Children and Families

Commentary

In fall 2018, we launched a new Policies for Action Research Hub at Vanderbilt to examine barriers to the healthy development and success of low-income children in Tennessee. We knew that building a strong, policy-focused research agenda would require open communication and a cooperative spirit among our state agencies and community health and education organizations.

Finding the Bright Spots: What Policies Make Communities Healthy?

Many factors influence the health and well-being of communities, including who can afford to live in them; local, state, and private-sector policies; and the availability of opportunities to live a healthy, engaged, and productive life. This project will seek to explain why some communities seem to have more opportunity and be healthier than others.

A Healthy Start to Life: How Medicaid Expansion Improves Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes

Birth outcomes, including infant mortality and low birth weight, are shockingly poor in the U.S. Researchers will assess whether the ACA increased intended pregnancies, reduced prepregnancy smoking, and affected contraception and birth outcomes among women covered by Medicaid--and whether these changes reduced disparities across racial and ethnic groups.

Credit Where It's Due: Investigating Pathways from EITC Expansion to Maternal Mental Health

While Earned Income Tax Credit expansions are typically associated with improvements in maternal mental health, little is known about the mechanisms through which the program affects this outcome. Anuj Gangopadhyaya, Fredric Blavin, Jason Gates, and Breno Braga of the Urban Institute assess the impact of more than two decades of federal expansions in EITC credits and the implementation of state-specific EITC programs on maternal mental health in a new working paper.

Paid Family Leave and Breastfeeding: Evidence from California

California was the first state to enact a paid family leave entitlement in 2002, providing eligible workers up to six weeks of paid leave. Jessica E. Pac, Ann P. Bartel, and Jane Waldfogel of Columbia University, and Christopher J. Ruhm of the University of Virginia evaluated the effect of the policy on breastfeeding in this National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper.

Sugary Cereals at Early Childhood Education Centers

Rebecca M. Schermbeck, Julien Leider, and Jamie F. Chriqui release the first-ever report on whether CACFP-participating early childhood centers are limiting sugary cereals for children aged 2-5 years. Nearly one-third of these centers failed to meet the sugar-in-cereal requirement.