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Child and Teen Firearm Mortality in the U.S. and Peer Countries

How to Use an Integrated Approach to Address the Mental Health Needs of Youth in the Justice System

Talking About Youth Probation, Diversion and Restorative Justice:


Study of Training in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support for Behavior: Impacts on Elementary School Students’ Outcomes

STEM Summer Programs for Underrepresented Youth Increase STEM Degrees

State Accountability Rating Systems: A Review of School Report Cards as Indicators of School Quality


Philanthropy Can be a Solution to Making Localisation a Reality

Civilian Cyber Workers in the U.S. Department of Defense

The Devaluation of Assets in Black Neighborhoods: The Case of Commercial Property


Measurement of Human Stress: A Multidimensional Approach

Access to Paid Leave Is Lowest among Workers with the Greatest Needs

Work Overpayments Among New Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries

July 22, 2022


Firearms recently became the number one cause of death for children in the United States, surpassing motor vehicle deaths and those caused by other injuries. The authors examine how gun violence and other types of firearm deaths among children and teens in the United States compares to rates in similarly large and wealthy countries. They selected comparable large and wealthy countries by identifying Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development member nations with above median gross domestic product (GDP) and above median GDP per capita in at least one year from 2010-2020. Using the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wonder Database and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Global Burden of Disease study data, the authors compared fatality rates and disability estimates for people ages 1 through 19. Since estimates were not available for children ages 1-17 alone, young adults ages 18 and 19 are grouped with children for the purposes of this brief. The authors found that the United States is alone among peer nations in the number of child firearm deaths. In no other similarly large or wealthy country are firearm deaths in the top 4 causes of mortality let alone the number 1 cause of death among children. They also found that use of firearms has implications for children’s mental health, and note that research suggests that children may experience negative mental health impacts, including symptoms of anxiety, in response to gun violence.

Source: Global Health Policy

More than 65% of youth who are arrested every year have mental health conditions, which amounts to more than two-thirds of boys and three-quarters of girls. Often, these needs have gone untreated or misdiagnosed, leading to engagement in the juvenile justice system. In response to these staggering numbers, it is imperative that juvenile justice system stakeholders, particularly families, school administrators, community-based organizations, police officers, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges, work together to address the mental health needs of youth. This brief identifies the collaborative role that juvenile justice stakeholders can play in helping to prevent and/or reduce involvement in the system by addressing youth’s mental health needs. Suggestions include that families should have youth assessed and enter them into treatment when there is a suspected mental health condition or significant change in behavior, that schools should hire more mental health clinicians who are able to screen, assess, and provide interventions to youth, and that defense attorneys who receive training on how to identify signs of mental health and substance use conditions are better prepared to advocate for youth and involve community-based support.

Source: The Council of State Governments Justice Center

The message recommendations contained in this tool kit use plain language to explain youth probation, diversion from courts to community-based responses and restorative justice to general audiences. The authors partnered with communications experts and conducted research in 2021 to understand public perception of the juvenile justice system and followed up with additional survey questions in 2022, to gauge the public’s thoughts on crime trends and opinions on youth gun possession. The research-informed language is meant to educate, persuade and inspire other practitioners, decision makers and the public to keep more young people away from the formal justice system and pursue strategies aimed at young people’s personal growth, positive behavior change and long-term success. Findings and insights informed by the research relative to the objective of the study include that experts should recognize that the public already agrees that the juvenile justice system is failing young people and needs reform, and acknowledge the role of race, and call for real efforts to address it, are key to garnering support from a growing number of people.

Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation


Students’ early problem behaviors in school can be disruptive and even hinder their learning and long-term success. To prevent and address these problem behaviors, schools across the country report adopting multitiered systems of support for behavior (MTSS-B). The MTSS-B approach seeks to change the school learning environment by consistently teaching and reinforcing good behavior for all students, and then identifying and providing supplemental support to students who need it. Given the reported widespread use of MTSS-B but limited evidence of effective programs, this study evaluated a promising, intensive program of MTSS-B training and technical assistance. About 90 elementary schools in six states were randomly assigned either to participate in the program or to continue with their usual strategies for supporting student behavior. Comparing student and teacher experiences in the two sets of schools measures the effectiveness of the program. Key findings include that the program was no better than schools’ usual strategies at improving overall student behavior or achievement, though it did have positive effects on teachers’ classroom management, classroom functioning, and some aspects of school climate, and that for the 15% of students initially identified as struggling the most with behavior, the program had positive effects on disruptive behavior and reading achievement while the program lasted.

