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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Robust policies reduce food insecurity and child poverty

In September 2022, the US Department of Agriculture released their annual “Food Security in the US” report for the 2021 calendar year. Food insecurity, identified as a household level social and economic condition of lack of consistent access…
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‘Worrisome’ data link eviction to poor health in children

Eviction was associated with increased odds of poor health in children and their parents, according to a study published in Pediatrics. Co-author Dr. Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, PhD, MPH, Executive Director of Children’s HealthWatch and an…
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New study shows families with children at higher risk for eviction

A new study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) shows families with children facing or experiencing eviction have poorer health than those who do not. Following the COVID-19 pandemic in which the labor force was disrupted,…
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Eviction and Household Health and Hardships in Families With Very Young Children

Abstract Background Families with versus without children are at greater eviction risk. Eviction is a abstract perinatal, pediatric, and adult health concern. Most studies evaluate only formal evictions. Methods Using cross-sectional…
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Prenatal WIC Is Associated with Increased Birth Weight of Infants Born in the United States with Immigrant Mothers

Originally posted on Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Abstract Background The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) improves health outcomes for participating mothers and children.…
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Maternal depression and anxiety exacerbate hardships — How to help the mothers in your life

Recall the last time you told a child “no” and how it made you feel. If you are a parent, you say "no" a lot: No, we cannot stay at the park for four hours. No, you cannot color the walls. These are the types of “no’s” we expect…
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Allison Bovell-Ammon Interviewed By WNHN Radio

On August 10th Allison Bovell-Ammon, Director of Policy Strategy at Children's HealthWatch, and Shailly Gupta Barnes, Policy Director of the Kairos Center and the Poor People’s Campaign, were interviewed by Attitude with Arnie Arnesen in the…

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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