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.


The transition to adulthood is complicated for DACA recipients in mixed-status families

November 30, 2020 – Older Youth

A new article in the Journal of Family Issues explores the transition to adulthood and changing family roles of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients living in mixed-status families (where some members are undocumented). Through in-depth qualitative interviews with DACA recipients in Florida, the researchers found that while DACA has expanded opportunities for recipients, it is also still characterized by instability and insecurity. Recipients’ transitions to adulthood are still complicated by their legal status precarity and their close connections to family members who remain undocumented. As they transition into young adulthood, DACA recipients were not able to “individuate” or distinguish themselves as adults separate from family systems the same way their peers with citizenship status are able to. Additionally, the new legal benefits granted to the DACA recipient can lead to youth taking on the role of ‘institutional broker’ in their family, helping undocumented members interface with government entities and outside organizations. #racialequity

New Hampshire public school enrollment decreased in the 2020-2021 school year

November 23, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

New data from the New Hampshire Department of Education reveals changes in public school enrollment during the pandemic. While the state has been typically seeing a one percent decrease in enrollment each year, enrollment in the fall of the 2020-2021 school year had decreased by four percent. Much of this decrease is likely due to families choosing homeschooling or private schoolsover public school given pandemic related uncertainties. However, there was notable variation across the state. Concord, Manchester, and Nashua school districts all reported declines of 4-6 percent and while some more northern recreational areas reported massive spikes in enrollment (such as in Waterville Valley with a 200 percent increase). These enrollment increases are largely driven by families relocating to historically seasonal homes during the pandemic. Since state education funding is tied to the number of enrolled students, these changes—and how fleeting or enduring they are—add confusion to school district budgeting. #covid-19 #education

Playspace equity is an area ripe for rural philanthropy, nonprofits

November 20, 2020 – Young Children

Neighborhood playgrounds are community assets that promote health and wellbeing as well as connection between residents. Rural areas can face barriers to playspaces such as physical distance and a limited local tax base. Given constraints on local governments, philanthropies and nonprofits have been successful in stepping in to create playspaces. For example, the nonprofit KABOOM! has engaged with communities over the last two decades to expand playspace access for around 11 million children. #rural

COVID-19 patients may develop anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder

November 19, 2020 – Families

The Daily Yonder reports on new research published in the Lancet that investigated mental health outcomes of COVID-19. While the uncertain atmosphere created by the pandemic has likely increased the risk of mental health problems generally, the authors also found that one in five COVID-19 patients develop mental health issues within 90 days of their recovery. These mental health issues include depression, anxiety, insomnia, as well as, notably, post-traumatic stress disorder. The mental health implications of the pandemic are even more troubling for rural areas where access to mental health care and providers is often quite limited. #covid-19 #mentalhealth #rural

New Hampshire reports spike in number of children awaiting psychiatric services

November 19, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

The State of New Hampshire’s Office of the Child Advocate reports a substantial increase in children needing emergency mental health care during the pandemic. In the first few months of 2020 before the pandemic hit, the daily count of people under 18 years old in emergency rooms awaiting acute psychiatric care was less than 15. In fall 2020, the daily count rose to a ‘historic’ 30+ kids. Although an inadequate number of psychiatric beds in the state is contributing to the backlog, one of the best ways to address this challenge is through bolstering prevention mental health services for children to avoid a crisis warranting emergency care. #covid-19 #mentalhealth

Recommendations to strengthen equity in vaccine delivery

November 19, 2020 – Families

A newly available analysis in Health Affairs identifies specific actions that federal policy should consider when attempting to ensure equity in vaccine dissemination and uptake. The authors identify especially low existing vaccine uptake rates among rural and Latinx/Hispanic populations. And in a survey on vaccination willingness, Black survey respondents reported an especially low willingness to receive a COVID vaccine when ready (data collected before vaccines were approved and made available). The authors suggest that diverse clinical trials, transparent trial and uptake data, eliminating out-of-pocket costs, and engaging state-level working groups to identify good communication strategies for underserved groups are all important efforts to achieving a more equitable vaccination infrastructure. #covid-19 #racialequity

