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Lauren Silverman of nationally broadcast radio show KERA Think recently explored the many factors at play when it comes to teaching the state’s young people about sex with CHASP director and child and family policy scholar Dr. Cynthia Osborne.
Listen to the podcast: http://think.kera.org/2017/07/05/abstinence-ed-in-texas/
Think is a daily, topic-driven interview and call-in program covering a wide variety of topics ranging from history, politics, current events, science, technology, and emerging trends to food and wine, travel, adventure, and entertainment.
For more on Dr. Osborne’s research on teen pregnancy and adolescent health, visit the Child and Family Research Partnership.
Many families will have to make difficult decisions about aging family members at some point in their lives, considering options like institutionalization, palliative care, and even physician-assisted death. In her latest book, CHASP faculty fellow and LBJ School professor Dr. Jacqueline Angel, with colleague Dr. Ronald Angel, examines a range of difficult issues commonly faced during the family life course via a series of vignettes about a fictional family relating to the treatment of a seriously ill parent.
Family, Intergenerational Solidarity, and Post-Traditional Society, published by Routledge, addresses rapidly evolving moral and ethical dilemmas that define post-traditional society. These arise from rapid and extensive technological advances and the social changes that accompany them. Among others, these advances include new reproductive technologies, new possibilities for altering the human genome, and medical advances that allow individuals with serious illnesses to be kept alive even when there is little chance of significant recovery. The book places these challenges in the context of family decision making in the context of dramatically changing family forms that includes same-sex marriage, cohabitation, divorce and multiple remarriages, and more.
The authors, Dr. Jacqueline Angel and Dr. Ronald Angel, follow a fictional family whose experiences reflect the real-life experiences and moral dilemmas that most of us must eventually face. The presentation is informed by the reality that in the modern world the rules concerning marriage, the withholding of life support, the support of aging parents, and more are not dictated by tradition, religion, or the state. The authors argue that, like it or not, we are all condemned to choice. Today even following tradition represents a choice since particular styles of life are not dictated by any overarching authority. This freedom, though, is not an unmixed blessing. The need to choose among different life options introduces a degree of insecurity since the choices we make have profound implications for our families, regardless of their form, and for society at large.
Dr. Jacqueline Angel is a leading expert in policies impacting the aging population. Her research addresses the relationships linking family structures, inequality, and health across the life course, including a special focus on minority aging, the Hispanic population, and older Mexican-Americans.
LBJ School of Public Affairs masters students have opportunities to develop their research and policymaking skills in the real world through a cornerstone class called the Policy Research Project (PRP).
Over the past year, students of CHASP director Dr. Cynthia Osborne worked on a PRP project on evaluating the impact of pre-Kindergarten for 3 year olds (Pre-K3) with the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP), the Austin Independent School District (AISD), and United Way for Greater Austin. The class was part of CFRP’s larger Pre-K3 project, the first evaluation in the nation that will determine whether children who experience two years of public pre-K (at ages 3 and 4) are better prepared for Kindergarten than their counterparts who experience pre-K only at age 4.
AISD, located in the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ hometown, is one of the first large school districts in the nation to offer public pre-K to 3-year-olds. The AISD Pre-K3 program is a voluntary, half-day program that instructs eligible students in English and in Spanish and currently serves 27 district schools. The district’s hope is that starting children one year earlier will chip away at the disparity in performance among students of different socioeconomic statuses, closing the achievement gap and allowing students to start Kindergarten on an even playing field.
The Child and Family Research Partnership is leading the evaluation to help the district assess the impact and successes of the program. For the class, PRP students were trained and then met individually with participating Pre-K3 students and administered two sets of tests, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) for English-speaking children and the Test de Vocabulario en Imágenes Peabody (TVIP) for Spanish-speaking children. During the year-long project, the PRP students learned invaluable lessons including the ins and outs of program evaluation, data collection and security, and data analysis.
For more about the Child and Family Research Partnership Pre-K3 evaluation and work on pre-Kindergarten, go to http://childandfamilyresearch.org/research/eci-prek.
Members of the 2016-2017 Pre-K3 PRP with Dr. Cynthia Osborne: Erick Alvarez Gil, Emily Bresnahan, Juan Cardozo-Oquendo, Carlo Castillo (Teaching Assistant), Bailey Gray, Margaret Hennessy, Dana Johnson, Paige Menking, Sonia Pace, Erika Parks, Elizabeth Petruy, Ann-Charlotte Proffitt, and Nawal Traish. (Photo: Paige Menking)
According to the U.S. Census, 19.7 percent of American children, or 14.5 million, lived in poverty in 2015. Children represented 23.1 percent of the total population in 2015 and 33.6 percent of the people in poverty.
