Resource Library

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources.

We invite you to check back often, as this list is regularly updated.

 

Maine Data Glimpse: Incarceration Rates and Annual Admissions to County Jails, 2015

September 4, 2019 – General

Nationwide, the number of people in jails rose by 400% between 1970 and 2014. In 2015 in Maine, more than 190 per 100,000 residents were incarcerated in jails on a given day, and more than 4,500 per 100,000 residents were admitted to jail during the year.There is considerable inter-county variability in incarceration rates, even though annual admissions are relatively uniform across counties.

o Because pretrial incarceration is a significant share of jail populations, this is not necessarily just a function of differences in the adjudication process.

o These county differences may be due to unequal distributions of populations more likely to commit more serious crimes, differential ability to make bail across places, or differences in county justice systems, among other possibilities.

Androscoggin and Washington Counties admit at high rates, but incarcerate at about the statewide average rate. Somerset admits and incarcerates above average rates, while Lincoln admits at about average rates but incarcerates at far above average.

Aging and Declining Populations in Northern New England: Is There a Role for Immigration?

September 4, 2019 – General

A new brief from the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston explores the issues of Northern New England’s aging and shrinking population with the goal of identifying a role for immigration in stabilizing these trends. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have the three highest median ages in the nation. Further, Maine is projected to have more residents aged 65 or older than residents under 18 by 2020—at least 15 years earlier than expected nationwide. The author finds that some of the towns with the slowest growth among native-born populations have seen their population losses offset by immigrant population increases (for example, Calais, Maine); nearly 60% of growth in these slow-growing places was driven by immigration. The brief concludes by addressing possible immigrant incentive approaches, as well as recognizing the need for federal resources to reduce strain on resettlement destinations (e.g., Portland, Maine).

Policy Brief: SUPPORTIVE SERVICES AND CAREGIVING FOR OLDER RURAL ADULTS

September 4, 2019 – Seniors

A new policy brief by the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services offers recommendations to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on supportive services and caregiving for older rural adults. The key recommendations include (1) “creating a comprehensive resource on the aging and long-term services and supports available to older adults in rural areas”; (2) expanding telehealth offerings, related resources, and Medicare coverage of these offerings in rural areas; (3) promoting age-supportive efforts in rural health grant programs, and (4) expanding specialized Medicare Advantage plans into rural areas. The report recognizes challenges that are especially significant in rural places, including social isolation, transportation, and resources for unpaid caregivers.

A Spotlight on Professional Development in Head Start

September 4, 2019 – Young Children

Using data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES), Mathematica explores professional development among Head Start staff. The brief finds that training and conferences are the most common kind of professional development among program and center directors, although program directors are the most likely to report participating. The Office of Head Start’s Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center is identified as an especially useful technical resource, and there are few differences in the kinds of supports available across programs. However, smaller programs do struggle to provide some specific resources to staff, and the report concludes by recommending targeting additional resources to smaller centers, and center directors (rather than just program directors).

Policy Brief: More Adequate SNAP Benefits Would Help Millions of Participants Better Afford Food

September 4, 2019 – Families

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explores the adequacy of SNAP benefits by addressing some of the key assumptions underpinning SNAP allocations. The brief finds that the assumptions of the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP)—the estimated “bare-bones” diet upon which benefit levels are based—are misaligned with recipients’ ability to put time into meal planning, shopping, and cooking in a way that would maximize their SNAP dollars. The authors note that food-insecure SNAP recipients say that increasing SNAP benefits by $10 to $20 per person per week would result in a more realistic SNAP allocation, and smooth uneven food expenditure patterns across the month.

Creating Moves to Opportunity: Experimental Evidence on Barriers to Neighborhood Choice

September 4, 2019 – Families

A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research tests whether low income families live in neighborhoods that offer few opportunities for income mobility because they prefer these places (e.g., to be near family), or because they experience barriers to relocating. By providing services that reduce barriers—financial assistance, but also rental search assistance and landlord brokering—the authors find that the share of families who move to higher opportunity areas increases from 14% in the control group to 54% in the treatment group. Families who make these moves do not express having made sacrifices to do so, and express high satisfaction with their new neighborhoods. The authors conclude that these structural barriers are a driver of residential income segregation, and suggest that more customized housing supports are an especially important component of affordable housing programs.

