Recent Developments


Search and Seizure

The United States Supreme Court has ruled that if the police stop a car and have probable cause to search it for drugs, they can also search a passenger’s belongings.

Source: Wyoming v. Houghton.

Contributed by: Carol A. Schwab, Family Resource Management Specialist, NCSU.

Slip and Fall Case and the ADA

The Sixth Circuit, interpreting Georgia law, was the first court in the country to hold that failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is negligence per se in a slip and fall case. A disabled shopper fell and broke her neck in a Wal-Mart bathroom that wasn’t handicapped-accessible.

Source: Smith v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 97-5313.

Contributed by: Carol A. Schwab, Family Resource Management Specialist, NCSU.

Paying Taxes by Credit Card

The IRS is introducing two different ways for taxpayers to pay their federal income taxes by credit card, either by telephone or computer. Private credit card companies will process the transactions and report the payment to the IRS. Credit card numbers will not be reported. The taxpayer will pay convenience fees. Taxpayers who want to use the computer method must use the Intuit Tax preparation software. Or, taxpayers may use the telephone by calling 1-888-2PAY-TAX and arrange payment of their taxes with Mastercard, Discover, or American Express card.

Source: Federal Tax Bulletin, January 25, 1999, Kleinrock Publishing; IRS Code Sections 6103, 6311.

Contributed by: Carol A. Schwab, Family Resource Management Specialist, NCSU.

Certain Commuting Expenses Are Deductible

Transportation expenses incurred in going between a taxpayer’s residence and temporary work location may be deductible in certain circumstances. Daily transportation expenses are deductible where incurred

  • in going between the taxpayer’s residence and a temporary work location outside the metropolitan area where the taxpayer lives and normally works;
  • in going between the taxpayer’s residence and a temporary work location in the same trade or business, regardless of the distance, where a taxpayer has one or more regular work locations away from the taxpayer’s residence; and
  • in going between the residence and another work location in the same trade or business, regardless of whether the other work location is regular or temporary and regardless of the distance, if a taxpayer’s residence is the taxpayer’s principal place of business within the meaning of IRS Code Section 280A(c)(1)(A).

Source: IRS Revenue Ruling 99-7

Contributed by: Carol A. Schwab, Family Resource Management Specialist, NCSU.

Food & Nutrition

Fruit Consumption Versus Vegetable Consumption

A recent study found that the factors influencing fruit consumption may be different from those influencing vegetable consumption. For example, believing that diet is important to health was associated with increased fruit intake among women but associated with increased vegetable intake among men.

Also, while having personal motives to feel better, control weight, stay healthy, or prevent cancer or other serious illness was associated with increased intake of both fruits and vegetables, each was more strongly associated with increased fruit intake. Regular exercise and supplement use were also more strongly associated with fruit consumption. Therefore, one general message such as 5 A DAY FOR BETTER HEALTH may not help increase both fruit and vegetable consumption equally. Knowing the above associations will help professionals develop programs that more effectively target audiences to increase fruit or vegetable consumption.

Source: Trudeau, E. et al (1998). Demographic and psychosocial predictors of fruit and vegetable intakes differ: Implications for dietary interventions. JADA 98(12):1412-1417.

Contributed by: Jackie McClelland, Nutrition Specialist, NCSU.


Housing Satisfaction Study

This study explores the relationship of housing satisfaction, life satisfaction, and job satisfaction among clergy members and their spouses. Findings indicate that there is a relationship between housing satisfaction and life and job satisfaction. When respondents felt that work interfered with use of the home, lower levels of satisfaction were reported. Also, housing satisfaction decreased as satisfaction with balance between home and work decreased. Age and job status were also significantly related to housing satisfaction. Those respondents that were older and held higher positions expressed higher levels of job satisfaction. Differences in levels of housing satisfaction were found between the clergy member and his/her spouse, with higher levels of satisfaction being reported among the clergy.

Source: Keller, T.C., Farr, C.A., Kirby, S.D., and Rusco, J. (1997). Housing and its influence on life and job satisfaction among clergy. Housing and Society, 24 (1):15-34.

Contributed by: Sarah D. Kirby, Housing Specialist, NCSU.

