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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Children’s HealthWatch’s Public Comment To Oppose USDA's Proposed Rule On SNAP Standardization Of State Heating And Cooling Standard Utility Allowances

On November 25th, Children’s HealthWatch submitted a public comment on the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) Notice of Public Rule Making (NPRM) for “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Standardization of State Heating and…
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Maternal place of birth, socioeconomic characteristics, and child health in US-Born Latinx children in Boston

Abstract Objectives: Among US-born children of Latina US (USB) and Latina foreign-born mothers (FBM), to determine whether 1) household and child characteristics differ; 2) child health outcomes differ; 3) these differences diminish for children…
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Effects of Maternal Homelessness, Supplemental Nutrition Programs, and Prenatal PM2.5 on Birthweight

Abstract: Few studies examined the impact of maternal socioeconomic status and of its combined effects with environmental exposures on birthweight. Our goal was to examine the impact of maternal homelessness (mothers ever homeless or who lived…
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Part II: A Qualitative Study of Social Risk Screening Acceptability in Patients and Caregivers

Abstract Introduction: This study aimed to better understand patient and caregiver perspectives on social risk screening across different healthcare settings. Methods: As part of a mixed-methods multisite study, the authors conducted semistructured…
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Part I: A Quantitative Study of Social Risk Screening Acceptability in Patients and Caregivers

Abstract Introduction: Despite recent growth in healthcare delivery-based social risk screening, little is known about patient perspectives on these activities. This study evaluates patient and caregiver acceptability of social risk screening. Methods:…
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Patient experiences and provider perspectives on a hospital-based food pantry: a mixed methods evaluation study

Abstract Objective: The purpose of this evaluation study was to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement in programme functioning and common aspects of patients’ experiences at a hospital-based food pantry. Design: Semi-structured,…
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Plenary speaker: Rx for homelessness requires solutions grounded in equity

To help homeless families, pediatricians should not focus on equality to make a difference in children’s health outcomes. Rather, they should zero in on equity, according to Megan Sandel, M.D., M.P.H., who spoke at Sunday’s plenary…
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Podcast: "Good Housing is Good Health" with Dr. Megan Sandel

Episode 1 - Dr. Megan Sandel This episode dives into the deep connections between housing and health with a nationally recognized expert in the field. Sometimes, the prescription that patients really need for their ailments is a safe,…
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Experiences of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Are Associated with Food Insecurity and Poor Health

Abstract: This study examines the associations of mothers’ experiences of discrimination (EODs) with household food insecurity (HFI), physical health, and depressive symptoms, while taking into account the influence of mothers’ Adverse Childhood…

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. To read our SNAP/Farm Bill 2018 Legislative Priorities, click here.

  • 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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