Resource Library

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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 collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.

 

COVID-19: Racial and Geographic Disparities in Maine

February 14, 2022 – General – COVID-19, JTGF Funded, Racial Equity, Rural

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

December 21, 2021 – SeniorsCOVID-19, Workforce

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 brief also shows that there has been no increase in people specifically reporting being “retired” nor in Social Security benefit applications, suggesting that at least some of these workers may be planning an eventual workforce return.

Inter-state disparities in mortality linked to decades-old public health investments

December 13, 2021 – FamiliesMental Health, Place-based

New England researchers published a new paper in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, examining the growing inter-state disparity in mid-life mortality. The authors consider that the substantial variation might be linked with educational or income differences, “deaths of despair” (e.g., drug overdoses, suicide), or combinations of place-based policies and conditions. The authors find that the change in mortality over time doesn’t vary much by states’ educational attainment, but that states with the highest income levels, rather than the most income growth, have experienced the greatest mortality declines over time. This is notable since mortality was similar in high- and low-income places just a few decades ago. The authors investigate the possibility that in the 1990s, highincome states invested in health-promoting policy and infrastructure, like higher cigarette taxes and Medicaid expansion. They find also that related, but distinct shifts in health behaviors occurred at the same time in many of the same places, and these elements converge to produce a faster reduction in mortality in high income states. Although place and health have been linked before, the authors argue their work documents the “cumulative effect of regional policies over the life-cycle” in ways that existing research linking health and neighborhoods has not.

Promise Neighborhoods provide a unique opportunity to address racial inequity

December 13, 2021 – FamiliesRacial Equity

The Urban Institute’s latest research argues that Promise Neighborhoods – the U.S. Department of Education effort launched in 2010 and inspired by the Harlem Children’s Zone—are a valuable vehicle for racial equity. Promise Neighborhoods aim at aligning systems from “cradle-to-career,” breaking down silos, and strengthening local resources and systems to provide high-quality education to youths in strong families and well-resourced communities. More than 30 grantees participated in the program, from urban communities a few miles wide to rural places spanning multiple counties. The brief argues that the initiative’s focus on deep, ongoing, and community-wide investment, delivered locally and flexibly, has serious promise for advancing racial equity. However, the author also notes that the programmatic focus of Promise Neighborhoods would benefit from a policy and systems-level lens, and suggests that strong and disaggregated data, wide partnership nets, and an explicit focus on the root causes of racial disparity can further enhance the promise.

Georgetown proposes holistic approach to youth policy in the transition to adulthood

December 7, 2021 – Older YouthEducation, Racial Equity, Workforce

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce has published a new report describing how pandemic-era demand for workers intersects with the longer-term trend of a “deteriorating” labor market for young adults. The authors identify the “dot-com” bubble recession of 2001, the Great Recession, and the COVID-19 recession as discrete events in shaping youth employment prospects. Further, they note that longer-term economic shifts mean employers favor workers with greater technical knowledge and more experience over young workers. The paper also notes the racial-ethnic disparities in the share of young adults who are disconnected from work and school, at 12 percent for white youths age 16-21 and 17 percent for Black youths. To address the longrunning challenge, the authors propose an “all-in-one” system that builds a pipeline from pre-kindergarten to employment without silos. The authors suggest multiple strategies for creating the pipeline, including recognizing the complementary nature of classroom learning, occupational exploration, and work-based learning from kindergarten to college; or offering field trips and career days to children, apprenticeships and cooperative extension opportunities to high schoolers, and paid internships and enhanced work-study opportunities to college students, all in service of building a modern network for young adult success.

New report describes business leaders’ perspectives on, and roles in, childcare

December 7, 2021 – Young Children, FamiliesChildcare, Workforce

A report from the Bipartisan Policy Center describes findings from a series of roundtable conversations on childcare with business leaders in 2019 and 2020. The report finds that many business leaders are aware of how childcare affects their employees, even if they’re unclear on their role in addressing the challenge. The authors find business size is correlated with capacity to support employee childcare needs, and while very small businesses are interested in supporting their workers, they don’t always have resources to do so. Most business leaders didn’t see onsite childcare provision as feasible, although offering tax incentives to businesses that provide family-friendly leave policies was favored by businesses large and small. The brief recommends business leaders collect information on their employees’ needs, quantify the business effects of inadequate childcare, consider family friendliness of company policy, and partner with local organizations to consider shared solutions.

Wide variety in comprehensiveness of states’ childcare consumer education websites

December 7, 2021 – Young ChildrenChildcare

A new report from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation assesses and compares states’ early childhood education consumer education websites, with special focus on the comprehensiveness and ease of access. The evaluation finds that most states’ websites include information about the availability of childcare subsidies, but far fewer were comprehensive in addressing other elements that shape family access. Specifically, only six states aggregated all their consumer education information into a single website, and only eight included information on all elements identified as important for easing families’ access to care.

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

December 6, 2021 – Young Children, Older YouthCOVID-19, Mental Health

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 otherwise waiting weeks in the emergency room for an inpatient bed in New Hampshire to become available. The director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness noted that wait-list length has approximately quadrupled since before the pandemic and estimated that a 15-child waitlist is equivalent to a two-week wait for services. Per state data, a record 51 children were awaiting services in February 2021, although this has dropped to 12 as of December 2021. If approved, the Vermont contract would be renewable for up to four years, allowing the state to complete its planned purchase and expansion of an existing hospital to better align with child and family needs in the state.

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

December 3, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Food Security, Maine, Racial Equity

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 were only slated through 2021, those enhancements will be rolled back if the Build Back Better legislation calling for their extension does not pass. CBPP notes that nearly three-fifths of households use their credit in part to offset food costs, and that the loss of this credit would trigger a widening of racial-ethnic gaps in child poverty. About 90 percent of Maine children have been eligible for the expanded credit in 2021, translating to 229,000 Mainers under 18 who would lose out in its absence.

Pandemic brings lower rates of moving than ever before

November 30, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Housing

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 trend beginning in the 1960s, in part due to the mobility-limiting factors of greater career connectedness among women and an aging population. The report cites high housing costs (including rentals), underemployment, and demographic stagnation as all contributing to the present mobility decline and warns of the potential for these larger forces to reduce the competitiveness of American housing and labor markets moving ahead.

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

November 30, 2021 – Young Children, FamiliesChildcare, COVID-19, Education, Mental Health

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 support programming to children and providers, as well as the state’s shift to enrollment-based reimbursement for subsidies (rather than the traditional attendance-based). Other states’ efforts to increase pay, reduce barriers to access through higher eligibility cutoffs or waived copays, stabilize provider revenue through higher subsidy reimbursement, or to support home-based childcare providers are also lauded.

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

November 29, 2021 – Families, SeniorsCOVID-19, Housing, Rural

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 efforts. An overview from Affordable Housing Finance Magazine describes developer efforts in California, Maryland, and Florida to close those housing gaps by bringing affordable and supportive housing to rural spaces.