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Children and Families Column

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Projects providing social services in schools show promise in reducing dropout rates and other school problems, but data on their long-term impact are limited, a U.S. General Accounting Office study shows.

The G.A.O. studied literature on integrating human services in schools and examined 10 noted programs linking students to various services.

Of the six that had "impact evaluations,'' three reported reductions in dropout rates and two others cited improvements in grades, test scores, and behavior--variables that could stem dropout rates.

The report says such programs tend to have strong leaders, seek input from teachers, and use case managers. But the study also stresses the need for better evaluation data.

"School-Linked Human Services: A Comprehensive Strategey for Aiding Students at Risk of School Failure'' is available for free from the G.A.O., P.O. Box 6015, Gaithersburg, Md. 20884-6015.

A 26-city survey released last month by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed that families with children now account for the same share of the homeless--about 43 percent--as single men. Children account for about 30 percent of that population.

Requests for emergency food aid in 1993 also rose by an average of 13 percent for families with children, it found.

Copies of "A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America's Cities: 1993'' are available for $15 each from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 1620 I St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006.

A United Nations Children's Fund report cites "dramatic progress'' in fighting childhood disease, but says poverty and other ills are making life "increasingly desperate'' for millions.

"The State of the World's Children 1994'' is available for free from the U.S. Committee for UNICEF, 333 East 38th St., New York, N.Y. 10016.

Capital Cities/ABC Inc., the parent company of the ABC Television and Radio Networks, and the Coalition for America's Children, an umbrella group of child advocates, are launching a yearlong media campaign highlighting the "crisis affecting America's children.''

The campaign, to be kicked off this week with a teleconference, will include public-service announcements and events on such themes as family, community, summer learning, and the schools.
--DEBORAH L. COHEN

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