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.


New research links elementary school closures to reduced maternal labor force participation

March 12, 2021 – FamiliesChildcare, COVID-19, Education

An article published in Gender & Society finds that COVID-19-related school closures are associated with reduced maternal employment, concluding that schools are part of the nation’s critical care infrastructure. The authors collected operating status of schools (data not yet available publicly), linking this information to data on labor force participation from the current population survey. The authors find that in states with fully remote instruction, the gender labor force participation gap grew over the pandemic and stayed smaller in places where hybrid (like Maine) or in-person instruction was available. The authors conclude that states should continue to prioritize continuous in-person child care and schooling so parents, and especially mothers, can continue to engage in paid work. #covid-19 #education #childcare

How states can use new Pandemic Emergency Assistance funds to support low-income families

March 11, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Food Security

The American Rescue Plan Act designated $1 billion for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through a Pandemic Emergency Assistance fund. States will have some flexibility on how they use Pandemic Emergency Assistance funds, as long as the funding is used for non-recurrent benefits for no more than four months. In particular, this means that states cannot use these funds for regular monthly TANF benefits. A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities policy expert details four ways that states could use these funds to support low-income families. Perhaps most straightforward, states could provide a one-time extra cash payment to TANF families. The other three strategies intend to reach families who are not currently connected to TANF, including a one-time cash payment to low-income SNAP households with children; a new worker-relief fund for short-term payments to replace lost income; or funds for families ineligible for other programs but experiencing crises like rental arrears. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

McKinsey & Company compiles potential near-term actions for rural communities

March 10, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Mental Health, Racial Equity, Rural

An article from McKinsey & Company highlights some near-term actions that rural communities with especially high shares of residents of color can use to manage the pandemic. While rural areas in general have been severely impacted by COVID-19, these racially and ethnically diverse rural counties are reporting death rates 1.6 times higher than other rural counties. In the short-term, rural communities will need to simultaneously treat current COVID-19 cases, reduce virus transmission, and meet mental health and social needs. The article includes potential research-informed actions that rural stakeholders can take in each of these three domains. #covid-19 #rural #racialequity #mentalhealth

New Hampshire police aim to better understand at-risk residents through voluntary information sharing program

March 10, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Mental Health, Rural

The Concord Monitor describes a new program aimed at reducing challenges for law enforcement who interact with vulnerable residents. Rolled out in a few New Hampshire towns, the “Unique Needs Program” allows families to submit important information about at-risk loved ones to their local precinct, in case officers encounter them in the community. The public can submit the online form about family members with a chronic mental illness, a developmental disability, or memory loss, and include their physical description, emergency contact information, fears and phobias, particular behaviors, and/or favorite locations. When officers encounter a registered person or are dispatched to their address, they will be better informed and prepared to understand special circumstances. This effort comes alongside a new requirement for enhanced training on mental illness, special training on autism, and new crisis intervention specialty training. Disability advocates in the state suggest that while these efforts could reduce misunderstandings that result in tragic outcomes for people with disabilities, officers still need to seek out feedback and ideas from disabled people themselves to truly meet community needs. #covid-19 #rural #mentalhealth

Vaccine hesitance may still pose barrier in rural places

March 2, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Rural

Research from the editor of The Daily Yonder uses a national Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in November and December 2020 to identify differences in willingness to get vaccinated by place type. The paper reports that 35 percent of rural residents said they “probably” or “definitely” would not get a COVID-19 vaccine if it was free, safe, and effective. This compares with just 26 and 27 percent of urban and suburban residents, respectively. This place-based difference persisted even after controlling for political party, age, and education. Rural residents were also most likely to agree that the seriousness of COVID-19 is exaggerated in the news: 50 percent agreed, compared with 27 of urban residents and 37 percent of suburban residents. However, the author also notes that vaccine attitudes are not static, and that overall willingness has improved since the last time the poll was conducted in September. #covid-19 #rural

Counties tackle transportation challenges for residents seeking vaccines

March 2, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Rural, Vaccination

The National Association of Counties highlights the efforts some counties have undertaken to shift public transit resources to transporting residents to vaccination sites. Some counties have utilized rural transit dollars allocated via the CARES Act while other places are leveraging pandemic related reductions in public transit ridership to dedicate vehicles and drivers to the effort. Coordinators identify short turnarounds as the main barrier, so it is essential to ensure that residents know county transportation is available even before booking an appointment, so residents do not turn down vaccination opportunities for fear of not having a ride. #covid-19 #vaccination #rural

