What’s so scary about a transgender child?

“Are there people who later regret transition? Yes, but the data shows that the vast majority of people who pursue transition do not regret it. In the handful of studies conducted around this question, an average of about 2 percent of respondents express regret. A separate survey questioning why people detransition found the most common reason was social pressure, often from a parent. Many of those detransitioners retransitioned later, when it felt safe to do so.”

“The medicine we use to treat trans children today — often dubbed “experimental” — has, in actuality, been used to help trans youths transition with the support of parents and doctors since the mid-20th century.”

Another Analysis Suggests Mandatory Reporting Laws May Be Doing Children More Harm Than Good

“Mandatory reporting laws say that certain classes of professionals are legally obligated to report suspected child abuse and neglect to authorities. Federal law requires states to have such laws in place.
While mandatory reporting might seem at first rather uncontroversial—one hopes that any adult, mandated or not, would report suspected child abuse—the nature of these laws leads to a lot of unfounded reporting. Mandatory reporters who fail to do so face penalties ranging from criminal charges to professional sanctions and loss of occupational licenses, so it behooves them to report liberally. (“Mandatory reporters are required to report the facts and circumstances that led them to suspect that a child has been abused or neglected” but “do not have the burden of providing proof that abuse or neglect has occurred,” notes a report from the U.S. Children’s Bureau.) This can lead to a lot of false reports of abuse that cause major headaches and heartaches for the families involved.

The problem is exacerbated by states perpetually expanding the list of people considered mandatory reporters.”

“Being investigated by child protective services can be a disturbing experience for parents and children alike, and even lead to children being temporarily removed from their parents’ homes. It can also lead to a range of other invasive measures.”

“”Nationally, the families of more than half of Black children will be investigated by child protective services before those kids turn 18; in much of the country, more than one in 10 Black kids will be removed from their home,” she writes. “In New York City, Black families are six times more likely than white families to be investigated and 11 times more likely to experience a separation. If social workers are by and large earnest, gentle, well-intentioned individuals, they are also unavoidably narcs, bound by laws demanding that they rat on the very communities they’re supposed to help.””

Child poverty in the US was stagnant — and then something changed

“Most surprising is that declines in poverty, rather than stalling with the decline of the Covid-19 pandemic, accelerated. While economic conditions could have led to one of the largest increases in poverty on record, the federal government stepped in to support families as the economy ground to a halt. While the pandemic brought a new set of hardships, these federal relief efforts prompted child poverty to fall sharply: In 2020, according to the supplemental poverty measure, child poverty fell from 12.5 percent to 9.7 percent — by far the largest single-year drop over the previous half-century.

These declines continued in 2021. In figures released Tuesday, we learned that in 2021 child poverty fell even further, to just 5.2 percent, by far the lowest rate ever recorded. This means that, between 2020 and 2021, an additional 3.4 million children were pulled out of poverty, and over the past two years almost 5.5 million children were, as the child poverty rate fell by nearly 60 percent in just two years.”

“it’s no great mystery how it happened. To stave off a recession and prevent a spike in material hardship amid widespread joblessness and economic uncertainty, the federal government temporarily reinvented the traditional US safety net, pushing cash into US households. There were three rounds of economic impact payments (stimulus checks), expanded unemployment assistance, and, in 2021, an expanded child tax credit, which sent modest monthly cash payments to most American households with children from July through December 2021.

While the traditional safety net targets poor families and relies heavily on in-kind benefits rather than money, the pandemic safety net was largely cash-based, unrestricted, and nearly universal.”

“it worked.

Over the past two years, tens of millions of people lost work and had their lives disrupted by Covid-19. Yet amid this economic disruption, child poverty plummeted.”

“An analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that, absent government intervention, poverty in 2020 would have experienced its second-largest increase on record, but as a result of the pandemic safety net, poverty in the US experienced the largest single-year decline in more than 50 years.”

“these programs were long gone before inflation became more entrenched. Inflation began in the goods-producing sector, as supply chain problems and rising shipping costs, combined with increased demand for goods, led prices to soar. Inflation was further spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its impact on global energy and food prices. More notably, as relief programs ended, growth in demand did not appreciably slow. A quick look across the globe reveals that inflation has hit most countries in the wake of the pandemic regardless of the share of children who go to bed hungry.