Source: Institute of Education Sciences

The federal government and many individual organizations have invested in programs to support diversity in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) pipeline, including STEM summer programs for high school students, but there is little rigorous evidence of their efficacy. This study provides the first evidence from a randomized controlled trial on the impact of a STEM-focused summer program on college matriculation, completion, and graduation with a STEM degree. The research team fielded a randomized controlled trial to study a suite of such programs targeted to underrepresented high school students at an elite, technical institution. The STEM summer programs differ in their length (one week, six weeks, or six months) and modality (on-site or online). The results indicated that students offered seats in the STEM summer programs are more likely to enroll in, persist through, and graduate from college, with gains in institutional quality coming from both the host institution and other elite universities. Additionally, participation in the programs increase the likelihood that students graduate with a degree in a STEM field, with the most intensive program increasing four-year graduation with a STEM degree attainment by 33%. The shift to STEM degrees increases potential earnings by 2% to 6%. Evidence indicates the programs’ effect on degree completion is due to the shift in institutional quality that they induce, but gains in STEM degree attainment are larger than predicted based on institutional differences.

Source: Blueprint Labs

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 provided states with increased flexibility to design school accountability systems. A core element of the law is the requirement that states develop statewide systems allowing for meaningful differentiation among schools, and use this information to identify schools that should be the focus of improvement efforts. Individual states decide on the type of report card, or rating system, that they will use to report this information to the public. While states may take different approaches to measuring and reporting school performance, they have consistently chosen approaches of public reporting that collapse multiple school performance indicators into a summative rating. This policy brief discusses the difficulties that arise when states' school report cards use this summative-rating approach, and provides recommendations for resolving these challenges. Recommendations include requiring that states conduct rigorous evaluations of their existing performance rating systems to determine the reliability, validity, and fairness of their summative ratings, and to adopt social and economic policies that address out-of-school variables that are substantially related to school performance, such as policies that increase access to health care, address the concentration of disadvantage or advantage in different neighborhoods, and expand the availability of housing and employment opportunities.

Source: National Education Policy Center

Government Operations

As a long-term trend, accelerated by the response to Covid-19, the development cooperation and humanitarian aid sector have realized the urgent need to imagine and realize a better, more equitable, localized investment and deployment of resources. Localization has been a word to describe that collective process through which a diverse range of stakeholders have a role to play, each in their own way, to ensure that the ownership of development efforts is held locally, with accountability to domestic constituents versus international donors for the planning, delivery and assessment of their communities' and country's development. Philanthropy as a stakeholder has a key role to play in making localization a reality. This policy briefing is offered as a think piece to prompt further, future reflection by international and domestic actors in development cooperation and humanitarian aid about how they each can’t act to reinforce local philanthropy to further genuine and sustainable localization. Recommendations for the local and regional levels include strengthening fundraising capacity of philanthropic support organizations so they can offer relevant technical support to reinforce local organizations and build community autonomy, as well as to encourage and accompany community philanthropy mechanisms such as local funds, community foundations, women’s funds, indigenous funds, and so on, to tap into local and diaspora resources.

Source: WINGS

Given the importance of the civilian workforce to the U.S. Department of Defense's (DoD's) cyber mission, it is imperative to understand how pay, promotion, and retention have varied over time and to continue to identify and refine strategies for retaining civilians with cyber expertise. After establishing that these personnel outcomes vary across cyber occupations and differ from the outcomes for the rest of DoD, the authors explore how training might be used as a retention lever for cyber employees. The authors find that when training improves external opportunities for DoD civilian cyber employees on net (i.e., training results in a greater increase in external opportunities than in internal opportunities), training without a payback obligation reduces retention when (1) the improvement in external opportunities is greater and (2) training occurs earlier in the career. Additionally, training for cyber employees that includes a payback obligation produces only a temporary improvement in retention if pay does not also increase. Furthermore, the authors note that training policy should not be developed in isolation but in concert with internal pay, opportunities for advancement, and engaging work experiences.

