Today's issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published an article by Professor Sean Joe and colleagues on lifetime suicide attempts among Blacks. The story was picked up by AP and printed in several major newspapers, including The New York Times, and an interview with Professor Joe was aired on NPR.
Professor Daphna Oyserman and colleagues studied Detroit-area teens' academic performance as related to feeling connected with one's racial or ethnic group. The marker was skin tone for African Americans and "looking Latino" for Latinos. They found that a feeling of fitting in does matter for school performance.
Dean Paula Allen-Meares received NASW's Knee/Wittman Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Health and Mental Health at a ceremony in Washington DC on September 27. The website provides more information, as well as photos.
The UM News Service sent a press release on Professor Matthew Howard's research indicating that youth with a history of trauma, gang involvement, and drug use are more likely to carry weapons.
Today's University Record includes an article on research conducted by Professor Daphna Oyserman and Assistant Research Scientist Deborah Bybee. They discovered that an innovative program, which helped middle school students make and meet goals, improved their academic outcomes.
UM gave a press release on a recent study by Professor Daphna Oyserman, Inna Altschul (MSW '03, PhD '06), and Assistant Research Scientist Deborah Bybee, which indicates that teens' racial identity can affect school achievement.
Today WDET mentioned this research by Professor Oyserman.
Professor Emerita Rosemary Sarri's editorial "'End of welfare as we know it' deserves another examination" was printed in The Ann Arbor News.
Editorial: 'End of welfare as we know it' deserves another examination
by Rosemary C. Sarri
The Ann Arbor News
September 12, 2006
August marked the 10-year anniversary of the Welfare Reform Act, passed in l996 to eliminate entitlement to public assistance for families with children that was initiated in l935. Politicians have hailed the legislation as a success, boasting that fewer families are receiving public assistance than before the act's passage. It must be noted, however, that "ending welfare as we know it" has had grave consequences for America's poor. Most of the families who were booted off the welfare rolls in the aftermath of the act's passage remain poor even when the parents are working full time.
Children are the group that suffers the most from "welfare reform." Since 2001, the child poverty rate has increased; for children of color of single mothers it approaches 50 percent. The majority of working poor families with children lack health benefits. Today, there are more children in out-of-home placement than there were 10 years ago. The primary reason for this increase is poverty-related neglect, rather than abuse.
Many children end up in foster care because working parents cannot provide the childcare and supervision that is needed. Parents often work irregular schedules to maintain their jobs, thereby jeopardizing child care. If a child becomes ill and the mother has to stay home to care for the child, she risks losing her job. The family may become homeless and if the parent cannot secure adequate housing, the children may be placed in foster care. Housing costs are a major obstacle for many working families with children, according to studies by the Urban Institute.
For older children of poor mothers, a lack of after-school and before-school programs means they are more likely to get into trouble (i.e. substance abuse, delinquency and sexual acting out). Most juvenile delinquency reportedly occurs between the hours of 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., when youngsters have little appropriate supervision. Poor working parents cannot supervise their children after school, and often cannot afford to enroll them sports, music or art classes. Every year thousands of these children end up in foster care, the juvenile justice system and eventually in adult prisons where the cost of their care is far greater than any public assistance the family would have received.
Here in Michigan, there are 19,000 children in foster care - 70 percent because of poverty-related neglect, not abuse. Sixty-one percent of the children in foster care are children of color, a disproportionate number given that only 30 percent of all children in Michigan are of color.
At present there is a class-action suit against the Department of Human Services because of inadequacies in our child welfare system. A major problem is a lack of appropriate foster homes; this is due to inadequate payments to foster parents along with lack of training and supervision. The average payment of $433 per month to a foster parent is about half the average cost of raising a child in the Midwest.
In Michigan, increasing numbers of children are placed with relatives. While it has been shown that children often fare better in these settings than in other foster homes, kin foster parents receive even lower state subsidies than unrelated foster parents. Michigan has no subsidized guardianship program. Nor do state agencies pay sufficient attention to permanency planning for adoption or family reunification, although federal law requires that permanent arrangements be undertaken for foster care children within 15 months of their entry into the system. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges adopted a guiding principle in l999: "All children have the right to a healthy and safe childhood in a nurturing, permanent family or in the closest substitute to a family setting."
Another problem is that state caseloads for
Professor Kathleen Coulborn Faller has been appointed Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor of Social Work. The Marion Elizabeth Blue Endowment Fund was established in 1997 through the generosity of the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Family Foundation in memory of Ann's mother, Marion Elizabeth Blue. The purpose of the Blue Endowed Chair is to provide leadership in scholarship, teaching, and service related to children and families at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. Professor Faller will be installed in a ceremony at the School on October 19.
Dean Paula Allen-Meares' op-ed, entitled "What it will take to make affirmative action unnecessary," was published in The Michigan Prospect.
Dean Paula Allen-Meares' article "One hundred years: A historical analysis of social work services in schools" has been published in School Social Work Journal (2006), special issue, 25-43. In an introduction to this issue, the editor wrote, "Paula Allen-Meares, who replicated the landmark Costin study and who now serves as Dean of the University of Michigan School of Social Work, has become an icon in the field of school social work and takes her place as one of the school social work greats."
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