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Journal Issue: Critical Health Issues for Children and Youth Volume 4 Number 3 Winter 1994

Statement of Purpose
Richard E. Behrman

Statement of Purpose

The primary purpose of The Future of Children is to disseminate timely information on major issues related to children's well-being, with special emphasis on providing objective analysis and evaluation, translating existing knowledge into effective programs and policies, and promoting constructive institutional change. In attempting to achieve these objectives, we are targeting a multidisciplinary audience of national leaders, including policymakers, practitioners, legislators, executives, and professionals in the public and private sectors. This publication is intended to complement, not duplicate, the kind of technical analysis found in academic journals and the general coverage of children's issues by the popular press and special interest groups.

The varied topics selected for this issue of the journal are individually very important to the future of children. In addition, several themes recur in these articles despite the diversity of subject matter. In one way or another, the family is central to each of the health problems faced by children and youth whether the issue is ambulatory illness, care of an infant of a single mother, or the violent behavior of a teenager from a two-parent household. Further, the need for an effective public health infrastructure cuts across many of the issues from the untoward consequences of involuntary smoke exposure to protecting adolescents from the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Finally, an appreciation of ethnic differences in the United States is increasingly important to helping children and youth overcome the financial and nonfinancial barriers to obtaining health care, whether the issue is private health insurance coverage or public education relating to violence, HIV/AIDS, or smoking.

The articles presented here summarize knowledge and experience in selected areas that we believe are relevant to improving public policies in the United States which have an impact on the well-being of children and youth. We hope the information and analyses these articles contain will further understanding of the important issues and thus contribute to reasonable changes in policies which will benefit children and youth.

We invite your comments and suggestions regarding this issue of The Future of Children. Our intention is to encourage informed debate about children's issues. Toward this end we invite correspondence to the Editor. We would also appreciate your comments about the approach we have taken in presenting the featured topics and welcome your suggestions for future topics.