Families

Neighborhood Qualities and Parenting Among Mothers With Young Children

Neighborhood Qualities and Parenting Among Mothers With Young Children

A study in the Journal of Family Issues explored the associations between neighborhood social processes (e.g., social disorder) and parenting qualities among mothers of children age 2-4. Higher levels of positive neighborhood characteristics were associated with reduced parenting stress and higher positive parenting qualities for all mothers, but neighborhood social processes were especially impactful for single mothers. The author suggests that enhancing neighborhood supports can be helpful for promoting healthier parenting across multiple dimensions, particularly for single mothers. View Resource

Family Resilience And Connection Promote Flourishing Among US Children, Even Amid Adversity

Family Resilience And Connection Promote Flourishing Among US Children, Even Amid Adversity

A new article in Health Affairs explored the concept of “flourishing” among US children age 6-17, measured with indicators on curiosity, persistence, and regulating emotions. The authors found that 40 percent of US children are flourishing, and that across levels of adverse childhood experiences, household income, and special health care needs, children were more likely flourish when levels of family resilience and connection were high. The article also estimates prevalence of flourishing for each state, finding that Maine’s rate (35.7 percent) was significantly lower than nationwide.

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What it would take to achieve quality jobs for all workers?

What it would take to achieve quality jobs for all workers?

The Urban Institute published a detailed report exploring “What would it take to achieve quality jobs for all workers?” Based on interviews, focus groups, and round tables with key stakeholders, the report identifies required actions from an array of business, policy, private players, including legislators, employers, industries, nonprofit agencies, and workers themselves. The report concludes with a list of priorities for better understanding how to improve job quality, including gathering additional data on non-standard work—a key area in which job quality may need to be improved.

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Opioid and Substance Use Disorder and Receipt of Treatment Among Parents Living With Children in the United States, 2015-2017

Opioid and Substance Use Disorder and Receipt of Treatment Among Parents Living With Children in the United States, 2015-2017

A new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine explores the prevalence of opioid use disorder (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUD) among parents of resident children. The authors found that 0.9% of parents were living with OUD; those parents were more often low income, non-Hispanic white, and to have Medicaid than parents who were living with non-OUD SUDs. Parents with OUD were more likely to receive treatment than parents with other kinds of SUDs, but rates of treatment were less than one-third in this group. The authors suggest that primary care practitioners can play an important role in screening, diagnosing, and supporting patients with treatment decision-making. View Resource
Child Care and Housing: Big Expenses With Too Little Help Available

Child Care and Housing: Big Expenses With Too Little Help Available

A new joint report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) focuses on assistance programs targeting two critical family expenses: child care and housing. The report finds that due to insufficient funding, only one in six eligible children receives child care assistance and one in five eligible families with children receives housing assistance. The authors indicate that both assistance programs are effective: for instance, housing vouchers reduced housing instability by four-fifths, and homelessness by three-quarters. The report encourages policymakers to consider elevating funding for these programs in their funding discussions around non-defense discretionary programs. View Resource
Inequitable Access to Child Care Subsidies

Inequitable Access to Child Care Subsidies

A new analysis from CLASP explores how access to child care subsidies varies by state and race-ethnicity. The report finds that only 8 percent of potentially eligible children received subsidies in 2016, with especially high rates of access among black children (15 percent) and especially low rates among Asian children (3 percent). Access by state ranged from 15 percent in New Mexico to 3 percent in the District of Columbia (Maine was among 13 states excluded from the analysis due to data quality issues). The authors concluded that improving data collection and better understanding the causes of racialethnic stratification in access should be next steps. View Resource
Innovative Approaches to Providing Rental Assistance: States and Localities Seek  To Support Health and  Human Services Goals

Innovative Approaches to Providing Rental Assistance: States and Localities Seek To Support Health and Human Services Goals

A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that as existing federal rental assistance only reaches one-in-four eligible households, states and cities have strengthened efforts around their own rental assistance. Through qualitative research, CBPP documents that state and local rental assistance efforts are generally targeted at populations served by existing health and human services programs, with most funds coming from general revenue sources (rather than specific dedicated funds, like a fee or tax). The authors conclude that this kind of assistance isn’t necessarily adequate for meeting the need for affordable housing but helps fill the gap (particularly for special populations in need).