To address these staggering statistics, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) has convened a committee of experts to provide recommendations for federal investment aimed at reducing the number of children living in poverty in the United States by half within 10 years. Dr. Cynthia Osborne, child and family policy scholar with The University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, has been appointed to the NAS 12-member multidisciplinary committee.
Dr. Osborne is founder and director of the Child and Family Research Partnership, a rigorous academic research center, and also director of the Center for Health and Social Policy, the home of social policy for students, faculty, and alumni of the LBJ School.
The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is a highly respected organization comprised of the country’s leading researchers that provides objective, science-based advice to federal legislators and policymakers on critical issues. Since its founding in 1863, the NAS taps “the energy and intellect of the nation’s critical thinkers” to provide nonpartisan, evidence-based guidance to decision makers in addressing policy challenges.
“I’m honored to be a part of this critical effort to aggressively reduce child poverty in our country,” said Dr. Cynthia Osborne. “Children are our greatest resource, but too many are mired in poverty and do not have the opportunities they deserve to reach their full potential. This committee is charged with identifying what we know works to move today’s children out of poverty, so that policymakers can determine how best to invest in our future.”
The five charges given to the Committee on Building an Agenda to Reduce the Number of Children in Poverty by Half in 10 Years are highlighted below: (Click for the full descriptions)
- Briefly review and synthesize the available research on the macro- and micro-economic, health, and social costs of child poverty, with attention to linkages between child poverty and health, education, employment, crime, and child well-being.
- Briefly assess current international, federal, state, and local efforts to reduce child poverty.
- Identify policies and programs with the potential to help reduce child poverty and deep poverty (measured using the Supplemental Poverty Measure) by 50 percent within 10 years of the implementation of the policy approach.
- For the programs the committee identifies as having strong potential to reduce child poverty, the committee will provide analysis in a format that will allow federal policy makers to identify and assess potential combinations of policy investments that can best meet their policy objectives.
- Identify key, high-priority research gaps the filling of which would significantly advance the knowledge base for developing policies to reduce child poverty in the United States and assessing their impacts.
- The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS)
- NAS Board on Children, Youth, and Families (BCYF)
- Charges of the Committee on Building an Agenda to Reduce the Number of Children in Poverty by Half in 10 Years
Please contact Wendy Gonzales at email@example.com or 512-471-8921 if you would like additional information or to arrange an interview with Dr. Cynthia Osborne.
The Texas Legislature convenes in the state Capitol in Austin every two years, so each LBJ School of Public Affairs student has the opportunity to be involved in a session during their two-year program.
During the 85th Legislative Session (2017), education policy scholar and CHASP faculty fellow Dr. Paul von Hippel led a policy research project (PRP), a cornerstone class at the LBJ School, that analyzed the role of evidence in key K-12 education policy issues that were up for debate during the session.
Von Hippel’s students focused on two main issues – private school choice and campus sexual assault. After reviewing and analyzing relevant data, the findings were summarized and posted online to inform legislators and policymakers.
Private School Choice:
Over the past 13 legislative sessions, members of the Texas legislature have introduced 54 bills to subsidize moving children from public to private schools, yet every one of these bills has foundered in the legislature:
- Can private school choice get traction in the House?
- Why is private school choice stuck in Texas?
- How consistent is the evidence for private school choice?
- Texas private schools look nothing like you imagine
Campus Sexual Assault:
A recent report showed that 15% of female undergraduates at The University of Texas at Austin have experienced sexual assault. Legislators are seeking tougher measures to combat sexual assault on Texas college campuses, but there is a lack of consensus about how to proceed:
- SB 576: The quick fix that will silence survivors of sexual assault
- In Texas, 90 percent of sexual assault kits take over 90 days to process
The Population Association of America (PAA) is the leading professional association for scholars, demographers, sociologists, economists, public health professionals, and others in population research and education. Several faculty fellows from the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Center for Health and Social Policy are presenting their most recent research at this year’s PAA Annual Meeting in Chicago:
- Dr. Abigail Aikens will be leading discussions on “Race, Ethnic and Social Class Differences in Reproductive Health and Fertility” (4/27/17, 1:00pm) and Fertility Intentions: Causes and Consequences” (4/28/17, 8:30am) and supporting discussions on “Abortion in the Global North” (4/28/17, 10:15am) and the “Impact of Reproductive Health Policy in the United States” (4/28/17, 1:00pm).
- Dr. Jacqueline Angel will be leading a discussion on the “Dynamics of Disability in the Developing World” (4/27/17, 1:00pm) and presenting during a poster session on “Household Extension and Life Expectancy: Estimates of Duration of Dependency” (4/29/17, 9:00am).
