The NCSL Blog


By Meghan McCann

DID YOU KNOW: NCSL’s Children and Families Program has a new group director. Wade Fickler joined NCSL following previous policy experience including leadership positions with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Children’s Institute (Oregon) and City Club of Portland. Please join us in welcoming Wade! (He's the tall one in the group picture.)

NCSL's Human Services teamNCSL’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.

Recent Webinars

Archived Webinar: State Home Visiting: View an archived version of the webinar State Home Visiting: Enhancing Maternal and Child Health, Wellbeing and School Readiness from Thursday, Nov. 30. Through the webinar you can learn about the benefits of home visiting, funding options and state initiatives and programs in Tennessee, Kentucky and New Mexico. Check out a blog post about the webinar. 

NCSL Resources

Legislative Children’s Caucuses

An increased focus on children's first years has led to a trend in the  the formation of legislative children’s caucuses. The caucuses are intended to promote children’s issues and educate members and the public about the topic. NCSL has several resources on the topic:

Opioid Deep Dive Webpage

The opioid epidemic is so complex that it cannot be solved without an all-out effort by the health, criminal justice and human services agencies working together to find solutions. Mirroring state efforts, NCSL has compiled resources from these three policy areas on our Opioid Deep Dive webpage.

Child Support and Domestic Violence

The intersection between child support and domestic violence is critical yet often overlooked. NCSL’s brief, Child Support and Domestic Violence, details the relationship  between child support and domestic violence and the policy levers that can be used to protect victims while providing important financial support.

A Fair Start: Ensuring All Students are Ready to Learn

With funding from the Heising-Simons Foundation, NCSL formed the State Policy and Research for Early Education (SPREE) Working Groupin 2016. The  16-member group includes state legislators, legislative staff and a handful of early learning experts. The group prioritized five principles of early learning in the SPREE Framework for state legislative discussions and potential actions.

National Reports and Resources

Investing Early: A new report from the RAND Corporation, Investing Early: Taking Stock of Outcomes and Economic Returns from Early Childhood Program, looks at 115 early childhood programs that have been rigorously evaluated. Programs included home visiting, parent education, early care and education, health related visits, and food and child care subsidies. The RAND synthesis captures short- and long-term outcomes including behavior and emotion, cognitive achievement, child health, developmental delay, child welfare, crime; educational attainment, employment and earnings, family formation, and social services in adulthood. Of the 115 programs, RAND found that 102 have favorable impacts on at least one child outcome. Most programs with benefit-cost analyses show positive returns and largely pay for themselves with a typical return on investment of $2 to $4 for every dollar spent.

Human Services Ecosystem: A new report from the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and the American Public Human Services Association, A National Imperative: Joining Forces to Strengthen Human Services in America, looks at the role, and financial health, of the human services ecosystem in the United States. Included with the report, is a toolkit of materials to help policymakers take the report and run with it.

Treating the Lifelong Harm of Childhood Trauma: A recent article, Treating the Lifelong Harm of Childhood Trauma, looks at the work of Dr. Nadine Burke Harris and The Center for Youth Wellness, in addressing childhood and multi-generational trauma in clinical practice.

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

Email 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.