Only 44 percent of households with children were very confident about affording food

November 18, 2020 – Families

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) published an analysis of fall 2020 data (August 19 – October 26) from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. The author found that, nationally, only 44 percent of households with children reported that they were “very confident” about affording necessary food over the next four weeks. About 10 percent of households with children were “not at all confident.” The author estimated that between 7 and 11 million children live in a household where there was not enough to eat in the past week. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in rural areas continue to break records

November 17, 2020 – Families

As the pandemic accelerates, rural areas are seeing rapid growth in new cases. For the eighth week in a row, the number of weekly new COVID-19 cases in rural (nonmetropolitan) counties has broken the previous record. For the most recent week, November 8-14, there were 195,795 new cases in rural counties. The Daily Yonder now estimates that 86 percent of rural counties are in the red zone (having a weekly infection rate of 100+ new cases per 100,000 population). This most recent week also reported a record number of deaths in rural counties at 2,026 deaths. #covid-19 #rural

University enrollment decreases less than feared, increases seen at for-profit institutions

November 17, 2020 – Older Youth

Despite fears of university enrollment declines of 20 percent, early data fromone month into the fall semester show only a 3 percent overall decline in enrollment. According to these data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, public four-year universities have seen an enrollment decline of about 1.4 percent. However, for-profit colleges have seen an increase in enrollment, up by 3 percent. One factor contributing to this trend is that forprofit institutions tend to already be quite experienced and recognized in remote learning. Further, for-profits tend to be more financially nimble and have more access to unrestricted money, allowing them to spend more on marketing and expand financial aid to attract students. #covid-19 #education

Research on seniors in rural areas finds isolation and program barriers contribute to food insecurity

November 16, 2020 – Seniors

New research from Indiana University finds that isolation and program barriers contribute to food insecurity among older adults in rural areas. Data were collected via public convenings and a survey of 5,000 households in lower income census tracts in four rural counties of Indiana. Results showed that seniors living alone felt less motivated to prepare balanced meals and found less enjoyment in eating. Seniors who lived and ate with family members or ate in congregate settings reported higher enjoyment of meals, a diffused (and therefore decreased) burden of food acquisition, and increased motivation to eat better. These results are especially salient, given additional findings that the share of seniors feeling isolated has risen steeply, from 7 percent pre-pandemic to 61 percent at present. Findings also echo many previous studies in noting that SNAP and other nutrition programs that require paperwork or travel present barriers to participation. Researchers suggest that a ride-share network could be a cost-effective way to enhance seniors’ access to food sources and programs, although safe implementation in times of social distancing is complicated. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #rural

Food insecurity high among emerging adults from Minnesota

November 11, 2020 – Older Youth

New research published in Public Health Nutrition examined the impacts of COVID on emerging adults’ food insecurity (mean age = 24), and on how food security status is linked to other experiences among this population. The authors found elevated rates of food insecurity in this group, and that food insecure participants were less likely to report having fresh produce at home, were more likely to report frequent fast food consumption, and were more likely to feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods. Participants identified more food assistance and relief funds as important supports for their health. The study recruited participants from an earlier longitudinal study of Minnesota young people (in secondary school in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in 2010 to 2018), for participation in an online survey. (Respondents were more diverse in income and racial-ethnic identity than the overall population of that region). #covid-19 #foodsecurity

Policy changes in Chicago improve enrollment of disadvantaged children in pre-K

November 11, 2020 – General

New research finds that policy changes have helped support more equitable enrollment in Chicago Public Schools’ pre-kindergarten programs over the past seven years of implementation. In fact, preschool enrollment has tripled among Black children and children from the lowest-income areas. Policy changes included ensuring classrooms were located close to families’ residences, prioritizing full-day over part-time seats, grassroots marketing to inform parents about local options, and a new centralized, city-wide enrollment system that can hold seats for disadvantaged students. These changes were informed by city officials’ data analysis of neighborhoods that identified and mapped the greatest unmet early education needs. Other cities could undertake a similar process to support pre-K enrollment for disadvantaged children. #education #racialequity