Resource Library

COVID-19 Update: The John T. Gorman Foundation is curating a list of resources, emerging best practices, and innovative ideas from across the country to help local organizations serve vulnerable Mainers during the coronavirus outbreak. To access those resources, visit or enter Covid-19 in the keyword search. Those results can be further focused by using the “Filter by” menu above to filter by population type (Young Children, Older Youth, Families, and Seniors) or by clicking the following links: childcare, education, food security, housing, rural areas, and workforce.

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.


Rural COVID-19 cases and deaths are declining, although rural vaccination rates lag urban rates

April 27, 2021 – Families

For the week of April 18-24, rural new COVID-19 infection rates declined by almost 15 percent in rural (nonmetropolitan) counties. Similarly, the number of weekly rural deaths also fell by over 10 percent, reaching the lowest point since mid-July 2020. The weekly rate of new infections in rural areas was 97 per 100,000 residents, lower than the urban new infection rate of 127 per 100,000 residents. States with clusters of “red-zone” counties with high numbers of new infections include Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, southern New York, and New Hampshire. #covid-19 #rural

92 percent of children living in rural Maine will benefit from Child Tax Credit expansion in American Rescue Plan

April 22, 2021 – Older Youth, Families

Included in the American Rescue Plan Act is a temporary expansion of both the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC). For the tax year 2021, these expansions raise the minimum EITC for childless workers from about $540 to about $1,500 and expanded the eligible age range to include both young adults ages 19-24 and adults 65 and over. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that EITC expansion will benefit 21 percent of workers without children living in rural Maine (a total of 38,000 workers). Some key changes to the CTC include expanding it to reach families with low or no earnings, to count 17-year-olds as dependents, and to increase maximum credits to $3,600 for children under six (and $3,000 for those over 6). In rural Maine, an estimated 92 percent of children under 18 years old will benefit from CTC expansion. #covid-19 #rural #Maine

Rural health leaders call for partnership and collaboration to address rural health gaps

April 21, 2021 – Families

A new article in The Journal of Rural Health synthesizes the proceedings from a 2018 national workshop and convening of rural health leaders to draw out lessons on rural research and health practice that can be applied to the COVID- 19 context. Using qualitative methodologies, the authors drew on notes, recordings, transcripts, and presentations of included discussions, concluding that rural health has been long overlooked. On the research side, the analysis revealed that investments are needed in dedicated rural health research mechanisms that allow researchers to build relationships with communities and understand appropriate research design. On the applied health side, the importance of recognizing the unique challenges of rural areas, the extent of rural diversity, and the role of culturally/linguistically appropriate approaches arose as especially important and actionable. Authors conclude that the COVID context has only deepened the need for the work called for in 2018. #covid-19 #rural

Study finds one third of COVID-19 survivors suffer subsequent mental health or neurological conditions

April 15, 2021 – Families

Experts at The Conversation discuss the findings of a large study on the longerterm impacts of COVID-19 in over 230,000 COVID-19 survivors. Six months after their initial COVID-19 infection, one third of post-COVID-19 patients had received at least one new neurological or psychiatric diagnosis. Specific conditions included anxiety or depressive disorders, substance use, nerve disorders, memory loss, and insomnia. While risks were greatest for patients whose COVID-19 was severe, longer-term impacts were also present among patients with less severe or even asymptomatic COVID-19. Even once acute COVID-19 infections are under control, the chronic impacts of the disease will present substantial clinical needs. #covid-19 #mentalhealth

Two policy roadmaps for halving child poverty

April 6, 2021 – Families

The Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provides two potential policy roadmaps to halve U.S. child poverty in the next 10 years. The first policy package expands existing programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), increases SNAP benefits by 35 percent, and increases the number of housing vouchers for families with children. The second policy package has a few more components, both expanding existing programs and instituting new policies. In addition to expanding the EITC and CTC, the second package would also raise the federal minimum wage to $10.25, eliminate 1996 restrictions that limiting social safety net eligibility among legal immigrants, and begin both a child allowance program that pays monthly benefits ($225 per child per month) and child support assurance that guarantees minimum monthly child support payments. #workforce

Facilitating parental work and school is the key driver of child care searches

April 2, 2021 – Families

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) contributes to understanding of child care demand by identifying why parents search for a new child care provider and describing the results of those searches. Using data from the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education Household Survey, the report shows that nearly half of parents of children under age six had searched for a provider in the prior two years, most often—two in three parents—seeking care so that parents could work or attend school. Another 30 percent identified supporting child development as the main driver of their search. Findings differed considerably by child age, with parents of children under three much more likely to cite facilitating parental work or school as their main search reason compared to parents of children age three to six (77 versus 19 percent). Parents from higher-income households were both more likely to search for care and more likely to enroll with a new provider compared to their peers from lower-income households. #childcare

