Nearly half of children have damaging childhood experiences. Here’s how to help your child

Adobe Stock, 100207516 Nearly half of American children have grown up with at least one ACE – an adverse childhood experience. The impact varies with the experience, from parent's divorce or poverty to violence, among others, but the impact is real.less Related Links Stress in a child's life may set stage for chronic disease when that child is grown New study shows link between strong families and prosperous states Why it's important to pay attention to your child's mental health SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly half of America's children live through adverse childhood experiences that can leave them vulnerable to ongoing and future challenges, sometimes severe, according to a new report that documents not just potential harm, but uneven impact based on race and state. “The Prevalence of Adverse Childhood Experiences, Nationally, by State, and by Race or Ethnicity,” was released by researchers from Child Trends, a Bethesda-based organization that studies American children's lives with an eye toward improving them. The study finds a constellation of events that can add up to "toxic stress" and negatively influence both child development and future adulthood for 45 percent of America's kids. "This is really a critical public health issue," said Vanessa Sacks, a research scientist who wrote the report with colleague David Murphey, a research fellow. They studied eight adverse childhood experiences, often called ACEs. Nationwide and across all groups, the most common are economic hardship (defined as "hard to cover basics like food or housing") and parents' separation or divorce. Other adverse experiences studied were a parent's death, parent incarceration, seeing or experiencing violence either from an adult in one's household or outside in one's community, or living with someone who abuses drugs or alcohol or who has a mental illness. Kids who experience these adverse situations, some traumatic and some more subtle, may have Continue Reading

Find the perfect local neighborhood for your dream home

When it comes to finding the perfect neighborhood for your dream home in metro Detroit, your plate is likely full of things to consider. Location is key, along with price and amenities, and you’ll want to think about where you want to live and why. But figuring out a target ballpark is just the first step – it’s the little things that will make the most practical differences, such as how far your favorite cycling class will be from your home and if the grocery store near you carries the right foods for your family’s needs.Identify everything that will enrich the lives of you and your loved ones, from after-school art programs to having access to a good park. Here are five things to look into when searching for the right local neighborhood for a new home, which Toll Brothers, an award-winning company building in 20 states, can help you find. Education  If you have a family – or are considering starting one soon – a top priority to keep in mind when weighing out neighborhood options for a new home is what kind of education is available in your surroundings. Take a look at nearby public or private schools and what they offer, such as after-school activities, enrichment and college preparatory programs. If your child enjoys being creative, Ann Arbor offers a variety of theater, arts and night programs for kids. Set aside time to research average test scores in the area, teacher-to-student ratio and parent reviews. Once you’ve determined a few that may be a good fit for your family’s needs, arrange a tour of each to ensure that they’re clean, safe and provide a constructive environment that will be both encouraging and fun. Medical careThe metro Detroit area is known for its renowned medical care. From Ann Arbor, to Novi, to downtown Detroit, there are top hospitals within fast driving distance from all neighborhoods. There are even several specialty hospitals in the area that will be there for you and Continue Reading

Preparing For Your Annual Tax Meeting

provided by Published 9:00 am, Friday, January 12, 2018 MoneyTips Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are incredibly busy during tax season. Their time is precious, even more so this year with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. That makes it even more important for you to prepare for your allotted tax preparation time. Your CPA needs the following four categories of information to prepare your taxes properly. Make sure to bring all the necessary forms and receipts and organize them so that they may be found quickly. Identification and Basic Information – For any new relationships, you will need to supply identification for you, your spouse, and all dependents claimed. Social Security cards are preferred, but other government-issued ID is usually acceptable. Check with your preparer before you visit. Other basic information includes your address, your previous year's tax form, and any information relating to a change in your tax status such as inheritance, marriage/divorce, and change in dependents. The IRS is cracking down on cases of divorced spouses filing separately but claiming the same child as a dependent, so make sure that situation is clarified if it applies to you.Income Documents – Most taxable income will be summarized in standard IRS forms sent by payers – W-2 forms for traditional salaries, wages, bonuses, and tips; 1099 forms for self-employment, independent contracting, and most investment and interest income; and K-1 forms for personal taxes relating to ownership (S-corporations, partnerships, LLC's, and trust/estate incomes). Each income source owes you a corresponding form. There are many variations of the 1099 form related to specific sources; check the IRS website if you are missing a form and are not sure what type of form you should receive. It is up to you to supply documents, such as bank statements, spreadsheets, or written summaries, for any income not covered by these forms. These sources include Continue Reading

