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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The Farm Bill

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) ensures families can put food on their table and have the nutrition they need to thrive. For families with young children especially, SNAP offers a foundation for health and learning so they…
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Pediatrician at NIFA housing summit: ‘Health, wealth and housing — you can’t separate them.’

LINCOLN — Mouse droppings led to a “eureka moment” for Dr. Megan Sandel, who at the time was a pediatric resident in Boston. Sandel, speaking Wednesday in Nebraska, back then had been caring for a child who was admitted to the intensive…
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Diagnosing the youth mental health crisis? Don’t forget housing and extreme heat

THE CITY OF BOSTON recently announced a new $21 million initiative to address the urgent need for more mental health services and programs for youth and families. This announcement follows a report from the Boston Public Health Commission detailing…
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Important New WIC Rule

The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released a final rule that updated the food package using the most up-to-date science on child nutrition for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children…
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Women’s History Month: A Cause for Celebration, A Cause for Concern

During Women’s History Month, we often reflect on and celebrate the achievements of women around the world, particularly in the face of unimaginable obstacles. While we’ve come a very long way, and every generation further cements the power…
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Immigrant Advocates Call For Tax Credit Equity

Originally published on State House News Service. Immigrant advocates on Thursday lobbied for expanded eligibility of a tax credit that's seen as a key tool to prevent poverty and improve education outcomes among low-income households. About…
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In Hospitals, Affordable Housing Gets the Long-Term Investor It Needs

Originally published in The New York Times. Hospitals can also use another key resource: their own land and property. Boston Medical Center and Trinity Health both have plans to build affordable housing complexes on their own properties. John…
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Explaining "A Short Adverse Experiences Measure Among Mothers of Young Children"

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are a specific set of household-level adversities children may experience, including emotional and physical abuse, neglect, and other household stressors. Since the concept was first introduced in a 1998…
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A Short Adverse Experiences Measure Among Mothers of Young Children

OBJECTIVES: Screening for parental adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in pediatric settings can be burdensome because of the questionnaire’s length and sensitive nature. Rapid screen- ing tools may help address these…

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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