Policy Brief Discussion 3: Fragile Families

Are long-term solutions and remediation the best we can do for today's children?

This study makes clear the damage done to child development and lifelong well-being to black families in disadvantaged neighborhoods where their exposure to community violence is shockingly high. Remedial or long term changes in communities are important, but the window to help kids during their critical early years is short. The evidence tells us we need to add an urgent focus on preventing or stopping stopping harmful exposure in the near term, before today's children experience more harm. Housing mobility programs hold much promise. They offer a two generation strategy that enables mothers to move their children to neighborhoods with less community violence, where they feel safer and are safer. Parents report more "peace of mind," less stress, less depression and a better quality of life. They say that their kids are also happier and healthier. This study provides a powerful case for getting kids out of harm's way, supplementing long term and more costly models of community change and medical/educational remediation.