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Child Care Subsidies under the CCDF Program: An Overview of Policy Differences across States and Territories as of October 1, 2017

Child Care Subsidies under the CCDF Program: An Overview of Policy Differences across States and Territories as of October 1, 2017

The Urban Institute and the Office for Planning, Research, and Evaluation published a
report reviewing child care subsidy policy differences, including family eligibility, across
states and U.S. territories. Compared with other states, Maine is unusual in that it does
not formally prioritize homeless families or children under Child Protective Services for
subsidy receipt; most of Maine’s other policies align with the majority of states’ policies.

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Is Maternal Income in Childhood Associated With Adolescent Health and Behavioral Outcomes?

Is Maternal Income in Childhood Associated With Adolescent Health and Behavioral Outcomes?

An article published in the Journal of Family Issues explores associations between
maternal income during childhood and later adolescent health and behavioral outcomes.
The authors find that net of other family income and demographic measures, higher
maternal income in early childhood—that is, between 6 months of age and first grade—
is associated with fewer adolescent problem behaviors at age 15, but not with changes
in health outcomes. Maternal income in later childhood (Grade 3 through age 15) was
not associated with either behavioral or health outcomes. The authors suggest that
“investments in children between birth and first grade might be especially beneficial for
reducing problem behaviors” (14).

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Working Together for Children and Families: Findings from the National Descriptive Study of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships

Working Together for Children and Families: Findings from the National Descriptive Study of Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation at the federal Administration for
Children and Families published findings related to its Early Head Start-Child Care
Partnerships grants, awarded in 2015. These grants aimed to connect the child
development and family support services of Early Head Start with the flexibility and
responsiveness of broader child care providers. The report found that partnerships
were often between nonprofit, community organizations who were able to build on
existing relationships and leverage funds from other sources to meet their community’s
needs. However, challenges around meeting Head Start Program Performance
Standards—particularly around staff-child ratios and health and safety—caused about
one-third of partnerships to end early. The study includes lessons on developing
partnerships and supporting activities that improve the quality of service to infants,
toddlers, and their families.

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Improving ACA Subsidies for Low- and Moderate-Income Consumers Is Key to Increasing Coverage

Improving ACA Subsidies for Low- and Moderate-Income Consumers Is Key to Increasing Coverage

A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) posits that the
key to increasing health insurance coverage is to expand subsidies offered through the
Affordable Care Act. Although cost is the main barrier to coverage for uninsured
populations, the majority of the uninsured have low incomes and are eligible for ACA
marketplace options. CBPP suggests that costs of expanded subsidies could be met by
scaling back the tax cuts from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

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The Poverty-Reducing Effect of Five Key Government Programs in Rural and Urban America

The Poverty-Reducing Effect of Five Key Government Programs in Rural and Urban America

Federal programs are critical for helping those with low incomes make ends meet. But not all such programs are equally effective at reducing poverty, nor do they benefit all of those in poverty uniformly. In this brief, we explore the extent to which rural and urban residents access five social programs—Social Security, disability benefits, federal and state cash assistance, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)— and the effect of these programs individually and collectively in bringing family incomes closer to the poverty threshold. View Resource
Social Service Delivery in Two Rural Counties

Social Service Delivery in Two Rural Counties

When low-income residents struggle to make ends meet, non-profit social service agencies can help fill the gaps. In doing so, these agencies must find sufficient funding, retain qualified staff, and craft efficient service delivery mechanisms that are respectful of clients and communities. Some of the challenges that service providers encounter are exacerbated by rural characteristics, such as vast geographic distances and the lack of economies of scale. Yet in some ways rurality is beneficial, as small communities can facilitate community engagement and providers can engage natural supports in their service delivery work. View Resource
Maine Data Glimpse: Family Poverty in Maine by Family Type, 2012-2016

Maine Data Glimpse: Family Poverty in Maine by Family Type, 2012-2016

This figure displays the poverty rates for Maine families by county and family type.

