Category: Vulnerable Families Research Program

Resource Category Topic Type
TANF in Rural America: Informing Re-authorization
In 1996 welfare reform ushered in a new era in which cash assistance for poor parents became both temporary and conditional on activities to promote economic independence through work. Cash assistance from TANF relieves, but does not eliminate, poverty because benefit levels are far too low to lift families above the poverty threshold. These ameliorative effects are weaker in rural than urban areas. Over time, the positive impacts of TANF receipt have continued to decline. The authors assert that the necessity of re-authorizing TANF gives us an opportunity to reflect on its strengths and limitations. TANF is an important component of poor families' budgets. However, in its current form, it is insufficient; strengthening TANF would help alleviate some material hardship in the lives of America's neediest citizens. In order to adapt TANF to better support struggling families in a modern economy, the authors suggest that the TANF reauthorization keep America's rural poor in mind, acknowledge differences in ameliorative effects, re-establish the TANF Emergency Fund, reinvigorate the Contingency Fund, and reconsider TANF Supplemental Grants.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Family, Poverty, Rural, Safety Net Publication
Teen Dating Violence in New Hampshire
Dating Violence Among High School Teens Dating violence, defined as physical abuse (such as hitting) or sexual abuse (such as forcible sexual activity) that happens within the context of a current or former relationship, leads to a host of negative consequences, including poor mental and physical health and academic difficulties.1 Therefore, it is important that researchers examine factors that increase or decrease risk for dating violence, and then use this research to create evidence-based prevention and risk reduction efforts. To date, researchers have primarily focused on individual factors (for example, attitudes toward violence) and relational factors (such as peer group norms) that may be related to dating violence victimization.2 However, it is also important to examine school and community characteristics that may serve as risk or protective factors for dating violence3 and to understand which youth may be at the highest risk for dating violence victimization. Overall Rates of Dating Violence Among Teens in New Hampshire Nearly one in ten teens (9.1 percent) in New Hampshire reported being the victim of physical dating violence during the past year; across the 71 schools studied, the range was zero to 15.0 percent. More than one in ten teens (10.9 percent) reported being the victim of sexual dating violence during the past year, and the range across schools was zero to 17.0 percent. The purpose of this study was to examine how demographic characteristics such as sexual orientation, school characteristics such as the school poverty rate, and community characteristics such as the population density of the county relate to the possibility that a New Hampshire teen will be the victim of dating violence.
New Hampshire, Vulnerable Families Research Program Health, New Hampshire, Trust, Young Adults Publication
The Changing Faces of America's Children and Youth
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates indicate that between July 2008 and July 2009, 48.6 percent of the 4 million children born in the United States were minorities. In contrast, nearly 60 percent of the children born ten years ago were non-Hispanic white. This rapid change demonstrates that America's youth are at the forefront of the country's rapidly shifting demographic makeup. This brief reveals the factors causing this increase in the proportion of minority births.
Demography, Vulnerable Families Research Program Birth Rates, Children, Demography, Young Adults Publication
The Effects of State EITC Expansion on Children’s Health
This brief examines the impact of state-level adoption of Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) on a set of health-related outcomes for children, including: (1) health insurance coverage, (2) use of preventive medical and dental care, and (3) health status measures including maternal reports of child health and body mass index.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Health, Safety Net Publication
The Impact of State Medicaid Expansion Under the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage at the County Level
Counties and states with large shares of uninsured risk having to contend with a range of health and economic impacts, such as reduced workplace productivity, unsustainable demands on emergency departments, higher tax burdens resulting from uncompensated care costs, and deteriorating health care quality due to reductions in public spending.1 In 2013, before the implementation of major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, 41 million U.S. adults age 19–64 had no health insurance. Coverage varies considerably by geographic location. For instance, in 2013 county-level coverage rates ranged from a high of 96 percent in Norfolk County, Massachusetts to a low of 57 percent in Willacy County, Texas.2 The purpose of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act was to make health care more accessible to low-income populations. By early 2015, 28 states had expanded Medicaid eligibility (see Figure 1). The expansion by some states but not by others provides a unique opportunity to examine the impact of this new policy on changes in health insurance coverage. Moreover, as the newly elected Republican President and the Republican-controlled Congress consider the future of health care reform, understanding the efficacy of components of the Affordable Care Act, such as Medicaid expansion, will be essential for continuing efforts to increase coverage rates and subsequently minimize the associated consequences of low coverage rates. This research identifies differences in changes in insurance coverage rates for non-elderly adults (age 18–64) from 2013 to 2015 between counties in states that did and did not expand Medicaid. The analysis also identifies the county-level factors that contributed to these differences. The year 2013 is used as the starting point because Medicaid expansion did not begin until January 1, 2014.3
