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Working Poor Families Project;
This policy brief reports on the first three years of an initiative to work directly with five WPFP state partners in AR, CO, GA, KY, and NC to enhance their state's commitment and ability to serve and support adults and children collectively as well as drive local programs to do so by reviewing the efforts of the five state partners. After first providing more background on Two-Generation efforts across the U.S. in recent years, this brief discusses: 1) the WPFP concept and approach to the initiative; 2) the work of the five state partners, including the state systems identified for this work and specific items identified for improvement within those systems as well as progress to date; and 3) lessons learned and observations of this work with a clear recognition of the challenges and complexities inherent in undertaking systems change work.
Unintended pregnancy can have significant, negative consequences for individual women, their families and society as a whole. An extensive body of research links births resulting from unintended or closely spaced pregnancies to adverse maternal and child health outcomes and myriad social and economic challenges. In 2011, the most recent year for which national-level data are available, 45% of all pregnancies in the United States were unintended, including three out of four pregnancies to women younger than 20, and there were 45 unintended pregnancies per every 1,000 women aged 15–44, a rate significantly higher than that in many other developed countries. If current trends continue, more than half of all women in the United States will experience an unintended pregnancy by the time they reach age 45. And economically disadvantaged women are disproportionately affected by unintended pregnancy and its consequences: In 2011, the unintended pregnancy rate among women with a family income lower than the federal poverty level, at 112 per 1,000, was more than five times the rate among women with an income greater than 200% of poverty (20 per 1,000).
Arkansas Community Foundation;
Food waste. Something that's hard to imagine in a state where so many lack access to nutritious and consistent meals. With many hunger-relief programs spreading throughout the state, our communities are making significant steps towards eliminating food insecurity. But what about programs addressing the need to put an end to massive amounts of food that is wasted? According to the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. is never eaten. The average super market wastes 10 percent of its food and an average Ameri-can family spends $2,000 on food they end up throwing out. For a country with more than 46 million of its people suffering from food insecurity, how can food waste simultaneously be an issue? Working to understand how food waste happens is the first step in finding a solution. The three most common opportunities for improvement occur on farms, at consumer-facing businesses and in households.
Our House, Inc.;
Homelessness remains a major social issue affecting communities across the United States. While the harsh realities of homelessness and its effect on the lives of adults are severe, its ramifications on families with children are extreme and unacceptable. Homeless and near-homeless families can be rescued from the severity of poverty through preventitive social programs specifically designed and implemented to address their needs. Our House, Inc., an Arkansas nonprofit organization, has adopted a successful two-generation approach model to resolve homelessness in Little Rock. This article highlights the operations of Our House as a promising, nationally replicable practice model.
Violence Policy Center;
The U.S. Department of Justice has found that women are far more likely to be the victims of violent crimes committed by intimate partners than men, especially when a weapon is involved. Moreover, women are much more likely to be victimized at home than in any other place.This study provides a stark reminder that domestic violence and guns make a deadly combination. According to reports submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), firearms are rarely used to kill criminals or stop crimes. Instead, they are all too often used to inflict harm on the very people they were intended to protect.
Walton Family Foundation, Inc.;
Northwest Arkansas residents were recently asked to share their perceptions of satisfaction with life in the region. In the survey of over 1,000 residents in Benton and Washington counties, 95% reported being "very happy" or "fairly happy" with aspects of Northwest Arkansas life directly impacted by foundation investments in downtowns, cultural amenities, and the Razorback Regional Greenway trail system. The survey was commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation evaluation unit and was designed to gauge the extent to which residents are satisfied with life in the region and view Northwest Arkansas as a great place to live. The survey was first conducted in 2012 and then again in 2015 with the support of The Wolfgang Frese Survey Research Laboratory at Mississippi State University. The follow-up was conducted to determine if levels of satisfaction with the region's livability have changed over the past three years. Northwest Arkansas cultural amenities supported by foundation investments have seen positive shifts in usage since the 2012 survey. At Crystal Bridges alone, the number of residents who reported visiting the museum is up 21 percentage points. The increase in attendance at Crystal Bridges by Hispanic residents outpaces the overall attendance growth with an increase of 32 percentage points. The Walton Family Foundation's strategic focus on creating a regional sense of place is reflected in survey results with 69% of Northwest Arkansas residents reporting accessing trails in the last 12 months. Additionally, over one-third of residents reported an increase in visits to downtowns over the last year. The results of the quality of life survey will help the Walton Family Foundation and other regional organizations make strategic decisions moving forward. For example, residents expressed concern about the affordability of early childhood education and the need for more transportation options. These areas of concern present opportunities for the foundation as well as other entities that have a goal of improving quality of life in Northwest Arkansas. In addition to the initiatives backed by the foundation, there were other key learnings from the survey. A low crime rate, civic engagement and feelings of acceptance by the community were included as factors that lead to a happy life in Northwest Arkansas, and why people want to stay in the community.
American Journal of Agricultural Economics;
Families in low-income neighborhoods sometimes lack access to supermarkets that provide a broad range of healthy foods. We investigate whether these so called "food deserts" play a role in childhood obesity using a statewide panel data set of Arkansas elementary schoolchildren. We use fixed-effects panel data regression models to estimate the average food desert effect. We next compare children who left (entered) food deserts to children who were always (never) in food deserts and homogenize samples for those whose food desert status changed as a result of a change in residence and those whose status changed only as a consequence of the entry or exit of a supermarket. We present evidence that exposure to food deserts is associated with higher z-scores for body mass index. On average, this is in the neighborhood of 0.04 standard deviations. The strongest evidence and largest association is among urban students and especially those that transition into food deserts from non-deserts. Our food desert estimates are similar in magnitude to findings reported in earlier work on diet and lifestyle interventions targeting similarly aged schoolchildren. That said, we are unable to conclude that the estimated food desert effect is causal because many of the transitions into or out of food deserts result from a change in residence, an event that is endogenous to the child's household. However, there is evidence that food deserts are a risk indicator and that food desert areas may be obesogenic in ways that other low-income neighborhoods are not.
Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED);
The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at Americans' financial security today and their opportunities to create a more prosperous future. It assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 130 outcome and policy measures, which describe how well residents are faring and what states are doing to help them build and protect assets. The Scorecard enables states to benchmark their outcomes and policies against other states in five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care, and Education.
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service;
The Good to Great Initiative is a collaboration of organizations, local community leaders, policymakers, and educators working to develop and implement strategies that improve the quality of early education in Arkansas. The initiative is designed to establish a model to expand access to quality early childhood education in Arkansas and to create tools and public will to scale the model in our state, region, and country.This publication includes papers from two of the Center's Scholars in Residence.
Arkansas Advocates for Children & Families;
Th is is the story of how two rural Arkansas communities worked to improve educational outcomes for their children. It started with a national philanthropic organization and six Arkansas partners coming together. In late 2013, offi cials from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) came to Arkansas and talked with preschool advocates about expanding preschool services. Th ere had been remarkable progress followed by a period of stagnation. Arkansas's preschool campaign was at a turning point.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation;
Highlights findings on how the Cash and Counseling program, which allows Medicaid enrollees with personal care services to hire their own care workers, affected nursing facility use and expenditures as well as personal care and Medicaid costs in Arkansas.