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.

 

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.

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.

Economic Research Service finds rural America losing population

November 18, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Racial Equity, Rural

The Economic Research Service has released its Rural America at a Glance report for 2021, finding that the rural population shrank by 0.6 percent between 2010 and 2020. The authors find that the decline has been driven by losses in rural counties designated as persistently poor, where the population has dropped by 5.7 percent. In the meantime, urban populations grew by 8.8 percent, and even persistently poor urban places, by 5.8 percent. Analysis of pandemic-era measures show that rural places have experienced more infections per 100,000 residents than urban places, and rural vaccination rates trail urban rates by more than 10 percentage points. While job loss has recovered in both types of places, rural residents in persistently poor places are disadvantaged by their lower broadband connectivity rates. Finally, the paper shows that persistently poor rural counties are twice as racially diverse as their nonpoor rural counterparts. Between population loss, low broadband connectivity, and disproportionately pandemic impacts, the report’s findings suggest that rural Black, Latinx, and American Indian residents face a nexus of economic challenges.

Kindergarten enrollment trends back up, but administrators remain cautious

November 10, 2021 – Young ChildrenCOVID-19, Education

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 public support for school systems within the community. As educators and administrators grapple with the long-term trends, getting children up to speed on basic skills interrupted by the pandemic remains the immediate priority.

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

November 9, 2021 – Young ChildrenChildcare, COVID-19

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 programs, challenges enrolling, and difficulty meeting program requirements as key challenges facing HBCC providers. Given new pandemic-era funding for the childcare sector, authors note that states could provide dedicated outreach and support staff for helping HBCC providers navigate the federal programming landscape. They also cite formal HBCC network opportunities as a promising model, and suggest that fully utilizing federal resources is key to stabilizing the HBCC sector.

College enrollment down in Maine, but especially in community colleges

November 7, 2021 – Older Youth, FamiliesCOVID-19, Education, Maine, Workforce

The Portland Press Herald reports substantial declines in Maine’s Community College System enrollment levels since pre-pandemic, with declines happening in both fall 2020 and 2021. Enrollment has also declined, albeit by less than half as much, in the University of Maine System. The article suggests that the greater declines among the community college system are attributable to the demographics of its student body, which tends to enroll more lower-income and non-traditional students who may have been harder hit by the workforce shifts and parenting strains than students in the University setting. In addition, the tight labor market is attracting current and potential students to choose work over enrollment. Within the college systems, administrators also note greater interest in in-person versus virtual, and short-term training or credentialing programs, preferences which may be indicative of trends that predated the pandemic.

Amid national improvement, October jobs report shows no recovery for women and workers of color

November 5, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Racial Equity, Workforce

Although the recent Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report showed a small decline in employment nationwide (4.8 to 4.6 percent), these gains have notbeen uniformly realized. Adult men saw a decline in unemployment of 0.4 percentage points (to 4.3 percent), while adult women experienced a 0.2 percentage point increase (to 4.4 percent). Black unemployment rates remain more than three percentage points higher than the national rate, at 7.9 percent in October, with Hispanic rates also above national levels, at 5.9 percent.

Summary of early childhood educator convening focuses on racial, economic, and social justice

October 21, 2021 – Young Children, FamiliesChildcare, COVID-19, Racial Equity, Workforce

The Urban Institute recently published coverage of its January 2021 convening of early childhood education researchers, which focused on strengthening financial equity and workforce wellbeing among educators with a racial, economic, and social justice lens. The paper summarizes discussion and presentations from the event, concluding that the pandemic worsened conditions of pay and wellbeing for early educators in ways that reflect much longer-running conditions of structural racism. Focusing investment on home-based providers or infant/toddler educators—sectors in which women of color are disproportionately represented—could provide a pathway to addressing this gap.