Embrace Iowa program provides emergency assistance for families in need

Carol Krieg and her daughters, 26-year-old Lynn and 2-year-old Zoe, live in a small, two-bedroom apartment in Dubuque.Carol and Lynn both have significant health problems. Carol hasn’t worked for about a year and is trying to qualify for disability benefits.  Lynn receives disability benefits and also works part-time at a local factory.In early December, they got behind on bills and their water was shut off. They applied for and received emergency assistance from the Embrace Iowa program to help restore their water service, so they were only without water for a few hours.“I was so glad for this program that allowed us to get our water back on,” Lynn said. “With a child in our home, we need water. We need to be able to give her baths and have water for cooking, drinking and doing dishes. Being able to turn our water back on helped us to maintain our everyday life and have what we needed to survive.“I’m supporting all three of us right now, and the bills just keep piling up,” she continued. “But I’m trying my hardest to catch up on bills to help us have a less stressful, more fulfilling life.  I’m trying to be a good role model for my sister. I want her to be healthy and happy and have a good chance at life.”The Des Moines Register's Embrace Iowa campaign has been helping low-income families at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines meet their basic needs for the last 30 years. The program helps fill in the gaps by providing up to $500 to pay for things like working appliances, beds, medical and prescription expenses, eye glasses, car repairs, and even rent or utilities if the family has gotten behind.In 2016, 899 households applied for Embrace Iowa assistance. The $156,546 was enough to give assistance to 452 households, representing only 50 percent of the households that applied for help. The goal this year is to raise $275,000 to leave no applicants out in the cold. The Continue Reading

Can your child see clearly? 6 things to know

It’s a standard part of back-to-school checkups: Cover one eye and read the chart on the wall.That test is crucial because not all pairs of eyes are created equal, and it can be difficult for parents to tell if a child’s vision is much weaker in one eye than in the other.“A child who has poor vision in one eye may function just fine,” said Dr. Lawrence Turtel, pediatric ophthalmologist at the Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch. “There are a lot of parents who have no suspicion that there is a problem and they’re shocked to find out their child doesn’t see well out of one eye.” RELATED: Fighting pediatric cancer, paying it forwardThat condition is called amblyopia, and it is the leading cause of vision loss among children.“The problem is we have two eyes but only one brain,” Turtel said. “If that one brain realizes the vision from one eye is better than the other, it will learn to ignore the second one.”Amblyopia often is referred to colloquially as “lazy eye” because the weak eye may turn in, out, up or down. But it’s not always that obvious.“A child with straight eyes who is functioning well can still have poor vision,” Turtel said. “That child can do well in school and hit a baseball and do all kinds of things. That’s the child who slips through the cracks.”The key, Turtel said, is to make sure children have their eyes examined at least once per year. The longer amblyopia goes undetected, the harder it is to treat.Here are four more eye care tips Turtel would offer parents of young children. RELATED: Is your child's hearing OK? Get them screened early“If a child’s family has a history of eye disease, that child should be seen by an eye doctor early on, as early as 2,” Turtel said. “You don’t have to wait for them to become verbal. That’s a big mistake people make, Continue Reading

Tracking your child by GPS may not be the best way to keep tabs on your kid

Helicopter parents don’t have to hover over their precious charges to track their every move. They now have the option of popping a portable GPS into their kid’s backpack or signing up for an iPhone app, according to a Wired piece. But while the high-tech devices may make parents feel better, they can also have parents obsessing about their child’s whereabouts. Public relations specialist Courtney Goldberg says everyone in her family uses Google Latitude so they all know where they’re at 24-7. Her mom used it to watch her sister’s movements through Europe when she studied abroad for a semester. But it has its drawbacks. When Goldberg’s sister-in-law was tracked by her brother to a Soho neighborhood, he thought she was out shopping and e-mailed to ask what she was doing. I’m not shopping, came the reply, I’m on an interview."My mom isn’t invasive but she is very hands-on," Goldberg says. "I use it, too. Sometimes if my mother doesn’t answer the phone right away, I will track her."Psychologist David Eigen activated a device on the cell phones of his two daughters when they were in middle school so he could keep track of their wanderings. "I felt that it was my job as a parent to know where they were every minute," he said. "Once I found out that everything was basically okay, I didn’t feel that I needed it anymore."It can be costly to keep track of your kid electronically. A GPS unit can cost $350, plus a $15 monthly charge for a service subscription, says the report. An iPhone can provide GPS, and apps such as Where the Flock (WTF) offer a person’s location. A monthly plan can cost $15. There’s also the effect on a child of knowing he is being tracked. Michael McCann, president of an executive protection agency called McCann Protective Services, says the devices make sense for a child with special needs. But most of the time, they Continue Reading

How to prepare your small business for a disaster

When major disasters like Hurricane Gustav dominate the press, small-business owners are reminded of how quickly everything they work for can be swept away. But when hurricane season ends, how many do something about the risks? While the odds of a hurricane destroying your business are low, even if you work in a state like Florida or Louisiana, a smaller and more common disaster like a fire can destroy your business's equipment just as easily. Fortunately, steps you take to prepare for those smaller disasters can also hedge against the more damaging and rare ones, says Donna Childs, a small-business owner and author of Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses.There are simple and cheap steps you can take that will provide basic protection against your business and its infrastructure in the case of disasters, both small and large.Look into business interruption insurance. One of the difficulties about protecting a business from disaster in 2008 is that the nature of the ordinary business is changing. If your business does not have a store to lose to a natural disaster--say, it only exists in your home or online--does that mean there's nothing you can do to insure against damage? "People are programmed to think about insurance for physical loss, but they don't think about protection against lost revenue," says Childs. She says she's surprised at how many small businesses don't jump for business interruption insurance, which covers you for the profits you would make during a time when your business cannot operate because of some unfortunate event. A subset of business interruption insurance is service interruption insurance--policies that would cover a home-based service business if, for example, an online entrepreneur were to lose power for a period of time and be unable to work.Business interruption insurance also works for entrepreneurs who have actual stores. Dennis Meehan has run Meehan's Office Products in Continue Reading

