Improving children’s health on the front lines of care
Children’s HealthWatch is a nonpartisan network of pediatricians, public health researchers, and children’s health and policy experts committed to improving children’s health in America.

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An Atlanta hospital takes on the city's housing crisis

Originally posted on NPR. BIELLO: Mercy Care in Atlanta is not alone. In the last decade or so, several health care systems across the U.S. have made significant investments in affordable housing. Boston Medical Center has made no-interest…
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Some CPS parents are just getting summer 2022 pandemic food benefit cards now, with no explanation

Originally posted on CBS News. Dr. Deborah Frank is a professor of child health and wellbeing at Boston University School of Medicine. "Yes, somebody should be communicating," Frank said. "So again, the more, though, you can streamline…
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USDA Proposes Science Driven Updates to Foods Provided Through WIC | What They’re Saying

Originally posted on USDA. Proposed changes promote nutrition security and maternal and child health, increase flexibility for participants WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2022 – This month, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that…
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Immigrant-Inclusive Policies Promote Child and Family Health

In this issue of AJPH, findings by Miller et al. (p. 1738) suggest that anti-immigrant rhetoric and proposed changes to public charge during the early years of the Trump administration significantly reduced federal nutrition assistance program…
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Financial Coaching Offers New Paths To A Healthy Future

With the enhanced Child Tax Credit, “we found that families were better able to afford food, catch up on rent, and parents reported better health outcomes,” says Allison Bovell-Ammon, director of policy strategy for Children’s Health Watch,…
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Changes in Economic Hardships Arising During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Differences by Nativity and Race

Abstract Hardships in early childhood impact health. Few longitudinal studies have examined pandemic-related hardships among families with young children by race/ethnicity or nativity. We used prospective longitudinal data from 1,165…
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Tightening abortion laws reignite conversation around a permanent Child Tax Credit

Originally posted on Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper. Many families that were helped are struggling again The child tax credit expansion reduced food insufficiency by 26% in 2021, according to Allison Bovell-Ammon, who has studied the…
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The Healthy Families EITC Coalition is Deeply Disappointed that Permanent Tax Relief for Families with Low Incomes has Been Removed from Final Economic Development Legislation

This week Massachusetts legislative leaders announced that they had reached an agreement on an economic development package that they state will “help ease the financial strain brought on by challenging economic conditions in Massachusetts…

Our Policy Focus Areas

Children’s HealthWatch research and policy analysis specifically focuses on the child health and developmental impacts of economic hardships with a particular focus on food insecurity, unstable housing, health care hardships and inability to afford adequate household energy.

  • Consistent access to food for all family members is crucial for ensuring children are healthy. Food and nutrition assistance programs are an essential cornerstone in supporting the health and well-being of low-income families.

  • Stable housing supports healthy growth and development among young children, and means families are not behind on rent, moving frequently, doubled up, overcrowded, or homeless. Policies that create affordable housing options that provide access to safe, stable housing help ensure young children and their families can thrive and be successful in life.

  • Maintaining consistent utility services so homes are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer is critical for children’s health and safety. Energy supports protect families from the harmful health effects of having their utilities shut off.

  • Health Care Hardships

    When families are forced to choose between paying for health care, such as medical care and prescriptions, and other basic needs such as food, rent, child care, or utility bills, that decision can have an effect on the health and wellbeing of young children. Providing supports necessary to care for children, especially those with special health care needs, is crucial for improving child health.

  • Alleviating economic hardships for families with young children will require comprehensive policy solutions including improvements to nutrition assistance programs, increasing access to affordable housing, providing energy assistance, making work pay through reducing cliff effects and increasing  and expanding access to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, providing affordable child care to all children, and supporting the health and development of all children.

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A Historical Retrospective of Food Insecurity and Hunger Since the 1960’s

Published in September 2022, Children's HealthWatch and Project Bread's new historical retrospectives examine the history of food insecurity and hunger since the 1960’s. This first brief describes how unemployment rates and income instability and resulting rates of poverty and food insecurity in the US have evolved over time. The second brief describes how shifts in federal investments from the public food assistance system to the private food assistance system were used to justify cuts to Federal Nutrition Programs that adversely impacted rates of food insecurity. Both briefs provide information to re-ignite and energize conversations toward identifying solutions to address food insecurity so that all children and adults in the Commonwealth have enough food to thrive. Learn more below.
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A Historical Retrospective of Food Insecurity and Hunger Since the 1960’s

Published in September 2022, Children's HealthWatch and Project Bread's new historical retrospectives examine the history of food insecurity and hunger since the 1960’s. This first brief describes how unemployment rates and income instability and resulting rates of poverty and food insecurity in the US have evolved over time. The second brief describes how shifts in federal investments from the public food assistance system to the private food assistance system were used to justify cuts to Federal Nutrition Programs that adversely impacted rates of food insecurity. Both briefs provide information to re-ignite and energize conversations toward identifying solutions to address food insecurity so that all children and adults in the Commonwealth have enough food to thrive. Learn more below.

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