Maine Data Glimpse: Geography and Economic Mobility

August 5, 2019 – General

This graphic uses data from the unique Opportunity Atlas (U.S. Census Bureau, Harvard University & Brown University) to illustrate social mobility for children raised in each of Maine’s counties. The map shows average household income in adulthood for people who were born in the 1980s to low income parents. All these children had parents in the 25th income percentile—about $27,000 per year.All Maine counties provide some mobility for children: the average household income is $29,600 in Maine’s lowest income county (Washington), higher than the $27,000 that their parents earned.However, there is great disparity between counties. For children who grew up in Piscataquis County, for example, household income reached over $36,000 per year, compared with just $31,705 in neighboring Penobscot county.The Opportunity Atlas researchers indicate that while propellants of mobility are still understudied, correlates of higher mobility areas include better schools and greater shares of two-parent families (see https://www.opportunityatlas.org/).

Born to Win, Schooled to Lose

August 5, 2019 – Older Youth, Young Children

New research from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce finds evidence that children are sorted into adulthood socio-economic status groups according to their affluence in childhood, not their merit (i.e., test scores). The report finds, among other insights, that “the highest-SES students with bottom-half math scores are more likely to complete college degrees than the lowest-SES students with top-half math scores.” The authors recommend continuing academic interventions beyond just early childhood education and providing nonacademic supports for high schoolers to improve their transition to adulthood.

Assessment and Mapping of Community Connections in Home Visiting

August 5, 2019 – Families

Child Trends has published a report on their work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services creating a tool for assessing and mapping community connections among those served by home visiting programs. Proposed for use by administrators, early education professionals, researchers, and other stakeholders, this tool would allow users to map and generate reports on the resources available to families served by home visitors, including by service type (e.g., mental health providers), neighborhood context (e.g., neighborhood disadvantage), and service accessibility (distance from families), among others. Driven by input from home visiting stakeholders, the report on the development of this tool sheds light on the challenges faced by home visiting stakeholders in accessing and using data to support families.

K-12 EDUCATION: Certain Groups of Students Attend Alternative Schools in Greater Proportions Than They Do Other Schools

August 5, 2019 – Older Youth

A new report from the Government Accountability Office documents overrepresentation of Black boys and boys with disabilities in alternative schools— that is, schools with a disciplinary or at-risk focus—compared to their share in the broader educational landscape. These children are especially overrepresented at schools with an explicit disciplinary focus. As children in alternative schools are among the most vulnerable, and because these schools are less likely to have critical support staff (social workers, nurses, and counselors), the report elevates the role of student-experienced trauma in shaping children’s educational outcomes. Finally, state-level data in the report suggest that just 0.11% of Maine’s school population is enrolled in alternative schools, compared with 0.95% nationwide.

The New Economy and Child Care: Nonstandard-Hour Work, Child Care, and Child Health and Well-Being

August 5, 2019 – Young Children, Families

Mathematica and the American Public Health Services Association released a report on the intersections between non-standard-hour work, childcare, and child wellbeing. Using existing data from the Fragile Families study, plus primary data from 34 states’ childcare administrators, the study finds associations between mothers working at least some nonstandard work hours and childcare instability for their children. Data from the states indicate that while supporting parents who work nonstandard hours is a recognized challenge, most states could not quantify demand for nonstandard care, and admitted that it was not the highest priority amid competing demands in the childcare landscape. The authors suggest increased overall funding for childcare subsidies, incentivizing the provision of nonstandard hours, and better supporting informal providers with funding and training.

ProPelled: The Effects of Grants on Graduation, Earnings, and Welfare

August 5, 2019 – Older Youth

A new article in the American Economic Journal-Applied Economics explores the effects of Pell Grants on enrollment, college completion, and later earnings for low-income students. Using administrative data from Texas public colleges, the authors find that eligibility for more Pell Grant assistance increases new students’ degree completion and later earnings. Importantly, enrollment effects were strongest for first-time students and students enrolling in community college. Graduation and earnings effects were also strongest for first-time students, still in effect seven years after grant receipt. The authors conclude that the benefits of additional aid to low-income students provides a significant return on investment through financial gains to the public over time.