Category: Vulnerable Families Research Program

Resource Category Topic Type
Low Wages Prevalent In Direct Care and Child Care Workforce
The large-scale movement of women into the paid labor market has brought sweeping change into family life and also in who cares for the elderly and children. This brief studies workers in two low wage, predominantly female care-giving occupations plagued with high turnover direct care workers and child care workers. It provides a better understanding of how they fare when compared with other female workers and discusses factors that contribute to their continued employment.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Employment, Women Publication
Low-Skill Workers in Rural America Face Permanent Job Loss
Global economic competition and other factors have cost rural America 1.5 million jobs in the past six years. This brief analyzes job displacement figures from around the country between 1997 and 2003. The loss of rural jobs was particularly large in the manufacturing sector, and the rate of loss was higher in the rural Northeast than in the rest of rural America. The key causes fueling the trend have been the push for cost savings through automation and cheaper labor overseas.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Low Income, Rural Publication
Maine Head Start Report: 2017
Founded in 1965, Head Start is designed to promote “school readiness of children under 5 from low-income families through education, health, social, and other services.”1 Created in 1994, Early Head Start focuses specifically on the youngest children—those under age 3, and pregnant women—and provides “early, continuous, intensive, and comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income infants and toddlers, and their families, and pregnant women and their families.”2 The Administration for Children and Families, housed within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, oversees and administers all Head Start programs through the federal Office of Head Start.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Poverty Publication
Many Eligible Children Don’t Participate in School Nutrition Programs
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which authorizes funding for federal nutrition programs (including the National School Lunch Program; the School Breakfast Program; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; the Summer Food Service Program; and the Child and Adult Care Food Program), is set to expire on September 30, 2015.1 The reauthorization process allows Congress the opportunity to evaluate, alter, and allocate funding for these programs, giving rise to opportunities for expanding participation and improving program quality. This brief uses data from the 2013 Current Population Survey’s Food Security Supplement to document levels of participation in two of the largest programs authorized by this act—the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program—by region and place type (rural, suburban, and city), to identify areas where expanding participation may be especially important.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Food Assistance, Safety Net Publication
Mapping Food Insecurity and Food Sources in New Hampshire Cities and Towns (co-publication with the Children's Alliance of NH)
Using a series of detailed New Hampshire maps, this brief presents a geographic picture of the towns and cities at risk for food insecurity as well as the food resources available across the state. By detailing places with high food insecurity risk and comparing them to places where food is available, these maps show areas of unmet need. This information will enable organizations partnering with New Hampshire Hunger Solutions to identify where initiatives addressing food insecurity and hunger could have the greatest potential impact.
Evaluation, New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Food Assistance, New Hampshire Publication
Mapping the Food Landscape in New Hampshire
In this brief, Jess Carson explores the food landscape of New Hampshire, documenting where lower incomes and low population density might lead to food insecurity, and mapping the locations of various food sources.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Food Assistance, Health, New Hampshire, Poverty Publication
Mathematics Achievement Gaps Between Suburban Students and Their Rural and Urban Peers Increase Over Time
In this brief, authors Suzanne Graham and Lauren Provost examine whether attending a school in a rural, urban, or suburban community is related to children’s mathematics achievement in kindergarten, and whether increases in mathematics achievement between kindergarten and eighth grade differ for children in rural, urban, and suburban schools.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Rural, Urban Publication
Maximizing Returns to Colleges and Communities
Colleges and universities depend tremendously on their local communities in numerous ways, and through community investment, have a unique opportunity to support these communities in turn. This handbook provides an overview of community investment, including a step-by-step guide to implementing a community investment program that maximizes both financial and social returns.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Community, Economic Development, Education Publication
Middle-Skill Jobs Remain More Common Among Rural Workers
This issue brief uses data from the Current Population Survey collected from 2003 to 2012 to assess trends in employment in middle-skill jobs and the Great Recession’s impact on middle-skill workers, with particular attention paid to differences between those in rural and urban places.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Rural, Urban Publication
More Poor Kids in More Poor Places: Children Increasingly Live Where Poverty Persists
