(The trends in child well-being are well worth watching, as they reflect larger social and economic changes.
While studies are often just a starting point for journalists, it was surprising to find so little coverage of the new Duke University “>study of children’s well-being underwritten by the Foundation for Child Development.
The study, released at the New America Foundation in Washington D.C. last week, found that progress in American children’s quality of life has stalled after an eight-year upward trend — and that a worsening economy is likely to negatively affect U. S. children for years to come. Areas to watch range from infant mortality rates to publicly financed childcare and health and education programs.
One interesting finding — the eight year upward improvement trend may have been related to a post 9/11 sense of common purpose in the country. Another important — and somewhat frightening — trend to watch will be the many ways an economic downturn may worsen conditions for children.
The study is an excellent starting point, and hopefully will spur coverage and original reporting about these trends throughout the U.S. One mention came in a Houston Chronicle blog item. The study raises critical questions and introduces data that should be localized by journalists.
At the very least, much of the data can be incorporated into important stories on everything from birth rates and infant mortality to pre-school enrollment — which, by the way, improved according to the report.