While government pandemic spending has certainly played some role in pushing prices upward, it is important to recognize the uncertainty around the economic recovery. These same policies were responsible for the economy’s rapid recovery and swift employment growth. Following the Great Recession, unemployment remained elevated for years, to devastating effect.”

“in the last two years, labor force participation rates have steadily recovered as the economy adjusted to living with the pandemic and showed no sign of accelerating as income supports expired.”

“One pandemic-era policy is permanent: a change to the way food assistance benefit levels are calculated. This will reduce hardship and poverty going forward and should be celebrated. But most of the new Covid-era safety net has already expired, and we should expect child poverty to rise in tandem in 2022.

The clearest avenue for action, to relieve the current rise in hardship and ensure the lessons of the pandemic safety net are not lost to history, is to revive the expanded child tax credit. Most wealthy Western nations use a universal child allowance or child benefit — money sent to families with children across the income spectrum — to help defray the big costs that come with raising children and better ensure the healthy development of that nation’s children.

For the final six months of 2021, the US finally joined this group, and the results, as we now know, were staggering. Child poverty, child food insecurity, and other measures of material hardship all fell sharply. Critics feared the payments would provide a disincentive to work, but the policy had no discernible impact on the labor force participation of recipients. The benefits of the policy were extraordinary, and the downsides were negligible. We can, and should, bring it back.”

“But what about inflation? Can we really send more cash to households while the Fed is trying to rein in spending? Data shows that low- and middle-income families receiving child tax credit payments in 2021 largely spent the funds on necessities, like food and utilities — the same necessities that Americans are now paying higher prices for — so the payments would go a long way toward relieving rising material hardship.
At the same time, a number of economists have noted that the expanded child tax credit is “too small to meaningfully increase inflation across the whole economy.” Perhaps most importantly, the government can help the most vulnerable in our society, even if it means asking others to chip in more to offset those costs. The Inflation Reduction Act begins that process by ensuring that the IRS can collect the tax revenue that high-income Americans actually owe.”

Mitt Romney’s Family Plan Isn’t Great, but It May Be Better Than the Alternatives

“According to Sen. Mitt Romney (R–Utah), America’s current welfare policies have two major flaws: They penalize recipients who get married by reducing the benefits they’re eligible for, and they don’t do enough to help couples afford to have more kids.

“There’s a growing gap between the number of children people say they want to have and the number they actually decide to have,” he said during an event yesterday at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C. “Just to be clear here, I don’t think the goal of policy should be to try to create incentives to have people have more children than they want, but instead should find a way to bridge the gap between what people would like to add to their family and what they’re able to afford.”

Attempting to address these issues, Romney in June released the Family Security Act 2.0, a proposal to send parents monthly checks of between $250 and $700 per child, beginning midway through a pregnancy. A household would need to have earned at least $10,000 the previous year to be eligible for the full benefit, a provision meant to keep families from dropping out of the work force entirely. The program would be “paid for” by reducing or eliminating various existing income tax breaks.

It’s hard to fault efforts to resolve distortions introduced by previous federal policy, including the whoopsie-daisy of incentivizing low-income couples to remain unmarried. The idea that it’s the government’s job to help people have more kids rests on a more debatable assumption—namely, that parents should not have to shoulder the full cost of raising future members of society.

Regardless of whether you buy that “positive externalities” argument, the federal government does spend billions each year on family programs. Given that these efforts are not likely to go away (however much libertarian purists might wish otherwise), it’s worth considering whether Romney’s proposal represents at least an incremental improvement over the status quo.”

Opinion | Both Parties Are Getting It Wrong on Parental Leave

“It is not difficult to design a good national parental leave program that provides time off and a bit of cash to all new parents based on their prior income. It is as simple as slightly increasing the Social Security payroll tax and then instructing the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide all new parents with a few months of cash benefits equal to a high percentage of their usual weekly earnings or a decent minimum benefit.”

“With the exception of the Cassidy-Sinema proposal, all of the parental leave bills in the current Congress use work history requirements to exclude a large minority of new parents from benefit eligibility.”