Racial and Ethnic Diversity Study

The most recent issue of Cityscape is devoted to the exploration of racial and ethnic diversity among 14 neighborhoods in 9 of America’s cities. Neighborhoods were selected for study based on the following characteristics: racial composition, level of segregation in the city, age of city, regional location of city, consistency with which informants identified area as diverse, and presence or absence of community organizations committed to sustaining diversity. Researchers studied the policies and strategies that brought about diversity within the communities. The communities were divided into two models: those that are diverse-by-direction communities and those that are diverse-by-circumstance communities. The study examines these cities to assist in creating stable racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods. The study also lists specific recommendations for the development and maintenance of diverse neighborhoods.

Source: Nyden, P., Lukehart, J., Maly, M.T., and Peterman, W. (1998). Racially and ethnically diverse urban neighborhoods. Cityscape: A Journal of Policy and Development Research, 4(2).

Contributed by: Sarah D. Kirby, Housing Specialist, NCSU.

Human Development

Closing of Child Care Program Study

The closing of a child care program can be a potentially significant stressor for families. Results of this study involving half of the 60 families enrolled in a child care program revealed negative reactions to the closing of a child care center. The parents’ reactions followed a pattern similar to that reported by Hill (1958). Hill’s stages included disorganization, recovery, and reorganization. In this study, parents reported initial feelings of worry and regret, sadness, a sense of loss, shock, betrayal, disappointment, and helplessness. Three to four weeks following the initial announcement, parents reported a different set of reactions including adjustment, acceptance, and a development of a new sense of appreciation for the importance of child care in the community. Once new child care was located, parents reported feeling satisfied, yet parents who had not located child care reported worry about choosing centers with nutritious meals, appropriate adult-child ratios, trained providers, appropriate activities, quality equipment, and location. The authors make several recommendations to assist families with such a transition and adjustment.

  • Inform employees, then families, as soon as possible. Employees must also deal with their emotions so they can be helpful to families;
  • Provide parents with as much prior notice as possible;
  • Encourage parents to talk with their children about the change in child care and provide appropriate activities to assist them;
  • Notify community employers whose employees may be affected by the center’s closing;
  • Communicate with parents in a variety of ways about the closing;
  • Provide parents with information about community agencies or organizations that provide assistance in locating child care;
  • Recognize that parents experience a range of emotions being sensitive to individual differences; and
  • Become involved in national concern for the availability of quality child care.

Source: Helling, M. K. and Goodfellow, K. (1998). Parental responses to closing the center: Implications for practitioners. Child and Youth Care Forum, 27(6):433-440.

Contributed by: Karen DeBord, Child Development Specialist, NCSU.

Burnout Among Child Care Providers

Many factors contribute to burnout among child care workers, including low wages, minimal (or non-existent) financial, health, and retirement benefits, difficult working conditions, the perception of child care as a low-status profession, and the relative isolation of day care workers from other adults and adult-oriented activity. Most studies on burnout have focused on individuals who are experiencing burnout at the time of data collection, and have focused on burnout of center-based workers as opposed to family child care providers. Maslach and Jackson (1981) argue that burnout is a state of emotional exhaustion, detachment from or depersonalization toward those being served, and a lack of a sense of personal accomplishment toward one’s work. Other researchers describe burnout as part of a cycle whereby stress and low job satisfaction fuel burnout, which leads to increased stress and a further decline in job satisfaction. Seiderman (1978) describes stages of burnout that include the following:

    • Early burnout stages: represented by repeated lateness, increased absenteeism due to illness, general decrease in energy level of workers, increase in staff members complaining about children’s behavior and lack of parental involvement, administration, salaries, and working conditions.
    • Mid-level burnout: represented by increasing levels of boredom, conflicts with other staff members, petty arguments, negative discussions, gossiping, irritability, low staff morale.
    • Final stages of burnout: staff resignations or staff members asked to terminate.

Goelman, H. and Guo, H. (1998). What we know and what we don’t know about burnout among early childhood care providers. Child and Youth Care Forum, 27(3):175-199.

Contributed by: Karen DeBord, Child Development Specialist, NCSU.




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