The NCSL Blog


By Meghan McCann

DID YOU KNOW: more than 1 million new neural connections are formed every second in the first few years of a child’s life? See more at the Harvard Center on the Developing Child’s new page, Five Numbers to Remember about Early Childhood Development and be sure to register for NCSL’s Brain Science webinar featured below.

Circle of kidsNCSL’s Children and Families program covers many human services issues, including child support and family law, child welfare, early care and education, welfare and poverty.

Publications from Children and Families

Webinar | Brain Science

Join us for a webinar, Brain Science: Interventions and Policy Implications, Thursday at 2 p.m. to learn about policy opportunities to help mitigate the effects of toxic stress and support healthy development, which can result in better outcomes for our youngest children and their families.

Child Welfare Newsletter, Quarter 1

NCSL's Quarterly Child Welfare newsletter featuring information about 2016 enacted legislation, substance abuse and child welfare, safety culture in child welfare agencies and child maltreatment.

Human Trafficking
A variety of state laws criminalize trafficking activity, provide judicial protections for survivors, establish funding sources for anti-trafficking efforts, coordinate efforts, regulate businesses to mitigate the impact of trafficking, and educate the public on trafficking issues. View an interactive overview of State Human Trafficking Laws and Policies on our website and an archived webinar, Labor and Sex Trafficking: State Update.

Improving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to low-income people. SNAP has had long-term, bipartisan support for its capacity to help reduce hunger for children, older Americans, people with disabilities and households during economic decline. Read the full LegisBrief.

What’s New Nationally?

Child Welfare and Early Education

In 2011, the Children’s Bureau funded capacity and infrastructure building grants to states to support infants and children, ages 0-5, who are in foster care or child welfare involved, in attending high-quality early childhood education services. A report, Child Welfare – Early Education Partnerships to Expand Protective Factors for Children with Child Welfare Involvement, details each project and provides a link to the final report.

A Safety Net That Works

The American Enterprise Institute recently released a book, A Safety Net That Works: Improving Federal Programs for Low-Income Americans. The book is authored by several experts in the field and addresses programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, housing, TANF, disability, earned income tax credit, and WIC. Also discussed are child care, child welfare and ways to use the child support program to reduce poverty.

Kinship Care and Pediatrics

A new report, Needs of Kinship Care Families and Pediatric Practice, released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, discusses how awareness of a patient’s placement in kinship care can better assist pediatricians in addressing their patient’s health and wellness.

For more about the issues covered by NCSL’s Children and Families Program, and for staff contact information, check out the Children and Families Program Profile.

Meghan McCann is a senior policy specialist with NCSL’s Children and Families Program. She covers child support, child welfare and family law issues.

Contact Meghan.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.