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.


Increasing financial aid funding would be more effective than tuition discounts

August 24, 2020 – Older Youth, Families

Especially as many colleges and universities announce an online or otherwise disrupted college experience, some have pushed for tuition discounts. A Brookings expert argues that tuition discounts are not the right approach, as they would likely reduce the future availability of financial aid. Universities and colleges are spending considerably more to prepare to operate amidst the pandemic, which may prompt future cuts to financial aid and make college less accessible for low-income students. Universities, such as Syracuse University, that have increased tuition have allowed for increases to financial aid. #covid-19 #education

Older youth in foster care report high rates of mental health service use

August 20, 2020 – Older Youth

A study of older youth (age 17) in California foster care consisted of 727 inperson interviews about their use of mental health services and preparedness to manage their mental health going forward. Over half of study participants (54 percent) reported using counseling in the past year and 29 percent reported using medications to help manage mental health. Those who had experienced physical or sexual abuse were more likely to have used counseling in the past year. Youth who did not identify as 100% heterosexual were also more likely to have used counseling than their peers. About 20 percent of all participants felt less than prepared to manage their mental health. This research shows that mental health service use continues to be high among foster care youth and that interventions may be beneficial to help these youth manage their mental health as they transition to adulthood. #mental health

Schools can opt into community eligibility provision and offset hardships for low-income families

August 19, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities draws attention to opportunities available to low-income school districts through the community eligibility provision. Districts that opt in by August 31 can provide free breakfast and lunch to all students—without having to process individual students’ applications—if at least 40 percent of students have been identified as eligible through SNAP or foster care. The provision is especially relevant now as the pandemic has increased SNAP caseloads. Further, because a new program flexibility allows districts to assess eligibility using data through June (when many families newly enrolled in SNAP), rather than April, as in usual years, these newly eligible families would be captured in community eligibility data. The provision not only expands access for in-person settings, but for students in districts doing some or all remote instruction, can also ease delivery of grab-and-go meals, and if extended, Pandemic EBT benefits. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

How to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 among children in schools

August 18, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

In the wake of unsuccessful in-person K-12 school openings—including in Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Nebraska, and other states—experts reexamine strategies for lowering risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. Researchers published a list of 10 recommendations in The Conversation about how to reduce the risk for children, families, and staff at schools. These recommendations include checking everyone for symptoms at the start of each day, using quick-response testing when possible, requiring face masks, keeping desks at least six feet apart, ensuring students get their flu shot this fall, and providing sufficient emotional and behavioral supports for students during this stressful and challenging time. #covid-19 #education

Michigan camp supports re-entry for people who were incarcerated as youth

August 15, 2020 – Older Youth

People who begin their young adulthood in the juvenile justice system and continue to be incarcerated into adulthood have not had opportunities to learn basic life skills such as how to pay rent or file taxes. Some report feeling ‘stuck’ at the age they were when they entered the justice system. Upon their release, even as middle-aged adults, they are often not equipped to adjust easily to the world outside of prison. These adjustments are also complicated by trauma they are still processing. The Youth Justice Fund hosts a camp, similar to a summer camp, in Northern Michigan to help people who were incarcerated as youth reacclimate and process their trauma. Access to these supports, as well as a sense of community among camp attendees, has been an important stepping stone for this population. #covid-19 #mentalhealth #deucation

Rural educators creatively respond to connectivity gaps, but need support

August 10, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

As recent research shows that rural school districts were less likely to provide remote learners with devices and mobile hotspots than urban districts in the pandemic (despite similar lack of access across places), a new Brookings piece explores solutions. The authors elevate strategies that were successful in some rural spaces, including mapping local places with internet access, purchasing cellular data for students, directing families to free or low cost internet providers, and setting out hotspots and outdoor work space on school grounds. For rural communities struggling with transportation, teachers checked in by phone or recorded video lessons and delivered via USB drive. While these strategies illustrate the creativity in addressing rural connectivity challenges, the authors also acknowledge that these efforts require serious support from their local, state, and federal leaders who can help fund and facilitate these and other solutions that are tailored to individual communities’ and families’ needs. #covid-19 #education #rural

Remote learning remains unequal looking forward

July 29, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Pew Stateline contributes to the discussion around inequities of virtual learning by highlighting the role that in-person learning plays in mitigating social class differences. While Stateline acknowledges gaps in access to technology like laptops or broadband connections, the article also suggests that higher-income parents have more resources for filling gaps in remote learning, while lower income parents have fewer options. As a result, learning losses will be uneven and concentrated among the least advantaged students. The report also notes, however, that a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that a small majority of parents still support delaying school openings for health reasons, even at the cost of missed academics and fewer opportunities for parental work. #covid-19 #education

Schools in San Francisco create learning hubs to support distance learning

July 24, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

This fall, San Francisco schools will reopen with distance learning, prompting concern about the city’s most vulnerable students being left behind. In response, the City of San Francisco has created ‘learning hubs’ to support the remote learning of disadvantaged students. Aside from a space to work, these hubs will provide access to technology and other resources like snacks and meals. #covid-19 #education

Existing research on successful student supports can bolster college completion during the pandemic

July 15, 2020 – Older Youth

As the pandemic continues into the fall, there is concern about college completion for millions of beginning and continuing students. Researchers at MDRC—an education and social policy research nonprofit—describe the existing evidence and best practices around supporting vulnerable students through college completion. Some strategies proven successful in pre-pandemic times may continue to be useful, including proactive advising, additional financial supports beyond tuition, and specialized programs such as The City University of New York’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP). #covid-19 #education

North Carolina schools take advantage of USDA waivers to meet summer meals demands

July 8, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

The Spotlight on Poverty & Opportunity blog highlights innovative efforts in North Carolina to provide school meals to students over the summer. North Carolina schools have taken advantage of the many pandemic-induced USDA waivers that normally restrict how summer meals can be offered. For example, now meals can be delivered to students, rather than eaten in a congregate setting. Programs may also deliver more than one meal at a time, so these North Carolina schools are intentionally aiming to increase efficiency—and save money—by maximizing the number of meals in each round of deliveries. Additionally, schools have used buses as key transportation for delivering meals, filling staffing gaps with volunteers. #foodsecurity #covid-19

REL Mid-Atlantic study uses school and child welfare data to predict short term academic risks

July 6, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Using school and child welfare data for Pennsylvania school districts, REL MidAtlantic finds that predictive models can be used to effectively identify at-risk students. They consider short-term academic outcomes including chronic absenteeism, suspensions, course failure, low grade point average, and low scores on state tests. The idea is to successfully identify near-term challenges so that administrators and school staff can provide additional support before a problem develops or a student considers dropping out. Interestingly, researchers found that models including out-of-school predictors from human services data did not enhance the performance of the models, suggesting models using only in-school data are sufficient. #education

Strategies to improve data on the postsecondary education experiences of foster youth

July 1, 2020 – Older Youth

Youth with foster care experience face challenges throughout postsecondary education. Previous research demonstrates that these older youth have lower rates of college enrollment and degree completion compared to their peers. However, authors of a Hilton Foundation’s Foster Youth Strategic Initiative publication argue that better and more complete data about foster youth and their postsecondary experience can help inform and improve policy and program efforts to support these youth. Authors propose four strategies to improve such data, including examples of how stakeholders in both Los Angeles and New York City have worked towards this goal. Strategies include linking data across public systems, developing appropriate methods to identify youth with foster care experience in postsecondary education, developing common measures of progress across systems, and including participation in employment training and certification under the umbrella of postsecondary education. #olderyouth #education