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What it means to be an 'at-risk' child in 2017 isn't always clearly defined. What constitutes a vulnerable family setting? How can community members and legislators support Michigan’s at-risk citizens during key years to promote their success in adulthood? The Institute for Public Policy and Social Research (IPPSR) will use its 2017 Fall Public Forum Series to unpack these questions. Registration for the free forums can be found here.

This season, the institute will delve into topics surrounding at-risk citizens, exploring how community support and awareness play significant roles in policy development. During this series, IPPSR's guest panelists will cover closely related issues including early education for at-risk children and the dynamics of social mobility in Michigan.

The first forum on Sept. 13, 2017, is a panel presentation and discussion on the outsize impact of education during a child’s most formative years, especially for at-risk children. Through previous forums held on stressed school budgets and emergency managers, forum participants have learned about the reality of several Michigan school districts suffering academically and financially. Education has and will continue to be a key policy issue in Michigan as the state’s future is greatly influenced by current student enrollment and their academic success. This upcoming forum seeks to provide attendees with an understanding of the research surrounding the influence of early education on future employment and economic success and what should be taken into account when developing new early education policy.

The Institute for Public Policy and Social Research will continue to address the success level of at-risk children and families by examining socio-economic mobility in Michigan. On Oct. 10, 2017, the second IPPSR fall forum will expand on the factors directly affecting an at-risk individual’s movement in social class and economic status. This forum will promote discussion on improving socio-economic security for vulnerable families as well as provide insight on possible strategies to improve initial academic success and overall social mobility.

The 2017 Fall Public Forum Series, cosponsored by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is part of an on-going discussion of viable approaches and potential policy developments that serve to improve the lives of Michigan citizens.