
Brian A. Jacob and Joseph Ryan
Key Findings
  1. Approximately 18% of Michigan third graders have been formally investigated by Child Protective Services (CPS) for possible exposure to maltreatment.
  2. Across Michigan, some student groups are more likely to be investigated by CPS for suspected child maltreatment.
  3. Early childhood maltreatment is associated with signifcantly lower academic outcomes, even after we control for school, neighborhood, race, and other key demographics.
  4. Referral rates vary dramatically across districts, and even across schools within the same district. It is not unusual for one-third of students in high-poverty schools to have been investigated for abuse or neglect.
  5. While poorer school districts have higher rates of maltreatment investigations, there are important exceptions to this pattern.
On average, approximately 18% of third grade students have been subject to at least one formal investigation for child maltreatment. ” Page 2

Grow Detroit's Young Talent

Monday, Apr 2, 2018
Brian A. Jacob, Kelly Lovett and Max Gross
Key Findings
  1. Roughly 15 percent of eligible Detroit youth apply to participate in Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, the city’s summer youth employment program.
  2. Applicants come from slightly more advantaged neighborhoods and schools, and Black and female youth are more likely to apply than others.
  3. Two years after participation, GDYT youth are more likely to remain enrolled in school, less likely to be chronically absent, more likely to take the SAT, and more likely to graduate high school.
  4. The benefits of participation are largest for youth who enter high school with the weakest academic skills.
In Detroit, 22 percent of youth ages 16 to 24 are not in school and not working.” Page 2