The vast majority of Americans have been forced to endure a great deal of pain over the past several years, much of it unwarranted. That said, the reports below describe that side of the downturn-- or is it an upturn now? -- that should make most human beings feel especially sick about the truly innocent lives that have been damaged or destroyed because some people were too greedy, ignorant, or corrupt to think about the consequences of their actions.
Financial stress may trigger violent behavior toward babies, researchers say
Recession-related stress may have triggered an alarming increase in non-accidental head injuries among infants, new research suggests.
The number of babies hospitalized for non-accidental head trauma -- a form of child abuse previously known as shaken baby syndrome -- doubled during the recent recession, according to the study by researchers at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland.
"The reasons for why this is happening are beyond the scope of our study, but it may be that more parents are stressed to the breaking point because of economic problems like unemployment and foreclosures," said lead author Mary I. Huang, a fourth-year medical student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
"In many cases, when people are forced to leave their homes, they may be moving in with relatives who might not have as much of a vested interest in taking care of infants," added Huang, who is scheduled to present the paper Wednesday at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons' meeting in Denver. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.
"The Innocent Victims of the Recession" (Fox News)
Child abuse cases on the rise in recent years
PHOENIX - A local hospital says they've seen an increase in child abuse cases since the economy tanked. Medical experts blame stressed parents, overworked social workers, and budget cuts to CPS.
"We are seeing a higher number of children that have more severity in their injuries," says Nicole Schuren, a hospital social worker.
"I think that the children suffered paid the price for that," says Dr. Jennifer Geyer.
And they're sometimes paying with their lives. Statistics show that everyday 5 children are killed by abuse in the United States, the vast majority of them under the age of 4.
In the past few years local doctors have seen an increase in child abuse cases here in the valley. when parents hurt financially, children sometimes get hurt.
"Schools Facing Rise in Homeless Students" (Christian Science Monitor)
Schools serving homeless children are seeing an increase in enrollment, straining their ability to serve the most vulnerable students.
When Sarita Fuentes thinks of homelessness, she doesn’t conjure the stereotypical image of a disheveled older man pushing a shopping cart through an urban neighborhood—she thinks of her students.
“What I see are these babies—elementary school children and their siblings,” said Ms. Fuentes, the co-principal and CEO of Monarch School, a San Diego-based, public K-12 institution that exclusively serves homeless students.
Begun by the San Diego County Office of Education as a drop-in center for homeless high school students, the 170-student Monarch School is now a public-private partnership between the San Diego Board of Education and the nonprofit Monarch School Project. It's one of a small number of schools across the country that serve students affected by unstable housing conditions. These schools, along with other schools nationwide, are seeing a growing number of students who are homeless.
Experts say the economic recession has exacerbated youth homelessness, and schools serving this vulnerable population are now being challenged to keep up with the students and offer the unique services to which they are entitled under federal law. According to a 2009 report [PDF] released by the National Center on Family Homelessness, an average of one in 50 children in the United States has experienced homelessness, which is defined as not having a stable, long-term place to stay. This ranges from children temporarily living with extended family members to living in homeless shelters or inside cars.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The number of Latino children attending preschool fell sharply during the Great Recession, according to a UC Berkeley study due out Friday.
Between 2005 and 2009, the number of Latino 4-year-olds attending preschool fell nationwide from 53 percent to 48 percent. The Great Recession is to blame.
Bruce Fuller is a UC Berkeley professor of education. He coauthored the study. He says unemployment among Latina mothers was a contributing factor.
"So it looks like they've pulled back out of preschool as they lost their job and have been able to stay at home; the second factor is that we're seeing big cutback in state and federal preschool programs," Fuller said.
More than 3.4 million students were eligible for free or reduced-price meals at California public schools last year -- a 9 percent increase from two years earlier -- indicating the number of families whose incomes have been hit hard by the recession.
Nearly every county in the state saw an increase in the number of eligible students from the 2007-08 to 2009-10 school years, according to an analysis of new state education data released this week by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health. Statewide, 281,696 more public school students became eligible.
The National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs are federally funded and open to all K-12 students. To qualify for free or reduced-price meals, a student's family income must fall below 185 percent of the federal poverty level, or $40,793 for a family of four in 2009-10.
"Faces of Poverty: More Are Depending on SNAP" (Salisbury Post)
Laura Williams has been looking forward to going to the grocery store — to shop for herself. After all, she works at the supermarket, but only recently has gotten on the food stamps program in order to buy what she sells to others all day long.
Williams is a single mother of four children, ages 15, 8, 6 and 2. “My rent is more than I make per month at work,” she said, “so it’s kind of hard to get food, pay the bills, and make sure my kids get what they need. It’s really really hard.”
As a result, she now participates in the federal Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the program formerly known as food stamps. The mother of four plans her food purchases for each month, periodically replenishing milk and other perishables, seeking to ensure her food supply lasts the entire month.
“When we go through the grocery store, everything is planned out for the whole month,” Williams said. “The main thing is meats, I’ll get them and then we’ll go get frozen vegetables, fresh fruit, stuff like that.”
Some of the unhealthiest food is also the cheapest to consumers. So for many people on a limited budget, getting more food often means buying food of limited nutrition.
“Whatever’s on sale,” Williams said. “Just to make it last throughout the month.”
Williams is part of a growing multitude that relies on SNAP to help them meet their food needs. In the past five years, North Carolina has seen the number of SNAP cases nearly double, from 385,697 in April of 2007 to 716,471 in February of this year. Growth in the caseload has accelerated each year from 2007 onwards.
Nationally, the number of individuals in SNAP has gone up every year since 2000, and, as in North Carolina, the last three years have seen an accelerated growth in cases. In 2007, 26.3 million Americans were in SNAP, and now that number has ballooned to more 40 million Americans.