Charging low-income consumers exorbitant overdraft fees is big business for small banks

March 1, 2021 – FamiliesRacial Equity

An op-ed by senior Brookings fellow Aaron Klein highlights the role of overdraft fees as a primary revenue source for some banks, arguing that regulators are failing their duties by allowing banks to rely on a fee levied only upon customers without money as a cornerstone of their business model. Klein also notes that the smallest banks are not even required to report on overdraft revenue, so reliance on overdraft revenue among those institutions is unknown. This point is especially alarming given earlier research from New America that finds that small banks implement more “punishing” fee structures in Black and Latinx communities than in white communities, regardless of socioeconomic characteristics and the presence of competing banks. #racialequity

Diaper need linked with food insecurity risk among WIC participants, but no program to address need

February 23, 2021 – FamiliesFood Security

A new study in Preventive Medicine Reports describes how authors surveyed Vermont WIC participants with questions on food insecurity risk and an understudied form of material hardship: diaper need. Authors found that half of participating households were at risk for food insecurity and one-third reported diaper need, with a strong association between the two measures. For families who experienced diaper need, strategies included borrowing, stretching supplies, buying on credit, or switching to other materials. The authors, of UVM and the Vermont Department of Health, emphasize that interventions to address diaper need are a health equity response for families with children. #foodsecurity

Substantial fall in number of rural COVID-19 deaths, new infections

February 23, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Rural

After setting new records in December and early January, COVID-19 death rates and new infection rates are dropping substantially in rural (nonmetropolitan) counties. In the past week alone (February 14–20), the number of deaths in rural counties decreased by one third (from hovering around 3,600 down to 2,404 deaths). The number of new COVID-19 cases has dropped by 75% from the peak at 230,000 new infections the first week of January down to 56,296 mid-February. The rural death rate remains higher than the urban (metropolitan) rate, although both rates have dropped by about a third in the last week. #covid-19 #rural

Institute for Women’s Policy Research asks women about their concerns and priorities

February 21, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Economy, Racial Equity, Workforce

A February 2021 survey conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research asked women to identify their top policy priorities on which Congress and the Biden Administration should focus. Across the 1,452 survey respondents, healthcare was the top policy priority. Rounding out the top five priorities are: the economic recession, unemployment, racial justice or inequality, and taxes. Stratifying policy priorities by respondent race and ethnicity showed that raising the minimum wage was also a significant concern among Black and Latina women. Making ends meet is a shared concern, as nearly half of all respondents—and two thirds of Latinas—were worried about their income being enough to pay for all family expenses. #covid-19 #workforce #economy #racialequity

LGBT adults—particularly those of color—faced greater health and economic impacts in fall 2020 than non-LGBT adults

February 21, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Racial Equity, Workforce

Researchers at the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law investigated how LGBTQ+ adults were impacted by the fall 2020 COVID-19 surge. They used survey data collected between August and December 2020 by Ipsos’ weekly Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index (a representative and probability-based online panel of U.S. adults). The report shows important variation by sexual orientation/gender identity and race/ethnicity. For instance, while LGBT and non-LGBT white adults had similar COVID-19 test positivity rates, rates were higher among non-LGBT adults of color, and highest among adults identifying as both LGBT and a person of color. LGBT adults were more likely to report having been laid off, furloughed, having problems affording basic household goods, and having problems paying rent or mortgage than non-LGBT adults. While 5.4 percent of non-LGBT white people reported being recently laid off, rates were increasingly higher among LGBT white people (10.4 percent), non- LGBT people of color (11.5 percent) and LGBT people of color (15 percent). The authors recommend specific and intentional efforts among federal and pharmaceutical stakeholders to address the needs of LGBT people while addressing accumulated distrust. #covid-19 #racialequity #workforce

Limited Availability of Official “Partnership” Pharmacies in Rural America to Provide COVID-19 Immunizations

February 20, 2021 – FamiliesCOVID-19, Rural

Research from the Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis explores rural options for pharmacy vaccination delivery. The research finds that while only 6 percent of rural counties have no pharmacy altogether, 35 percent have no pharmacy that is included in the current CDC vaccination partnership plan. The share of counties without access could be halved if rules are expanded to include pharmacies capable of delivering immunizations but not designated as official partners (largely community and independent pharmacies). According to the included maps, all of Maine’s rural counties have at least one pharmacy eligible of delivering vaccines under the existing partnership arrangement, although the size of Maine’s counties may present other access barriers for residents. #covid-19 #rural