“In addition to failing at income replacement, the Cassidy-Sinema proposal also makes no sense as an administrative matter, which perhaps explains why it is the only plan that has no accompanying bill text. Child Tax Credit eligibility is redetermined every year based on the income of the household that the child resides in. Families with very low or high incomes are not eligible for the CTC and so it is unclear how they would pay back the benefit they received. Children often move between households from year to year, whether due to divorce, family instability or otherwise. In these scenarios, the person who receives parental leave benefits under the plan is not the same person who is eligible for the subsequent years of CTC benefits, which also makes it hard to understand how paying back the benefit would actually work.
Like the Cassidy-Sinema plan, the Rubio-Romney New Parents Act also relies on parents paying back the benefits they received in order to finance the program. But in the New Parents Act, this is accomplished by docking parents’ Social Security checks when they retire.

Making people poorer in retirement in proportion to the number of children they have is strange, especially if you believe, as bill sponsor Marco Rubio does, that parents are already “double-charged for federal senior entitlement programs” because they both pay into them directly and undergo huge personal costs to raise up the next generation of workers that keep the programs afloat for parents and non-parents alike.

But even more bizarre than trimming Social Security checks to finance the program is the provision of the New Parents Act that requires the SSA to recover the leave benefits paid to parents who die before retirement by going after the deceased parents’ estate. Requiring surviving spouses and orphaned kids to pay a deceased parent’s leave benefits back to the government is as cruel as it is unnecessary.”

“What’s remarkable about how bad all of these proposals are is that their problems are so easy to fix. In some policy areas, badly designed programs are the result of difficult decision-making and navigating powerful interests and entrenched constituencies. With parental leave, the policymakers are essentially starting from scratch. There is no good reason why an ideal leave program — i.e. one that is publicly-administered, inclusive of all new parents, provides scaled income-replacement, has a decent minimum benefit, and does not need to be paid back — could not be implemented.
Yes, it would mean raising taxes, but only by a tiny amount: Washington, D.C.’s paid leave program, which includes both parental leave and medical leave, is funded by a 0.26 percent employer payroll tax, more than a standalone parental leave program would cost. That’s all it takes to create simple, popular programs.

Lawmakers in both parties seem hellbent on much worse approaches, but it’s not too late to get it right. Doing so would deliver not only much-needed help to the public but likely a major political win to whichever party can figure it out.”

The end of Roe will mean more children living in poverty

“Almost half the United States is ready to outlaw abortion now that the Supreme Court has overruled Roe v. Wade. But many of those states are not willing to give new babies and their families the educational, medical, or financial support they need to lead a healthy life. That could leave tens of thousands of future children unnecessarily disadvantaged and living in poverty.”

“Those births will predominately be in the states with the most draconian post-Roe abortion restrictions. And with a few exceptions, those 22 states rank in the bottom half of states in the comprehensive support they provide to children and their families, according to the State-by-State Spending on Kids Dataset compiled by Brown University’s Margot Jackson and her colleagues. The disparities can be enormous: Vermont spends three times as much money on education, health care, and other economic support for children as Utah.”

“The children born in these circumstances will start life a few steps behind, all because their political leaders strove to ban abortion without offering support to the children who would be born if their aims were achieved.”

What Happens When American Children Learn About Racism?

“First and foremost, Nelsen found that, compared to students who read the more traditional history text, students of all racial backgrounds benefitted from reading the more critical text. Latino and Black youth, for instance, reported a greater willingness to participate in acts of political engagement and were also more willing to express their views on a variety of issues. In another work, Nelsen also found that white students reported a greater appreciation for the contributions that Black, Latino and Asian Americans have made to American society.

Political scientists are not the only ones finding results like this. Nelsen’s findings are consistent with a larger body of research conducted by a team of psychologists from Northwestern University, the University of Georgia and the University of Vermont. In their recent review of the literature on this topic, psychologist Sylvia Perry and her colleagues noted that teaching children about racism can actually increase the empathy they have for members of other groups, as well as their concerns about systemic racism. They point to studies showing, for example, that when white children learn about racism they are more likely to value racial fairness and show more positive attitudes and empathy toward Black people.”

Colorado Legislators Advance Bill To Ban Police from Lying to Minors During Interrogations

“Democratic lawmakers in Colorado are advancing a bill that would ban police from lying to minors during interrogations, a practice that innocence groups say contributes to false confessions.”