- Dr. Cynthia Osborne will be presenting during a poster session on “The Dynamics of Childcare Instability” (4/28/17, 2:45pm) and leading discussions on “Families and Economic Circumstances” (4/29/17, 9:00am) and “Fatherhood in Complex Families” (4/29/17, 12:30pm).
On April 13, Dr. Cynthia Osborne, Director of the Center for Health and Social Policy (CHASP) and the Child and Family Research Partnership (CFRP) at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, provided expert testimony at a Congressional Briefing in Washington, D.C. on the growing evidence of the importance of fathers in early childhood intervention home visiting programs. The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program is being considered for re-authorization by the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.
Home visiting programs have rapidly expanded across the country as an evidence-based policy choice for supporting families with young children. They provide structured visits by trained professionals and paraprofessionals to high-risk parents who are pregnant or have young children.
Fathers play a crucial role in child development, but historically, social programs aimed at poverty alleviation, health, and parenting have been geared almost exclusively toward mothers and children. For the last five years, Dr. Osborne has led multiple evaluations of the MIECHV-funded Texas Home Visiting (THV) program, the largest program in the country, including two evaluations focused specifically on father involvement. Highlights of the findings:
- Multiple barriers (e.g., work schedules) often prevent fathers from participating in home visits, but fathers engage with home visiting programs in other ways including attending other program activities, completing homework or practicing lessons with the mother and child, or asking mothers about the visit.
- Fathers value home visiting programs and cite their child’s improved school readiness and health outcomes as being particularly important.
- Program staff can be trained to increase father participation including specifically inviting fathers to visits and program events, and being flexible with the timing and location of home visits to accommodate fathers’ work schedules.
- Father participation in home visiting programs is positively linked to family retention, which provides both parents increased opportunity to benefit from the program. Families in which fathers have participated in at least one home visit stay in the program over six months longer than families in which fathers never participate, controlling for family, program, and community factors.
The Child and Family Research Partnership is an independent, nonpartisan research center at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin which is dedicated to strengthening families and enhancing public policy through rigorous research. Click for more on CFRP’s Home Visiting and Fatherhood research.
To arrange an interview with Dr. Osborne, please contact Wendy Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-471-8921.
One of CHASP’s primary missions it to bring together scholars from multiple disciplines to strengthen public policies on pressing health and social policy issues. CHASP’s Research to Practice Roundtable (R2P) Series takes it one step further and connects high-level policymakers with scholars at The University of Texas at Austin to bridge policy priorities and the newest research.
The most recent R2P focused on victim services and the criminal justice system, with Zena Hooper, Psy.D, Director of Victim Services, Office of the Governor, State of Texas. Dr. Hooper is the Director of the Victim Services Section of the Criminal Justice Division at the Office of the Governor, State of Texas. She oversees the design, development, recommendation and implementation of new initiatives and innovations in the victims’ services area. She also provides administrative oversight for victims’ services grants related to advocacy in domestic violence, sexual assault, and understudied and underserved victim populations.
- Cecilia Granger Acuff, MSW, Program Coordinator, Office of the Governor-Criminal Justice Division
- Marilyn Armour, Ph.D., Professor, School of Social Work and Director, Institute for Restorative Justice and Restorative Dialogue
- Margaret Bassett, LPC-S, Professor, School of Social Work and Director, Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault
- Sarah Brayne, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
- Monica Faulkner, Ph.D., LMSW, Research Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Director, Texas Institute for Child & Family Wellbeing
- Jeana Lungwitz, J.D., Clinical Professor, School of Law and Director, Domestic Violence Clinic
- Cynthia Osborne, Ph.D., Associate Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs and Director, Center for Health and Social Policy
- James Patton, M.Ed., Ed.D., Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Special Education, College of Education
- Becky Pettit, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Sociology
- Lynn Westbrook, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Information
- Leila Wood, Ph.D., LMSW, Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Social Work
- Amanda Woog, J.D., Postdoctoral Legal Fellow, Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis, College of Liberal Arts
For questions about CHASP Research to Practice Roundtables, please contact email@example.com.
Photo: Cynthia Osborne, Ph.D. (CHASP Director) and Zena Hooper, Psy. D. (Director of Victim Services)
The Center for Health and Social Policy’s (CHASP) annual alumni-student networking reception at the LBJ School of Public Affairs on Thursday, April 6, 2017. Our annual reception allows you to network with LBJ alumni, students, faculty, and staff over delicious drinks and hors d’oeuvres! We will have opportunities for people to meet up with each other by social policy area of interest.