  • Across all counties, single mother poverty is about six times as high as among married couple families.
  • Single father poverty rates are similar to married parent poverty rates across all counties, speaking to the disparities in mothers’ and fathers’ incomes.
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Using the Science About Self-Regulation to Improve Economic Outcomes for TANF Families

Using the Science About Self-Regulation to Improve Economic Outcomes for TANF Families

Administrators and staff of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs are continually looking for new strategies to help their participants achieve economic independence. Many TANF employment programs focus on rapid job placement with some access to short-term education, training, and work-like activities, such as work experience, subsidized employment, and on-the-job training. These programs typically offer child care assistance and some work supports as well. View Resource
Opportunity Industries: Exploring the industries that concentrate good and promising jobs in metropolitan America

Opportunity Industries: Exploring the industries that concentrate good and promising jobs in metropolitan America

In recent decades, technological change and the global integration it enables have been rapidly reshaping the U.S. economy. These forces have improved the potential of some individuals to thrive, but diminished prospects for others striving to reach or maintain their place in the American middle class. Amid these changes, how and where will individuals find durable sources of good jobs? View Resource
Working-Family Tax Credits Lifted 8.9 Million People out of Poverty in 2017

Working-Family Tax Credits Lifted 8.9 Million People out of Poverty in 2017

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) together boosted the incomes of 29.1 million Americans in 2017, lifting 8.9 million above the poverty line and making 20.2 million others less poor, our analysis of new Census data shows. These totals include 12.5 million children, 4.8 million of whom were lifted out of poverty and another 7.7 million made less poor. The figures use the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which — unlike the official poverty measure — accounts for the impact of taxes and non-cash benefits as well as cash income. View Resource
Overdue for Investment: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2018

Overdue for Investment: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2018

Child care is crucial for the well-being of parents, children, and our nation. It makes it possible for parents to work and support their families. It gives children a safe, nurturing environment to learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life. And, by strengthening the current and future workforce, it bolsters our nation’s economy. Yet many families, particularly low-income families, struggle with the high cost of child care. These costs can strain families’ budgets, force parents to use lower-cost care even if they would prefer other options for their children, or prevent parents from working because they cannot afford care. Child care assistance can enable families to overcome these challenges by helping families pay for child care. View Resource
Do EITC Expansions Pay for Themselves? Effects on Tax Revenue and Public Assistance Spending

Do EITC Expansions Pay for Themselves? Effects on Tax Revenue and Public Assistance Spending

This paper studies how behavioral responses to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) aect the program's budgetary cost. The EITC encourages labor supply and increases income, thereby reducing public assistance payments to households and increasing taxes paid by households. These sources of revenue reduce the EITC's net cost. We use administrative Internal Revenue Service tax data linked to Current Population Survey data on enrollment in public assistance programs to estimate the EITC's net cost. The evidence from three decades of EITC policy expansions implies that the EITC decreases public assistance received by mothers and increases payroll and sales taxes paid. Our estimates suggest that the EITC has a self-nancing rate of 87 percent, so that the EITC's true cost is only 13 percent of the sticker price. Although the EITC is one of the largest and most important public assistance programs in the U.S., we show that the EITC is actually one of the least expensive anti-poverty programs in the U.S., costing taxpayers about half as much as the school lunch and breakfast
programs. View Resource
Who Was Poor in the United States in 2017?

Who Was Poor in the United States in 2017?

For the past few years, The Hamilton Project has released an annual report characterizing poverty in America. Describing who is poor is critical for making anti-poverty policy and directly relevant to determining eligibility for means-tested programs.

