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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

New Research Links Child Maltreatment to Generational Health Outcomes

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Tuesday, March 28, 2023   

New findings suggest health effects stemming from child maltreatment can be passed on to the next generation.

In South Dakota, leaders in early-childhood support said there are ways to limit the impact of traumatic events within a family's history.

The research was led by the Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes Program and the National Institutes of Health. It said children of mothers exposed to childhood maltreatment had higher rates of asthma, ADHD and autism.

Darbi Hunt, family lead for South Dakota's Early Childhood Comprehensive System's Collaborative, said guidance and early screening are vital in reversing such outcomes.

"It's important that we look for ways to help understand better practices," Hunt stressed. "Provide them the resources, the knowledge and the skills so that we can try and break that cycle."

The state is expanding its Bright Start visiting program for income-eligible households, where a personal nurse supports mothers during and after birth. And there are parenting classes, too. But Hunt noted awareness and accessibility can be a challenge in a rural state like South Dakota, and she urged agencies to team up to prevent families from falling through the cracks.

Darla Biel, assistant director of the Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment, said the findings add to the long history of research showing how a surrounding environment can impact child development. But she emphasized a history of abuse or neglect does not mean a family is permanently broken.

"They may have experienced adversity," Biel acknowledged. "That doesn't mean that they're not able to be supported, and not able to move forward in healthy and safe ways with their children and their families."

Biel added parents navigating adversity should feel no shame in asking for help, noting they are not alone in trying to cope with stress while raising a child.

According to last year's State of Babies data summary, 22% of South Dakota mothers reported less than optimal mental health. Parenting classes are offered through the state's Social Services department.

Disclosure: The Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault, Education, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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