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IN THIS ISSUE:

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Spotlight on Youth Homicide Victims

Practical Considerations Related to Release and Sentencing for Defendants Who Have Behavioral Health Needs: A Judicial Guide


EDUCATION

Associations Between Predictive Indicators and Postsecondary Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Success Among Hispanic Students in Texas

Stackable Credentials: Do They Have Labor Market Value?


GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

OPPAGA Report: Florida is Generally Following Statutory Child Support Guidelines; Deviations are Limited

Barriers to Accessing Homeownership


HEALTH AND
HUMAN SERVICES

Participation Rates in Other Assistance Programs: 2013

Assessing the Preparedness of the U.S. Health Care System Infrastructure for an Alzheimer's Treatment



November 22, 2017

Criminal_Justice
CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports show that youth homicide victimizations remain low, but a larger proportion of youth are killed by a firearm. Across age groups, the number of youth homicide victims declined 30% or more since 1993. In 2015, most youth homicide victims were very young (ages 0–5) or older teens (ages 15–17). Two-thirds of victims younger than age 6 were killed by a family member in 2015. The number of homicide victims ages 15-17 declined between 1980 and 2015, but of those youth killed, the proportion killed by a firearm remained high, 82%.

Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice

Criminal court judges across the country report that the number of people they see in their courtrooms at every stage of the legal process who have mental illnesses or substance use disorders has increased dramatically in recent years. This guide is intended to provide judges with practical information and strategies to help them recognize signs that a person may have a mental illness or substance use disorder; understand the process for screening and assessing people for these conditions; become familiar with the different types of treatment that best address particular behavioral health needs; collaborate with behavioral health care providers to identify the treatment resources that are available in their communities; and make release and sentencing decisions and referrals to treatment that can improve public health and safety outcomes.

Source: Council of State Governments

Education
EDUCATION

For Texas public high school graduates enrolled in a two-year or a four-year college, indicators of academic experiences, achievement in math and science, and high school attendance rate were strongly associated with postsecondary science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) success. The associations were generally similar for Hispanic students and non-Hispanic White students. The indicators associated with postsecondary STEM success included number of math or science courses taken, number of Advanced Placement (AP) math or science courses taken, highest math or science course taken, and scores on state assessments.

Source: Institution of Education Sciences

Stackable credentials – sequential postsecondary awards that allow individuals to progress on a career path – have been suggested as a way to enhance the labor market prospects of middle-skill workers. The authors' estimates of stackable credentials show only weakly positive and inconsistent gains from these award combinations. Generally, these estimates are indistinguishable from the returns to only one postsecondary credential. There is no clear evidence of how earnings vary across types of stack (progressive, supplemental, or independent) or student characteristics. However, estimated earnings gains from stackable credentials may be imprecise. Few college students stack awards, the motives for stacking are unknown, and notably, the number of stacked awards depends on whether general vocational awards are included. Future research should examine why students stack awards and how they can choose combinations of awards that maximize their earnings gains from stacking.

Source: Community College Research Center

Government Operations
GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

OPPAGA found that statutory child support guidelines are generally being followed for the Title IV-D and private cases that we were able to review. Specifically, our review of administrative and Title IV-D judicial cases and private cases found that the guidelines and guideline schedule were used to establish the child support obligation amount. Child support guideline worksheet calculations were generally correct for Title IV-D administrative and private cases. However, the quality and type of data available varied across the Title IV-D and private systems. Specifically, inconsistent and unreliable data made it difficult to confirm the accuracy of guideline calculations for Title IV-D judicial cases. The Department of Revenue may wish to collaborate with the state court system to resolve variation in worksheets used and the interpretation of data elements on the worksheets. Deviations from the guidelines were limited in Title IV-D and private child support cases and when deviations occurred, they were mostly below the guideline amounts. For Title IV-D administrative cases, only 2.6% of cases deviated from guideline calculations. Similarly, the deviation rate for Title IV-D judicial cases was low, at 4.9%. In addition, we found that only 5.5% of cases showed clear evidence of deviating from child support guidelines in private cases.

Source: OPPAGA

Saving for a down payment is a considerable barrier to homeownership. With rising home prices, rising interest rates, and tight lending standards, the path to homeownership has become more challenging, especially for low-to-median-income borrowers and first-time homebuyers. Yet most potential homebuyers are largely unaware that there are low–down payment and no–down payment assistance programs available at the local, state, and federal levels to help eligible borrowers secure an appropriate down payment. This report provides charts and commentary to articulate the challenges families face saving for down payments as well as the options available to help them and also included an interactive map.

Source: Urban Institute

Health and Human Services
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

While one focus of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is to measure participation in major federally funded social safety net programs, the survey also asks respondents about the use of other assistance programs: food, transportation, clothing, and housing assistance. Other assistance programs are often part of an informal network that provides short-term assistance for low-income individuals and families. In 2013, 58.1% of the total population aged 15 and older (an estimated 139.9 million people) had household incomes below 200% of their poverty thresholds and were therefore asked whether they had received any of these types of assistance. An estimated 6.5% (15.6 million people) received some type of food, transportation, clothing, or housing assistance at any point during the year. Among these assistance programs, the one with the largest participation was food assistance followed by transportation, housing, and clothing assistance. An estimated 2.8% (6.8 million people) reported receiving food assistance. In 2013, 2.7% of the population aged 15 and older (approximately 6.5 million people) reported receiving transportation assistance. The most common reason for transportation assistance was to get rides to a doctor’s office or medical appointment.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Almost 15 million people with mild cognitive impairment, a condition that may signal early-stage Alzheimer's disease, are projected to live in the U.S. by 2019. They will have to be evaluated by specialists, undergo diagnostic testing for the disease, and be treated. A simulation analysis shows that projected capacity is insufficient to handle the expected case load and predicts that patients would have to wait an average of 18.6 months for treatment in 2020. Approximately 2.1 million patients would develop Alzheimer's dementia between 2020 and 2040 while on waiting lists. The most pressing constraint is limited capacity of dementia specialists to evaluate and diagnose patients, but access to imaging to confirm Alzheimer's disease and to infusion centers to deliver the treatment would also contribute to waiting times. This report intends to inform a discussion among stakeholders and create a sense of urgency to start collaborating on addressing the obstacles in a timely manner.

Source: RAND Corporation


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GOVERNMENT PROGRAM SUMMARIES (GPS)
Government Program Summaries (GPS) is a free resource for legislators and the public that provides descriptive information on over 200 state government programs. To provide fiscal data, GPS links to Transparency Florida, the Legislature's website that includes continually updated information on the state's operating budget and daily expenditures by state agencies.

POLICYNOTES

A publication of the Florida Legislature's Office of Program Policy Analysis And Government Accountability

PolicyNotes, published every Friday, features reports, articles, and websites with timely information of interest to policymakers and researchers. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by third parties as reported in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect OPPAGA's views.

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