January 25, 2019

In this Issue:

  1. Inappropriate Use of Restraint and Seclusion: Initiative to Protect Children with Disabilities
      Source: U.S. Department of Education
  2. Understanding Motivation: Building the Brain Architecture
      Source: National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
  3. Medicaid for Key Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Services
      Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP)
  4. Potential Link Between the Opioid Crisis and Gastroschisis
      Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

1. Inappropriate Use of Restraint and Seclusion: Initiative to Protect Children with Disabilities

Source: U.S. Department of Education

This press release from the U.S. Department of Education (January 17, 2019) describes new initiatives to address and govern the use of restraint and seclusion on recipients of Section 504, Title II and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) accommodations and services. Compliance reviews, data collection, and technical assistance to enforce the legal obligations of states and school districts are mentioned as methods for improving results and outcomes for children with disabilities. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in partnership with the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), will oversee this initiative.

2. Understanding Motivation: Building the Brain Architecture

Source: National Scientific Council on the Developing Child

A recent working paper published by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (December 2018) explores the science of motivation and how positive feedback in early childhood reinforces a child's inherent feelings of satisfaction or pleasure. The development of the brain's motivation systems is most sensitive when infants and toddlers "are learning approach, avoidance, and attachment behaviors". These behaviors are learned best via responsive, supportive interactions from caregiver relationships. The paper further explains how a child's motivation and rewards systems can be disrupted and implications for caregivers and policymakers.

3. Medicaid for Key Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Services

Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP)

The NCCP recently published this brief (November 2018) that provides updated data results from a 50-State survey regarding states' Medicaid coverage for key infant and early childhood mental health services. Policies that support the accessibility and quality of these services are also examined.

4. Potential Link Between the Opioid Crisis and Gastroschisis

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

A recent report from the CDC (January 2019) considers a potential link between gastroschisis, a birth defect where the infant is born with its intestines outside of its body, and communities with high opioid prescription rates. A study found that counties where doctors provided frequent opioid prescriptions "had 1.6 times more babies born with gastroschisis compared to counties with low opioid prescription rates". Researchers stress that tracking birth defect rates and opioid prescriptions is necessary for understanding the impact of the opioid crisis on mothers and infants.