Vulnerable Families Research Program Health Insurance, Safety Net Publication
The Interaction Between the Minimum Wage and the Federal EITC
Increases in the minimum wage are widely assumed to be beneficial for low-income workers, but it is important to consider the effect an increase might have on eligibility for other benefits, particularly the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). This fact sheet examines the interaction between the minimum wage and the EITC to determine whether a minimum wage increase would produce gains in the sum of earnings plus EITC dollars for low-income workers.1
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Income, Safety Net, Tax, Wages Publication
The Long-Term Unemployed in the Wake of the Great Recession
Using the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey, this brief outlines the demographic and economic characteristics of the long-term unemployed and compares them with their short-term unemployed counterparts. It also describes changes in the composition of the long-term unemployed since the start of the Great Recession.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Health Insurance, Rural, Unemployment, Urban Publication
The Motherhood Wage Penalty
Gender inequality has declined precipitously over the past half-century, fundamentally altering women’s, men’s, and their children’s lives. Despite these changes, women continue to pay a wage penalty for motherhood, earning about 5 percent less than equally-qualified childless women.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Wages Publication
The Poverty-Reducing Effect of Five Key Government Programs in Rural and Urban America
Federal programs are critical for helping those with low incomes make ends meet. But not all such programs are equally effective at reducing poverty, nor do they benefit all of those in poverty uniformly.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Safety Net Publication
The Poverty-Reducing Effects of the EITC and Other Safety Nets for Young Adult Parents
In this brief, Jess Carson explores the poverty-reducing effects of key federal safety net programs among 18-24 year old (“young adult”) parents.
COVID-19, Vulnerable Families Research Program Child Care, Children, COVID-19, Family, Food Assistance, Low Income, Safety Net, Young Adults Publication
The State of Working Vermont 2006
Vermont enjoys higher-than-average workforce participation rates and the lowest unemployment in New England, but the state's wage levels remain well below regional standards and the workforce is aging, finds this issue brief prepared by the Carsey Institute in partnership with the Public Assets Institute of Vermont. The brief highlights trends related to the economic and labor force characteristics of Vermont's workers.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, New England, Seniors, Wages Publication
The Unequal Distribution of Child Poverty: Highest Rates among Young Blacks and Children of Single Mothers in Rural America
Measuring by race, place, and family, this brief highlights poverty rates for two rural groups--young black children and children of single mothers--who each face rates around 50%.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Poverty, Rural Publication
The Unmet Need for Care
Many older adults need care but do not receive it. Often frail from chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, or arthritis, some need help bathing, dressing, or eating, while others need help taking medications, shopping for groceries, or preparing food. Although many older adults receive help from children, spouses, neighbors, or paid home health care providers, others have few people to whom to turn in times of need. A recent study described Monica, an older woman who lives alone and suffers from decreased mobility, painful arthritis, and fatigue. She says: “Because of my breathlessness, I can’t walk any great distances. I’m slower these days. I’ve got a walking stick now but it’s hard to manage a walking stick sometimes. It’s difficult getting groceries into my house, carrying the groceries up the stairs—I have to make several trips. I can’t carry too many at a time now. But I haven’t really got anybody that I could ring up and ask them to come. That’s where perhaps I feel isolated.”1 Bette, a married woman who cares for herself and her increasingly disabled husband, experienced acute back pain over a recent long weekend, and spent days waiting for an appointment with her primary care physician so that she did not have to go to the emergency room and leave her husband alone. She says: “I was writing something and the phone rang and I tried to get off the chair and I couldn’t. The pain was excruciating and I couldn’t get to the phone. I couldn’t get off the chair. We couldn’t get medical attention unless I went to the hospital. It was the May Day long weekend.” Bette spent the entire three days in pain.2
Vulnerable Families Research Program Disability, Health, Seniors Publication
The USDA Summer Food Service Program in Coös County, New Hampshire