Financial plans ease the burden of saving for a child’s education

Saving for college is a massive endeavor. If you want to pay for at least part of your child's higher education costs, there are a number of tax-advantaged ways to do so. Before you get started, though, keep in mind that almost every financial professional stresses the importance of making sure your own retirement goals are funded before you begin to set aside cash for your child's education. You may be asking yourself, "How much will sending my child to college really cost me?" That depends on many factors, including whether you want to pay for every penny of the entire four years or look into student loans, grants, scholarships and other financing options as well as if your child will be going to a community college or to a private or public university, and so on. The total four-year cost of a private school 18 years from now is projected to be roughly $215,000. To reach that sum, you're going to need to set aside approximately $374 per month, starting today, assuming a conservative 7% return on your investment. On the other hand, perhaps your child will be going to a public university. If so, cost will be substantially less, but by no means cheap. Assuming you want to pay for all related costs, the grand total will be somewhere around $100,000. On a monthly basis, you'd need to set aside about $200, starting now. Although there are several ways to save for your child's education, consider the following vehicles to help you reach your goal. COVERDELL EDUCATION SAVINGS ACCOUNTS These are tax-deferred college savings accounts and can be an excellent way to save for college. Although contributions are not tax deductible, they do grow tax-free. You may open these plans at any financial institution that handles traditional IRAs, and you can use just about any investment option that works for you to build your savings. When the funds are withdrawn to pay for college expenses, the earnings are tax-free. There are restrictions, of course - Continue Reading

How NOT to argue with your child

Actor Alec Baldwin has apparently considering penned a book about how to survive a nasty divorce and custody battle. He wanted to use his experience with ex-wife Kim Basinger to help other parents going through the hell he's been through. Headline News' Showbiz Tonight executive producer Dave Levine tells me it will be out later this year, from St. Martin's Press.  But given the actor's latest display of parenting - in his foul-mouthed tirade to his 11 1/2 year old daughter caught on audiotape - he should worry about sales. Many potential readers have been totally turned off after hearing the leaked voicemail recording of his outburst. Basinger had reportedly filed a court motion to stop the book with its proposed tell-all accounts. But given the latest developments in Baldwin's personal life, he better  have a chapter: what NOT to do when talking to a daughter caught in the middle of two viciously sparring divorced spouses. Never name-call. On the now infamous voicemail message Baldwin left on his daughter's phone, he called her a "rude thoughtless little pig."  This blatently violates a basic rule of parenting:  criticize the child's behavior, never the child.  Words stick in a child's mind and are never forgotten. Baldwin prefaced his insult with "let me tell you how I really feel," thus exacerbating the hurt.  The adolescent will sadly likely forever hear her father's derogatory words echo in her ear. Such insults will undoubtedly make her distrust him, all men, and even her husband when she marries and has children (fearing what their father might say to their kids one day). Put-downs add insult to injury.  Baldwin told his daughter, "You don't have the brains or the decency as a human being."  Adults have told me how devastated they are over harsh words parents' told them, that still resonate in their head.  Even when they pride themselves on making their Continue Reading

GUIDE YOUR KIDS TO FISCAL FITNESS. It’s the path of independence

BRENDAN WOOD IS JUST 17 YEARS OLD and he already has a retirement account. His parents, Sean and Nora Wood, recently set up a Roth IRA for the high school junior from Shoreham, L. I. For every dollar Brendan earns - he's been working summers at Splish Splash - they intend to contribute an equal amount. But if Brendan stops getting a pay check, his mom and dad will stop funding the IRA. "This will hopefully get him focused on his future," said Sean Wood, the director of operations for Globecomm Network Services. The Woods, who plan to set up another IRA for their 15-year-old daughter Meaghan, are thinking ahead about making their kids fiscally responsible. But for many parents across the country, it's way too late for that. A generation of 20- and 30-somethings who should be financially independent are looking more like adolescents again, weighing down their baby boomer parents just as they hit retirement age. According to a recent Ameriprise Financial survey of 2,000 adults aged 45 to 70, 52% said the advice they most need is how to make their children financially savvy. Though baby boomers may have had dreams of financial freedom in their golden years, many are now doing the laundry and cleaning up after adult children - and sometimes grandchildren - who've come home to live with them again. Just released figures by the U. S. Census Bureau show that 18. 2 million adults aged 18 to 34 - a whopping 27% of all young adults in this country - live with their parents. The number of boomerang kids has increased 2% over the last five years. "These kids are facing what I call a 'quarter-life crisis,'" said financial planner Jeffrey Fishman. "They are in their mid to late 20s mulling around with no direction. " Shaun Golden, a financial adviser at A. G. Edwards who specializes in senior planning, said he's seeing situations where fully grown adults in their 30s and 40s are getting allowances on a monthly basis from their parents. "It could Continue Reading