Children & Families Column

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New York University has launched a wide-ranging effort to help New York City public schools implement reforms and provide child- and family-health services.

The "N.Y.U.: Supporting Our Schools'' project, co-chaired by the university's education and science deans, is designed to promote research and collaboration on issues ranging from school governance to child well-being.

Plans include launching an Institute for Education and Social Policy, tapping faculty members across disciplines to help schools and agencies provide and coordinate child-health services, and forming a network to help involve faculty and students in the project.

N.Y.U. already runs several school-based health projects and other efforts linking the university to schools.

A new study shows Florida's Project Independence, one of the nation's largest welfare-to-work programs, has made modest gains after one year.

The study by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation involved 18,000 single parents living in nine Florida counties between July 1990 and August 1991.

Project participants on average had earnings nearly 7 percent higher--or $157 more-- than a control group's, and their welfare payments were 7 percent lower. The program reduced the welfare rolls by about 5 percent.

The report says earnings gains were most significant for participants defined as "job ready'' and for parents with school-age children; it suggests that progress was difficult for parents of preschoolers partly because of insufficient child-care aid.

It also warns against relying too heavily on first-year data and suggests that reforms are needed in the federal Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training program to move more people off welfare. President Clinton is expected to propose, among other welfare changes, limiting benefits to two years.

Copies of "Florida's Project Independence: Program Implementation, Participation Patterns, and First-Year Impacts'' are available for $12 from the M.D.R.C., 3 Park Ave., New York, N.Y. 10016.

"The Role of Parent Education in Achieving School Readiness,'' a National Governors' Association report profiling successful parent-training and -support programs in nine states, is available for $14.50 from N.G.A. Publications, P.O. Box 421, Annapolis Junction, Md. 20107.--DEBORAH L. COHEN

Vol. 13, Issue 15

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