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The Effect of the Recession on Child Well-Being

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November 15, 2010

By Katherine Sell, MSSP, Sarah Zlotnik, MSW, MSPH, Kathleen Noonan, JD and David Rubin, MD, MSCE

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When the economy takes a downturn, it often hits the most vulnerable children and families the hardest. The recent recession is no exception. In their paper, “The Effect of Recession on Child Well-Being: A Synthesis of the Evidence by PolicyLab, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,” Katherine Sell and colleagues at PolicyLab at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Research Institute synthesize evidence of the effects of the recent and prior recessions on child well-being.

Among their takeaway messages is that it takes years post-recession for families to bounce back to pre-recession income levels, and low-income families take even longer to rebound. A second key finding is that public programs play a pivotal role in blunting the negative impacts of a recession.

Related Resources:
Read First Focus’s companion policy briefs which consider the role of public programs in the process of economic recovery and provides recommendations for improving the provision of services to vulnerable children and families as we bounce back from the most recent recession.

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