In this report, author Jean Bessette examines the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) operating in 2017 in four communities in Coös County, New Hampshire. She reports that the SFSP provides benefits to Coös County on multiple levels. For children, it ensures the availability of nutritious meals in the summer when school meal programs are not operating; for parents, it helps to alleviate pressure on food budgets; and for communities, it helps to ameliorate the impacts of poverty and lack of economic growth and development. Successful strategies to increase participation in summer food programs include providing bus services to transport children to sites and leveraging non-federal funding to provide meals for adults, thereby increasing the participation of children and youth. Sponsors in Coös County report that the requirements of summer food programs can be frustrating at times. For example, programs are not allowed to send leftover food home with children, and the paperwork can be burdensome. In some cases, program staff were confused or uncertain about program rules, such as procedures for handling leftover meals and snacks. Bessette concludes that expanding and funding more summer food sites and exploring and implementing other innovative strategies to provide food to children in the summer is vital in order to ensure that children grow and thrive.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Health Publication
Three in Ten Rural and Urban Medicaid Recipients Affected by Potential Work Requirements
The Affordable Care Act in 2010 gave states the option to expand Medicaid access to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Thus more able-bodied and working adults have become eligible for Medicaid. In addition, several states have petitioned the federal government to have the option to enforce work requirements for those receiving Medicaid in their state.1 Specific waiver requests vary by state, but could have broad implications for Medicaid recipients across the nation, and typically include a requirement of able-bodied, adult Medicaid recipients to complete a certain number of hours spent working, or in some kind of other approved activity, like job training or looking for work. Children under age 19, pregnant or recently postpartum women, people with disabilities, and sole caretakers of young children are typically excluded from these proposed work requirements.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Poverty, Rural, Safety Net, Urban Publication
Total Children Covered by Health Insurance Increased in 2009
This brief uses data collected in 2008 and 2009 from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) to examine changes in overall insurance coverage rates, as well as changes in types of coverage, and differences by region, state, and place type. The data show that together with new and more inclusive parameters for children's health insurance coverage, rates of children's health insurance have grown during the final year of the recession. Authors Jessica Bean and Michael Staley of the Carsey Institute discuss the complex factors contributing to the shift from private to public health insurance among children. The authors conclude that, because those who have health insurance are healthier overall and, more importantly, because healthy children are more likely to become healthy adults, focusing on covering eligible children should remain at the forefront of the nation's agenda.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Health Insurance Publication
Toward a More Equal Footing
Policy makers and advocates nationwide recognize that funding for early childhood education is a crucial investment in the future. Critical foundational development occurs before age 5, and research consistently shows that high-quality early education for children leads to higher future educational attainment and lower likelihood of crime,1 and yields a return on investment of 7 to 13 percent.2 Yet accessing affordable, quality early childhood education and care is a challenge for families nationwide. More than a quarter of families with young children are burdened by child care costs,3and the availability and quality of child care and education are highly variable across states.4 One program that connects the most economically vulnerable families with quality early childhood programming is Early Head Start (EHS). Subject to rigorous quality and staffing standards,5 implemented among the youngest children (prenatally through age 2), and delivered via a two-generation approach, EHS is a significant opportunity for providing quality care and education to a population that might otherwise struggle to access it. This brief explores the characteristics of EHS in Maine, compares them to the national landscape, and connects these findings to a discussion of the federal and state policy climates.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Education, Fertility, Poverty Publication
U.S. Rural Soldiers Account for a Disproportionately High Share of Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan
A study by the Carsey Institute found that among U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, those who are from rural America are dying at a higher rate than those soldiers who are from cities and suburbs. According to U.S. Department of Defense records, rural youth enlist in the military at a higher rate than urban and suburban youth and in all but eight states, soldiers from rural areas make up a disproportionately high share of the casualties.
Demography, Vulnerable Families Research Program Mortality, Rural, Young Adults Publication
Underemployment in Urban and Rural America, 2005-2012
Author Justin Young reports that underemployment (or involuntary part-time work) rates doubled during the second year of the recession, reaching roughly 6.5 percent in 2009. This increase was equally steep in both rural and urban places. By March of 2012, underemployment was slightly lower in rural places (4.8 percent) compared to urban places (5.3 percent).
Vulnerable Families Research Program Employment, Income, Rural, Urban Publication
Understanding Child Abuse in Rural and Urban America: Risk Factors and Maltreatment Substantiation
Using a large national sample of child maltreatment reports, this brief compares the outcomes of child maltreatment cases in rural versus urban places and identifies the characteristics associated with substantiation. Child abuse cases substantiated in rural and urban areas share many caregiver risk factors, such as drug and alcohol abuse, and many family stressors.
Vulnerable Families Research Program Children, Health, Rural, Urban Publication