January 10, 2003

In this Issue:

1. Institute of Education Sciences; Notice Inviting Applications for Grants To Support Education Research for Fiscal Year (FY) 2003

Source: Federal Register: January 6, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 3)

SUMMARY: The Director of the Institute of Education Sciences (Institute) announces seven FY 2003 competitions for grants to support educational research. The Director takes this action under the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (Act), Title I of Public Law 107-279. The intent of these grants is to provide national leadership in expanding fundamental knowledge and understanding of education from early childhood education through postsecondary study... The following are the seven competitions in this notice for grants to support educational research in FY 2003:
    - Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research
    - Interagency Education Research, in partnership with the National Science Foundation and the Nat'l Institutes of Health
    - Cognition and Student Learning Research
    - Reading Comprehension Research
    - Teacher Quality Research
    - Effective Mathematics Education Research
    - Social and Character Development Research
For complete information, please go to:

2. Quality Counts 2003: "If I Can't Learn From You"

Source: Education Week - January 8, 2003

EDUCATION WEEK's seventh annual report on state efforts in education focuses on the "teacher gap"--the dearth of well-qualified teachers in high-need schools. The report brings together extensive data on the states' teacher quality initiatives. Quality Counts 2003 also charts progress in other facets of states' education systems, providing state report cards, profiles,
and extensive data tables. Read the entire report online at http://www.edweek.org/rc/articles/2004/10/15/qc-archive.html

3. HHS Awards $72 Million In Early Head Start Grants Nationwide

Source: HHS RELEASE - January 9, 2003

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced $72 million in grants to 160 local agencies to administer the Early Head Start Program.  These funds will be used to increase Early Head Start enrollment by approximately 7,000 infants and toddlers, bringing total Early Head Start enrollment to 62,400... To read the press release and see the list of grants go to: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2003pres/20030109.html

4. HHS Awards Grants for Child Support Development Projects

Source: HHS News - January 2, 2003

Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced on Jan. 2 the awarding of over $2.2 million in child support development project grants to 12 states, faith-based, non-profit, and tribal organizations to aid them in their child support enforcement systems.  The Special Improvement grants are part of HHS' commitment to the American family by strengthening the child support enforcement program...  A number of grants are designed to assist unmarried, low-income parents understand the importance of parenting skills, as well as unemployed fathers recognize the impact their actions can have on their child's life.
To read the full press release go to: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/news/newann.htm

5. Findings Suggest Volunteer Home Visitation Improves Some Parenting Outcomes, But Not Parental Distress or Poor Mental Health

Source: MCH Alert - January 10, 2002

Although "this volunteer model home visitation program for teenaged mothers influenced parenting behavior in a significant positive direction . . . the program did not have a positive impact on teenagers' reported social support, parenting stress, or poor mental health," state the authors of an article published in the December 2002 issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. This article describes the results of a randomized controlled trial evaluating the impact of a volunteer home visitation program model on parenting and mental health outcomes for adolescent mothers.

Adolescents ages 12 through 18 who were in their third trimester of pregnancy or who had delivered a baby in the past 6 months were recruited between February 1996 and August 1999. A total of 232 eligible adolescents were assigned to the home visitation or the control group (home visitation, 118; control, 114). Each adolescent randomized to the home visitation group was paired with one volunteer home visitor who was to make weekly home visits with the adolescent and other family members until the child's first birthday. Congruence between the home visitation model and actual implementation was measured. Structured interviews (conducted by research staff blinded to group assignment at baseline and at 15 months follow-up) assessed demographics, pregnancy and school history, social support, mental health, and parenting outcomes.

The authors found that

* The study groups were comparable on demographics, social support, and mental health measures at baseline.
* Almost half of the adolescents had poor mental health at baseline, and high rates persisted at follow-up in both groups.
* Compared with the control group, the home visitation group demonstrated significantly better parenting behavior scores at follow-up but showed no differences in parenting stress or mental health.

The authors suggest that "policymakers might use our findings and conclude that volunteer-based programs may be complementary to but not a substitute for other forms of early intervention and support services for socially and economically disadvantaged childbearing teenagers."

Barnet B, Duggan AK, Devoe M, et al. 2002. The effect of volunteer home visitation for adolescent mothers on parenting and mental health outcomes: A randomized trial. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 156(12):1216-1222.

[Originally published in MCHAlert ©  2003 National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health and Georgetown University.  Reprinted with permission.]

6. Authors Investigate the Effects of Postpartum Discharge Policy Changes on Measures of Newborn Health Status

Source: MCH Alert - January 10, 2002

"Although both the reduced-stay program and the state mandate resulted in marked changes in practice, we found no effect of either policy on neonatal health after discharge (as measured by the use of hospital based services)," state the authors of an article published in the December 19, 2002, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The purpose of this article was to investigate the effects of the two policies on the following: length of stay, follow-up care for newborns, use of outpatient care and hospital-based services during the first 10 days of life, and expenditures for hospital and home-based maternity services.

The study sample consisted of 20,366 mother-infant pairs who were insured by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (HPHC), a Massachusetts-based health maintenance organization (HMO), and received medical care at HPHC between  October 1990 and March 1998. In 1994, HPHC implemented the Reduced Obstetrical Length of Stay (ROLOS) program, with a standard of one night in the hospital after a normal vaginal delivery. In February 1996, Massachusetts passed a law establishing a minimum hospital stay of 48 hours after delivery. All analyses were repeated for a subgroup of women who were potentially more vulnerable to the effects of the policies.

The authors found that

* While the ROLOS program was in effect, the rate of short stays averaged 65.6% of births. After the state mandate went into effect, the rate dropped to 13.7%.
* The rate of newborn follow-up examinations after the implementation of the ROLOS program increased from 24.5% to 64.4%; after the state mandate went into effect, the rate dropped to 53.0%.
* After the implementation of the ROLOS program, the rate of newborn nonurgent health center visits increased from 33.4% to 44.7% and then began a slow decrease of 1.0 percentage points per quarter that continued during the period after the mandate. There were no sudden changes in the rates of urgent visits associated with the policy shifts.
* Results for these outcomes were similar for the vulnerable group.
* Savings to the HMO during the ROLOS program averaged $90 per delivery; after the mandate, the average per-delivery payment increased by $100. These amounts take into account changes in utilization prices that occurred during the study period.

The authors conclude that "our findings . . . support previous research concluding that early discharge after delivery may be safe."

Madden JM, Soumerai SB, Lieu, TA, et al. 2002. Effects of a law against early postpartum discharge on newborn follow-up, adverse events, and HMO expenditures. New England Journal of Medicine 347(25): 2031-2038.

[Originally published in MCHAlert ©  2003 National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health and Georgetown University.  Reprinted with permission.]