The authors of this brief examine child poverty rates using decennial census data from 1980, 1990, and 2000, as well as American Community Survey five-year estimates between 2005 and 2009, to identify those counties where child poverty has persisted. They find persistent child poverty in nearly twice as many U.S. counties as those that report high persistent poverty across all age groups. In all, 342 counties have experienced persistently high levels of poverty across all age groups during the past twenty-nine years. In contrast, more than 700 counties experienced persistent child poverty over the same period. Rural areas are disproportionately likely to have persistent high child poverty; 81 percent of counties with persistent child poverty are nonmetropolitan while only 65 percent of all U.S. counties are nonmetropolitan. Overall, 26 percent of rural children reside in counties whose poverty rates have been persistently high. This compares with 12 percent of urban children. Counties with persistent child poverty cluster in Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, other areas of the Southeast, parts of the Southwest, and in the Great Plains. The authors comment that the overwhelming urban focus of welfare programs means policymakers often overlook needy families in rural areas. In addition to the high unemployment and low education levels that they document in the brief, the physical and social isolation associated with rural poverty create problems different from those in densely settled urban areas. They conclude that the reductions in government spending likely to result from the Great Recession, coupled with two decades of the devolution of policymaking responsibility from the federal to the state level (and occasionally to municipal governments), may have significant implications for children and fragile families in these persistently poor rural counties.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural, Safety Net, Urban Publication
More Than 95 Percent of U.S. Children Had Health Insurance in 2015
Enrolling all children in health insurance is a primary goal of health care advocates. Children who have health insurance have better access to health care and, as a result, experience gains in a variety of well-being measures, including health and school attainment.1 Most children are covered by private insurance,2 but public insurance available through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has significantly contributed to gains in insurance rates among children.3 Providing access to health care for children living in poverty was central to Medicaid during the “The Great Society” project of the 1960s. CHIP was adopted in 1997, which aimed to enroll low-income children whose parents’ income was too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to afford private coverage. Despite some debate regarding the income level at which children ought to qualify for public coverage, legislation to insure children has received bipartisan support.4 Policy and advocacy efforts to insure children have been effective: a higher share of children were enrolled in health insurance in 2015—95.2 percent—than at any time since these data started being collected in 20085 (see Table 1). Rates of coverage increased 1.2 percentage points between 2014 and 2015. By region, the largest gains occurred in the South (1.2 percentage points) and the West (1.9 percentage points). These two regions traditionally have had the lowest rates of coverage and therefore the most opportunity for growth. Yet even after marked improvements in children’s coverage in both, they still lag behind the Northeast and Midwest. Rates of coverage also grew across all place types (cities, suburbs, and rural places) between 2014 and 2015 except in Midwestern cities, where the measured gain was not statistically significant. The most substantial gains occurred in Western and Southern suburban and rural places.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Health Insurance, Safety Net Publication
More Than One in Ten American Households Relies on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of the most responsive federal programs to economic downturns, as evidence by the increases in SNAP use between 2007 and 2009. Nationally, more than one in ten households relies on SNAP benefits, and the rate is even higher in rural areas, with more than 13 percent of households reporting use. This brief examines the trends in SNAP use across the United States since the recession began in 2007 and considers the impact of legislation in the Congress on those who rely on SNAP to make ends meet.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Food Assistance, Poverty, Rural, Safety Net Publication
Most U.S. School Districts Have Low Access to School Counselors
In education today, diverse movements such as the “whole child” approach, “conveyor belt” services, and “Let’s Move!” share a common understanding that children bring a host of needs to school and often require more than academic support.1 Students living in poverty often benefit from more intensive support, as they are much more likely to come from difficult circumstances such as less stable homes2 and more violent environments.3 It is difficult to estimate the number of children with social or emotional impediments to learning, but by any measure it is substantial.4 Addressing the non-cognitive challenges these students face is important not only for them but for their peers, who can experience harmful spillover effects.5 Even students who perform well can face “last mile” hurdles that prevent them from successfully transitioning to suitable college or career options. School counselors,6 tasked with addressing the academic, career, personal, and social needs of students, play a crucial role in bridging these gaps. Perhaps the most popularized aspect of their work is conducting one-on-one and small group counseling with students in need, but in addition school counselors often work closely with school administrators, teachers, school support staff, parents, and outside community members to design, implement, and evaluate comprehensive wellness programs within schools. For instance, such curricula may aim to provide drug abuse awareness, foster non-cognitive academic skills, or develop appropriate social connections.8 Additionally, school counselors play an important role in meeting the needs of, and advocating for, students with a disability.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education Publication
New England Has the Highest Increase in Income Disparity in the Nation
