Parental Incarceration Increases Children’s Risk of Substance Abuse, Anxiety in Adulthood

Mom holding kid hand through prison bars August 23, 2019

Children of incarcerated parents are six times more likely than other children to develop a substance use disorder as adults and nearly twice as likely to have diagnosable anxiety, according to new research from the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University.

In addition, children whose parents were incarcerated are more likely to encounter significant hurdles transitioning into adulthood, including being charged with a felony (35% vs. 11.5%), dropping out of high school (25.5% vs. 5.0%), becoming a teenage parent (14.3% vs. 2.8%), experiencing financial strain (37.2% vs. 17.5%), and being socially isolated (24.5% vs. 9.4%), the study found.

For more information on the study and key findings, access the news release or download the full report.

My plea to 2020 candidates: Talk less about student loans, much more about the very young

Photo of Kenneth A. Dodge, the founding director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy July 30, 2019

In an op-ed in USA Today, Kenneth Dodge urges 2020 Democratic presidential candidates to focus more on infants and young children when it comes to investing in families: “As we lean in to election season, candidates are vying for votes by appealing to families. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want to cancel college loan debt. Sen. Cory Booker supports baby bonds, which are really young-adult bonds that provide a gift of up to $46,000 when a child turns 18. It is time candidates listen to what families really want and need: support for raising their babies and young children in the first five years of life.”

Read more >> USA Today »

New Study Sheds Light on Varying Degrees of Food Insecurity Among Low-Income Families

Two young girls staring into empty fridge July 9, 2019

Food insecurity is often thought of as a state of economic well-being, with families being categorized as either food secure or insecure. However, a new study from the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University sheds light on the varying degrees to which low-income families experience food insecurity on a day to day basis. Published online in the Journal of Marriage and Family on July 9, the study, co-authored by Anna Gassman-Pines, leveraged daily survey reports from a sample of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient parents with young children to examine daily variability in food insecurity within the SNAP benefit cycle. Based on the survey results and analysis, the study concludes that SNAP recipients experience considerable instability in their food insecurity from one day to the next, and that the severity of recipients’ daily food insecurity is higher at the end of the SNAP month than at the beginning. These findings add to growing evidence that SNAP benefits may not be sufficient to many families. For more information on the study and key findings, access the news release or download the full report.


Cooper boosts parental leave for 56,000 state employees

Mother and Father happily cuddling infant June 5, 2019

A recent study from the Center for Child and Family Policy about paid family leave in North Carolina is connected to Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order creating a paid parental leave benefit for most N.C. state employees. The study, co-authored by Anna Gassman-Pines and Liz Ananat, showed paid family leave insurance in North Carolina would reduce infant mortality, nursing home costs, and use of state government assistance. The signing of the executive order comes two months after the release of the study report. Findings from the report were also referenced during the signing ceremony.


Virtual Pre-K? General Assembly considers controversial proposal for NC experiment

Photo of Kenneth A. Dodge, the founding director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy April 18, 2019

Kenneth Dodge was quoted in NC Policy Watch about a controversial proposal recently introduced by North Carolina lawmakers that would offer state-funded online preschool for low-income families. In the article, Dodge says that North Carolina’s four-year-olds would be better served by more preschool seats than an online school.

“My hypothesis is that it would be a failure because the value in Pre-K is less about the skill-learning in reading and math and more about skill-learning in social-emotional domains such as self-regulation, turn-taking, cooperation, waiting in line, social problem-solving, relating to peers and adults, and the other behaviors involved in going to school,” states Dodge. “I think the state’s response to the shortage of preschool seats should be to increase the number of preschool seats.

NC Policy Watch »

BLOG: Leslie Babinski serves as Principal for a Day at Durham elementary school

April 15, 2019

I always knew school principals had a big job, but my recent stint as “Principal for a Day” made it very clear how complex and multifaceted even just a few hours of a principal’s life can be. Thanks to the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce and their efforts to bring business and community leaders in schools together, I had the pleasure of shadowing Dr. Shaneeka Moore-Lawrence, principal of Bethesda Elementary School in Durham Public Schools, on her morning rounds.

Within the first 15 minutes, Dr. Moore-Lawrence handed me the school’s intercom speaker and the hand-crank tornado siren. My task was to first introduce myself as “Principal for the Day,” then announce the state-wide tornado drill – all while cranking an incredibly loud siren, which immediately halted all school activities.

Read more »

OPINION: Paid leave is about our families and our future

Man carrying his sleeping son. Newborn baby boy in his father's arms. April 11, 2019

In an op-ed on, Jeannine Sato, Communications Strategist at Duke OIT, writes about the need for paid family leave in North Carolina and references new Center research that examines the possibilities for instituting statewide paid family leave insurance in NC. “The Duke Center’s study shows that we can do better. Not only can North Carolina create a healthier environment for kids and families, we can do it for less than $2 per week per worker,” writes Sato. “I urge the General Assembly to seriously review the benefits a paid family leave program would provide to our state.” »

People Kill People. But the Bullets Seem to Matter.

Philip Cook, Duke University March 27, 2019

At the center of the debate about gun control lies the question of whether the availability of deadly weapons increases the seriousness of crime. Critics of gun control contend it doesn’t. As the popular bumper sticker argues: “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”

In a study published last year in JAMA Network Open, Center Faculty Fellow Phil Cook set out to test that slogan — and found the type of weapon matters.

In an interview with the New York Times, Cook shares about findings from the study, which examined the type of weapon used in every fatal and nonfatal shooting in Boston from 2010 to 2015. The study found that regardless of the time of day, the number of wounds or the circumstances of the crime — the size of the bullet affected which gunshot victims lived and which ones died

New York Times »

Research Into Police Probes Is Crucial, Ignored Part of Gun Violence Prevention

Philip Cook, Duke University March 25, 2019

“In the pursuit of evidence-based gun violence prevention, it only makes sense that the research incorporate the front-line capacity for preventing violence and determine how to make it more effective,” says Center Faculty Fellow Phil Cook in an op-ed in Youth Today. Cook explains the vital role of effective law enforcement in gun violence prevention and makes the case for why developing and evaluating police investigation methods should be a central aspect of the research agenda for preventing gun violence.

Youth Today » Juvenile Justice Information Exchange »