In 2017, 12.3 percent of the population—39.7 million people—lived in poverty, as defined by the official poverty measure [1]. The share of the population living in poverty was statistically significantly lower in 2017 than in 2016 by 0.4 percentage points. View Resource
Creating an Integrated Efficient Early Care and Education System to Support Children and Families:  A State-by-State Analysis

Creating an Integrated Efficient Early Care and Education System to Support Children and Families: A State-by-State Analysis

Recognizing the critical importance of children’s earliest years in terms of brain development and later life outcomes, the federal government invests billions of dollars each year in programs designed to provide early care and education (ECE) to children under the age of five. Most federal funds flow through programs managed by federal agencies—principally the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—to the states, which have wide discretion regarding how the funds are administered and coordinated to provide ECE services. Additionally, many states fund Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) and preschool programs using their own state resources. View Resource
Creating an Integrated Efficient Early Care and Education System to Support Children and Families:  A State-by-State Analysis

Creating an Integrated Efficient Early Care and Education System to Support Children and Families: A State-by-State Analysis

Recognizing the critical importance of children’s earliest years in terms of brain development and later life outcomes, the federal government invests billions of dollars each year in programs designed to provide early care and education (ECE) to children under the age of five. Most federal funds flow through programs managed by federal agencies—principally the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—to the states, which have wide discretion regarding how the funds are administered and coordinated to provide ECE services. Additionally, many states fund Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) and preschool programs using their own state resources. View Resource
A Child's Day: Parental Interaction, School Engagement, and Extracurricular Activities: 2014

A Child's Day: Parental Interaction, School Engagement, and Extracurricular Activities: 2014

Children’s lives are shaped by their experiences in school and in extracurricular activities—both of which are sources of learning, identity formation, and socialization. This report uses a number of indicators to portray aspects of children’s well-being, primarily as it relates to involvement in school and extracurricular activities. The report also explores other aspects of children’s lives, such as parental engagement in reading, outings, and shared dinners. The findings come from Wave 1 of the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). View Resource
Material Hardship among Nonelderly Adults and Their Families in 2017

Material Hardship among Nonelderly Adults and Their Families in 2017

Federal and state policymakers are weighing changes to federal programs that help low-income people meet their basic needs for food, medical care, and shelter. As policymakers consider these changes to the public safety net, they run the risk of increasing material hardship, which could have detrimental short- and long-term impacts on children and adults. View Resource
Household Food Security in the United States in 2017

Household Food Security in the United States in 2017

An estimated 11.8 percent of American households were food insecure at least some time during the year in 2017, meaning they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. That is down from 12.3 percent in 2016. The prevalence of very low food security also declined, to 4.5 percent from 4.9 percent in 2016. View Resource
Behavioral Intervention Materials Compendium

Behavioral Intervention Materials Compendium

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) releases a report on their Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency (BIAS) project, which uses behavioral insights to design interventions for social programs that serve vulnerable families. The report covers the application of these interventions in child care, child support, and work support programs across several states. Some relevant interventions include an assessment metric and individualized assistance for parents selecting a child care provider, reducing the complexity of the process for redetermination in child care funding assistance eligibility, and other processes related to families with children View Resource
Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective

Race and Economic Opportunity in the United States: An Intergenerational Perspective

Racial disparities are among the most visible and persistent features of American society. For example, in 2016, the median household income of black Americans was $39,500, compared with $65,000 for non-Hispanic white Americans (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census 2017). The sources of these disparities have been heavily studied and debated, with proposed explanations ranging from residential segregation (e.g., Wilson 1987; Massey and Denton 1993) and discrimination (e.g., Pager 2003; Eberhardt et al. 2004; Bertrand and Mullainathan 2004) to differences in family structure (e.g., McAdoo 2002; Autor et al. 2016) and even genetics (e.g., Rushton and Jensen 2005) View Resource
Head Start in Rural America

Head Start in Rural America

Nome, Alaska, situated on Alaska’s west coast near the Arctic Circle, boasts postcard-worthy views of the state’s wilderness and is the finish line for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.2 It is also home to nearly 4,000 residents and serves as the hub for nearby Kawerak Head Start, a grantee that operates 11 centers across the Seward Peninsula and Saint Lawrence Island.3 Their Head Start programs are the only early education options in the region, serving about 240 Alaska Native children from remote villages and towns. View Resource
2017 Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book

