COVID-19: Racial and Geographic Disparities in Maine

Prepared for the John T. Gorman Foundation by the Carsey School of Public Policy in the fall of 2021, this analysis breaks down the economic, health, and social impacts of COVID-19 for different populations and regions across Maine, and highlights possible contributing factors between disparities.

Older workers leave labor force in pandemic, but maybe not for good

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has published a new brief tracking changes in older adults’ labor force participation in the context of COVID-19. The authors report that the pandemic triggered labor force exits among older workers, with 15 percent of the pre-pandemic group exiting the workforce by the one-year mark. However, the… Read more »

New Hampshire seeks contract with Vermont hospital to serve children’s mental health needs

Facing enduring elevation in the number of children seeking inpatient mental health services, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services is proposing to contract with a Vermont hospital to provide 10 additional inpatient beds through the next six months. The department estimates 100 children could be served by such a contract—children who are… Read more »

Expiration of enhanced Child Tax Credit looms, including for 229,000 Maine kids

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports on the status of the Child Tax Credit in December. The credit enhancements, including making the credit fully refundable, increasing the credit’s maximum value, and allowing families to claim 17-year-olds, have infused more than 39 million households with monthly income since July 2021. As the credit expansions… Read more »

States, including Maine, are leveraging COVID relief funds to advance equity in childcare

The Center for Law and Social Policy has published a factsheet highlighting the ways that some states are investing American Rescue Plan Act funds to advance equity and bake in policy change that will support ongoing federal investment. The report specifically highlights Maine’s plan to use federal relief funds to expand mental health and socioemotional… Read more »

Pandemic brings lower rates of moving than ever before

New analysis of Current Population Survey data shows that despite the pandemic-era narrative of people fleeing COVID-19 and becoming untethered from their physical worksites, just 8.4 percent of Americans moved houses in the past year, lower than in any of the prior 47 years for which data are available. This decline is part of longer-running… Read more »

Creative blends of funding bring supportive and affordable housing to rural markets

As the pandemic continues to put pressure on the housing market and limit available shelter space, some rural communities are seeing homelessness become more visible. Community leaders note the “hidden” nature of rural homelessness, often manifesting in households “doubling up,” and say the perennial rural challenges of sparse funding and low population density complicate relief… Read more »

Kindergarten enrollment trends back up, but administrators remain cautious

A new report from education blog Chalkbeat describes the unevenness that the pandemic has wrought for kindergarten enrollment. While enrollment fell nationwide by 9 percent in 2020, many districts saw enrollment rise in 2021, although often not to pre-pandemic levels. While trends of decreased enrollment reduce pressure on state budgets, fewer students can mean decreased… Read more »

Barriers and opportunities to connecting home-based childcare providers with federal programs

A new paper from the Urban Institute focuses on supporting home-based childcare (HBCC) providers’ participation in federal programs, from childcare scholarships to financial supports from the Small Business Administration. The report cites evidence that during the pandemic, parents have preferred the smaller and more flexible settings HBCC providers offer. The authors cite unfamiliarity with the… Read more »