Source: RAND Corporation

Commercial real estate wealth is highly unequal across households, racial groups, and neighborhoods. This paper investigates how local characteristics— measured at the ZIP code level—predict commercial real estate rents, with a focus on the racial composition of neighborhoods as a potential source of market inefficiency, which has not previously been studied. Prior work finds that residential housing is undervalued in majority-Black neighborhoods, and businesses in majority-Black neighborhoods experience lower revenue growth than expected given their ratings by consumers. Using data purchased from CoStar, a leading commercial real estate data provider, the authors test whether commercial rents are lower in majority-Black neighborhoods, conditional on the quality of the building, access to consumers and other businesses, the revenue per worker of neighboring businesses, and other factors identified in the real estate literature. To compare to residential real estate markets at the ZIP code level, the authors use data from Redfin, a nation real estate brokerage. In the authors’ preferred model, they find that retail space is undervalued by 7% in majority-Black neighborhoods, but that office space is undervalued by less than 1%—an effect which is not statistically significant. This compares to a 26% undervaluation for owner-occupied housing. These estimates are robust to the inclusion of centrality, environmental conditions, and the values of neighboring ZIP codes. Aggregating these estimates, the authors find that majority-Black neighborhoods have $235 billion in lost wealth from owner-occupied homes and $171 billion in lost wealth from retail space. Office space valuations, however, do not appear to be affected by the racial composition of neighborhoods once other factors are considered.

Source: Brookings Institute

Health and Human Services

Stress is a multidimensional construct that comprises exposure to events, perceptions of stress, and physiological responses to stress. Research consistently demonstrates a strong association between stress and a myriad of physical and mental health concerns, resulting in a pervasive and interdisciplinary agreement on the importance of investigating the relationship between stress and health. Developing a holistic understanding of stress requires assessment of the three domains vital to the study of stress: the presence of environmental stressors, psychological and biological reactions to stressors, and the length of time over which the stressor or stress response occurs. Research into all three domains requires multiple methods. Self-reports allow for subjective evaluations of stress that illuminate the duration and severity of the psychological response to stressors. Biomarkers, in turn, capture a more-objective measure of stress and create a deeper understanding of the biological response to chronic and acute stress. Finally, the use of digital biomarkers allows for further exploration of the physiological fluctuations caused by stress by measuring the changes occurring at the same time as the stressor. Future research on stress and health should favor a multidimensional approach that creates a triangulated picture of stress, drawing from each of the three aforementioned method groups.

Source: RTI International

Nearly every worker encounters the need to take time off from their job because of illness or injury, to welcome a new child, or to care for an ill family member. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the need for leave while highlighting the difficulties workers were already facing trying to balance work and care. Workers have had to contend with increased needs for sick leave, as well as time off to isolate or quarantine, stay home with children in quarantine or whose schools and day cares closed, and care for older adults and people with disabilities whose facilities or special services closed. However, many workers cannot take paid time off for these needs, and many do not have the right to take unpaid time off and keep their job. In this brief, the authors use data from the Urban Institute’s Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS) to examine current rates of access to paid family and medical leave. The author’s analysis of the WBNS shows significant disparities in access to paid leave, and workers without paid leave are at a higher risk of experiencing material hardship. Their findings include that despite federal, state, local, and voluntary employer actions to expand paid leave in response to COVID-19, large gaps in access to paid leave persist, that access to paid leave remains highly skewed toward adults with higher incomes (81%), with college degrees (79%), and who work full time (79%), and that workers without access to paid leave are more likely than workers with paid leave to experience financial and material hardships, including being more than twice as likely to be unable to pay for rent or utilities and twice as likely to experience food insecurity.

Source: Urban Institute

This paper studies the experiences of the 2008 cohort of first-time Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries who were at risk of overpayment because they engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA) after completing the trial work period and grace period (work incentives allowing beneficiaries to test work). It uses data from the December 2020 Disabled Beneficiaries and Dependents extract from the Social Security Administration’s Master Beneficiary Record to describe overpayment rates, amounts, and temporal characteristics of overpayments. Drawing on the 2019 Disability Analysis File and Master Earnings File, it also documents the sequence of program milestones overpaid beneficiaries experienced and compares the experiences of overpaid beneficiaries with those whose benefits were concurrently suspended or terminated for work and not overpaid. This analysis focuses on the first occurrence of program milestones. The authors find that most overpaid beneficiaries (79%) followed a direct route to overpayment, experiencing award, earnings, trial work period completion, and then engaging in substantial gainful activity (after the grace period). About 16% received employment network or vocational rehabilitation services before their first month of post–grace period substantial gainful activity. The authors note that understanding beneficiary pathways to overpayments might help policymakers design policies that minimize overpayments or, if they occur, help beneficiaries maintain their connection to employment.

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

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