2017 Maine KIDS COUNT Data Book

The 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book urges policymakers not to back away from targeted investments that help U.S. children become healthier, more likely to complete high school and better positioned to contribute to the nation’s economy as adults. The Data Book also shows the child poverty rate in 2015 continued to drop, landing at 21%. In addition, children experienced gains in reading proficiency and a significant increase in the number of kids with health insurance. However, the data indicate that unacceptable levels of children living in poverty and in high-poverty neighborhoods persist. View Resource
Measures of Growth 2017

Measures of Growth 2017

The Maine Economic Growth Council and Maine Development Foundation are pleased to present Measures of Growth 2017, the 23rd annual report on the key indicators that measures Maine’s progress toward long-term economic growth and a high quality of life for all Maine people. View Resource
Children and Families at the Center

Children and Families at the Center

In this shifting landscape, it is urgent that we articulate and advance a concrete agenda for children and families that leaders can embrace at the community, state, and national levels. Both political parties agree: Investing in children and families yields major returns, including safer communities, a more educated workforce, and a stable economy. We have an opportunity to build on this common ground and shared commitment while holding our systems accountable for ensuring positive outcomes for children, families, and communities. View Resource
Waypoints: Community Indicators for Maine's Coasts and Islands

Waypoints: Community Indicators for Maine's Coasts and Islands

This first edition of Waypoints is aimed at communicating the character of our communities, and the challenges and opportunities before us, to those whose actions and opinions impact us, including government staff and elected officials at the state and federal levels. We hope it will also be informative and useful for local leaders as they weigh priorities and tackle local challenges. View Resource
Social Service Programs that Foster Multiple Positive Outcomes

Social Service Programs that Foster Multiple Positive Outcomes

Social service programs are typically funded by agencies with a specific mission. Accordingly, evaluations also tend to have a narrow focus, be it drug use, crime, or teen pregnancy. However, research and practitioners’ experience indicate that varied problem behaviors often share root causes. This suggests that effective interventions may actually influence multiple outcomes, whether or not they are designed to do so. View Resource
CA$H Maine

CA$H Maine

CA$H Maine is a statewide collaboration of ten coalitions, comprised of 50 non- and for-profit partners, working together to help empower Maine individuals and families to achieve long-term financial stability. View Resource
Making Tomorrow Better Together

Making Tomorrow Better Together

This report from the Two-Generation Outcomes Working Group is designed to set a foundation for how practitioners and policymakers consider the intended outcomes of two-generation programs and the pathways to achieve those outcomes.
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Child Poverty and Adult Success

Child Poverty and Adult Success

One in every five children currently lives in poverty, but nearly twice as many experience poverty sometime during childhood. Using 40 years of data, this analysis follows children from birth to age 17, then through their 20s, to examine how childhood poverty and family and neighborhood characteristics relate to achievement in young adulthood, such as completing high school by age 20, enrolling in postsecondary education by age 25, completing a four-year college degree by age 25, and being consistently employed from ages 25 to 30. Parents’ education achievement, residential stability, and neighborhood quality all relate to adult success. View Resource
The Alternative Staffing Work Experience: Populations, Barriers and Employment Outcomes

The Alternative Staffing Work Experience: Populations, Barriers and Employment Outcomes

This paper presents results of a three-year study of workers and former workers at four Alternative Staffing Organizations (ASOs). ASOs are fee-for-service job brokering businesses created by community-based organizations and national nonprofits whose objective is to gain access to temporary and “temp to permanent” opportunities for workers facing barriers to employment. This paper demonstrates how the complex relationships between individual worker characteristics and experience with an ASO affect future job prospects. View Resource
Two Generations, One Future:  moving parents and children beyond poverty together

Two Generations, One Future: moving parents and children beyond poverty together

Ascend at the Aspen Institute was launched with catalytic support from a core circle of investors with the mission to serve as a hub for breakthrough ideas and proven strategies that move parents, especially women, and their children beyond poverty toward educational success and economic security. This paper outlines the emerging case for and shares a framework for two-generation approaches. View Resource