Mixed-methods research explores why legal-aid programs do not adequately serve lowincome rural Americans

March 31, 2021 – Families

“Access to justice” initiatives aim to provide legal services and information to people who otherwise might not have access to legal aid. In the United States, these initiatives are typically designed in urban areas and, as a result, less useful for rural areas that have different capacities and infrastructure than urban places. A forthcoming article in the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law Policy uses interviews, focus groups, and survey data to examine legal-aid service experiences among low-income rural residents in the Upper Midwest. The authors found that existing initiatives do not meaningfully recognize rural capacity limits or the complex barriers that low-income rural residents face, including well-known hurdles like weak broadband access and newly identified challenges like rural legal deserts. While many initiatives focus on “access,” this may only mean physically getting someone to a courthouse, only for them to have to effectively be their own attorney. Authors recommend how to improve these programs by considering local context and low-income rural residents’ own definitions and expectations of “justice.” #rural

Eliminating the tipped minimum wage helps alleviate poverty, reduce gender and racial pay gaps

March 30, 2021 – Families

Labor law allows a subminimum wage for tipped workers, temporary teenage workers, and workers with disabilities. A report from the Center for American Progress finds that eliminating the subminimum wage and establishing a single fair wage would help alleviate poverty and reduce inequality. Eight U.S. states have already gotten rid of the tipped minimum wage. In 16 more states, the federal tipped minimum wage ($2.13 per hour) is still used, while the remaining 26 states have tipped wages between $2.13 and the regular federal minimum of $7.25. The authors used pre-pandemic data to analyze state-by-state differences and found that states with one fair wage had lower poverty rates among workers in key tipped industries. Given that women and people of color represent disproportionate shares of tipped workers, eliminating the tipped minimum wage also reduced gender and racial pay gaps. Importantly, their analysis also shows that moving to one fair wage does not hinder employment in tipped industries. #workforce #racialequity

American Rescue Plan Act enhances food assistance in response to high food hardship

March 29, 2021 – Families

A new report authored by prominent food scholars details the investments and expansions to food assistance programs included in the American Rescue Plan Act. Some of the major components include allowing states to continue the Pandemic-EBT program over the summer, extending the SNAP benefit increase, increased funding to states for the administrative costs of higher SNAP demand, investment in improving the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and targeted support for Puerto Rico and select U.S. territories. The temporary 15 percent SNAP maximum benefit increase, which was set to end June 30, has been extended through September 2021. This extension will impact an estimated 154,000 SNAP participants in Maine, and Maine will receive an additional $3.9 million for addressing increased SNAP state administrative expenses for fiscal years 2021-2023. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #Maine

Child welfare reports and investigations down 18%, says Associated Press

March 29, 2021 – Families

The Associated Press has analyzed records from 36 states’ child welfare agencies and found 400,000 fewer child welfare concerns and 200,000 fewer investigations/assessments in the first nine months of the pandemic compared with two years earlier. In states where data on severity were available, the AP suggests that cases have become “more urgent and complex” during the pandemic, suggesting that fewer reports are not a result of reduced need. The decline in reports is attributed in large part to fewer opportunities for children to be observed in person by other adults, like teachers. #covid-19 #safety

Manchester, New Hampshire works to vaccinate underrepresented populations

March 29, 2021 – Families

New Hampshire has set aside a quantity of COVID-19 vaccines for underrepresented populations and health care providers in Manchester are working to eliminate barriers and deploy these vaccines. Primary care providers at Catholic Medical Center are identifying and making home visits to folks with transportation challenges, limited broadband access, or who otherwise might have a tough time booking and attending a vaccine appointment. They have also set up a vaccination clinic at a local homeless shelter and have planned additional outreach to unhoused populations who may not want to visit the shelter. Another priority population for targeted outreach is non-native English speakers. Manchester is hosting specific vaccine clinics for Spanish speakers and Catholic Medical Center has plans for additional dedicated clinics for Nepali and Bhutanese populations. #covid-19 #vaccination #racialequity

Transitioning to EBT cards was associated with an increase in WIC participation

March 29, 2021 – Families

After a 2010 congressional mandate, states began transitioning from a paper voucher system to electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). An article in JAMA Pediatrics used administrative data from 2014-2019 to compare states that had and had not already transferred to WIC EBT and found that WIC participation increased by almost 8 percent in states that had transitioned to EBT cards compared to those that had not. EBT cards are more convenient than paper vouchers and are also less stigmatizing. #foodsecurity