Income inequality in New England is rising at the highest rate in the nation, this brief finds. Between 1989 and 2004, the region experienced the largest increase in income inequality in the country, due to both growth among top earners and the hollowing out of the middle class caused by significant changes in the nation's economy.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Income, Inequality, New England Publication
New Immigrant Settlements in Rural America: Problems, Prospects, and Policies
Regions of rural America are being reshaped by growing numbers of immigrants who are choosing small-town life over the bright lights of the big city. This study found that immigrant settlers may have a big impact on small, rural communities—sometimes straining resources but also offering promise for reinvigorating dying communities.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Community, Economic Development, Immigration, Rural Publication
New, Longer Road to Adulthood: Schooling, Work, and Idleness among Rural Youth, The
This report focuses on the education and work experiences of rural youth during the emerging adult years (age 20 to 24), as they make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. It documents how rural emerging adults combine work and school and experience idleness, closely examines their educational attainment, and compares their experiences with those in central city and suburban areas.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Education, Employment, Rural, Urban, Young Adults Publication
No Place Like Home: Place and Community Identity Among North Country Youth
This brief explores the link between rural youths’ identification with their community, their self-esteem, and their future plans. The panel study of New Hampshire’s Coos County youth offers a snapshot into the dynamics of a population that is developing its identity in a region that is undergoing an identity transformation of its own. Place identity may be influential in how individuals think of themselves and their futures, particularly for youth in the process of forming an identity. The study reveals the importance of developing community programs and activities for youth that create social ties to form a positive identification with the place they live and consequently improve their self-esteem and the likelihood for staying or returning to their communities in later adulthood.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Community, Coös Youth Study, New Hampshire, Rural, Young Adults Publication
Official Poverty Statistics Mask the Economic Vulnerability of Seniors
In this brief, we compare Maine, one of the oldest states in the nation, to the United States as a whole. Historically, both children and the elderly were regarded as vulnerable groups in need of support from government programs. Traditional poverty estimates suggest that at least since the late 1960s, senior poverty has been on the decline, whereas poverty among children has increased. Declines among seniors are largely attributable to the advent of programs such as Social Security. Similar to the nation, about half of Maine seniors (51.0 percent) would be poor without Social Security benefits. However, traditional poverty measurement masks the role rising medical costs play in pushing seniors into poverty. The newer Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), which accounts for these costs, reveals that more than one in ten Maine seniors over age 55 were living below the poverty line in 2009–2013. This is 2.3 percentage points higher than official estimates suggest. Without medical expenses, the SPM indicates that poverty among Maine seniors would be roughly cut in half, from 10.2 percent to 5.2 percent. A similar reduction is evident across the United States (from 14.2 percent to 9.0 percent), though this represents a smaller relative reduction in poverty (by just over one-third).
Vulnerable Families Research Program Health, Poverty, Seniors Publication
Older Americans Working More, Retiring Less
This Carsey brief finds that the percentage of Americans age 65 and older remaining in the labor force continues to grow steadily in urban, suburban, and rural areas. In 2009, 22 percent of older men and 13 percent of older women were still working compared to 17 percent of men and 9 percent of women in 1995. Moreover, increasing percentages of older workers hold full-time, full-year jobs.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Seniors Publication
One Million Additional Children in Poverty Since 2009: 2010 Data Reveal Nearly One in Four Southern Children Now Live in Poverty
American Community Survey (ACS) data released on September 22, 2011 allow for a detailed look at child poverty by state and place, adding to the understanding of the economic landscape described by the Current Population Survey (CPS) data released last week. While the CPS data are useful for providing a snapshot of poverty across the nation, the larger sample size of the ACS--three million addresses versus 100,000 addresses in the CPS--makes it better suited for nuanced analyses of poverty. In this brief, the authors use the ACS data released on September 22 to focus on child poverty. The authors report that between 2009 and 2010 an additional one million children joined the ranks of those in poverty. This brings the total to an estimated 15.7 million poor children in 2010, an increase of 2.6 million since the Great Recession began in 2007. Of the 15.7 million poor children in 2010, 5.9 million are young (under age 6), an increase of 220,000 over one year. Across the United States, rural, suburban, and central city areas all realized significant increases in child poverty between 2009 and 2010 and since the recent recession began in 2007. Congressional concerns over the federal debt have already resulted in an agreement that will force significant cuts to domestic spending, including many programs that serve children and families. The authors stress that, although budget cuts are unavoidable, policy makers should carefully consider how cuts are distributed, keeping America's most vulnerable families in mind as the effects of the recession reverberate, as demonstrated by high child poverty rates.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Safety Net Publication