Education

Children & Families

January 09, 2002 2 min read
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Educating Grandparents: Because many grandparents play crucial roles in the lives of their grandchildren—some even serving as parents—a new initiative is aiming to inform them about the latest on child development.

“Grandparenting: Enriching Lives,” a project of Civitas, a nonprofit communications organization based in Chicago, features a video that outlines five guidelines for better grandparenting, including building grandparents’ knowledge of child-development research.

The project is a follow-up to a survey co-sponsored by Civitas in 2000, which found that parents rely heavily on their own parents for information on how to take care of children.

“Because grandparents are so influential on their children and grandchildren, it is essential that we provide them with the best possible information on child development,” said Suzanne Muchin, the chief executive officer of Civitas.

More information on the project, including ordering information for the video, is available on the Web at www.civitas.org.

Helping Fathers: What strategies are most effective at helping low- income fathers, especially those who aren’t living with their children, become better parents?Helping Fathers: What strategies are most effective at helping low-income fathers, especially those who aren’t living with their children, become better parents?

A report from the Manpower Demonstration Research Corp.— a nonprofit social policy research organization based in New York City—provides some answers.

The study focuses on Parents’ Fair Share, a program designed by the MDRC, which began in 1994 in seven cities, including Dayton, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; Springfield, Mass.; and Trenton, N.J. Parents’ Fair Share is meant to be an alternative to the child-support enforcement system. The MDRC program focuses on helping fathers find better jobs, pay child support on time, and become more involved with their children.

The authors of the study say several lessons have been learned from the program. For instance, there is a need for more job-retention services for fathers, and mothers should be more directly involved in the program.

But some problems remain unresolved, the authors note. They say the mothers in the study reported that while child- support payments increased when fathers’ incomes went up, the program had few positive effects on children’s behavior or academic performance.

“The Challenge of Helping Low-Income Fathers Support Their Children” is available online at www.mdrc.org

—Linda Jacobson ljacobs@epe.org

A version of this article appeared in the January 09, 2002 edition of Education Week

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