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Latest Reports from Assessing the New Federalism

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Voices of Young Fathers (Research Report)
Alford Young, Jr., Pamela A. Holcomb

This report presents ethnographic case studies of eight young, unmarried, low-income fathers who participated in the Partners for Fragile Families (PFF) demonstration projects. PFF provided a range of services aimed at increasing the capacity of young, economically disadvantaged fathers to become financial and emotional supports to their children and sought to reduce poverty and welfare dependence. The study examines the nature of the fathers relationship with their children and the mother of their children, the fathers experiences with the PFF program and with matters related to child support, their views on employment prospects and experiences, and their hopes and aspirations for the future.

Posted to Web: August 03, 2007Publication Date: June 08, 2007

TANF Policies for the Hard to Employ: Understanding State Approaches and Future Directions (Discussion Papers)
Pamela J. Loprest, Pamela A. Holcomb, Karin Martinson, Sheila R. Zedlewski

This study examines states approaches to serving TANF recipients facing multiple barriers to work in fall 2006. It also describes changes states anticipate (partly in response to TANF reauthorization) in the near future to help these recipients move into work and off the caseload. Study results are based primarily on structured interviews with state TANF program officials in 17 states including the states with the largest TANF caseloads. The findings highlight the different approaches taken by state TANF programs on how to best help recipients with serious barriers and provide early information on states’ thinking on how their approach may change for this group in the future.

Posted to Web: July 19, 2007Publication Date: July 01, 2007

Dissemination Lessons Learned (Discussion Papers)
Harold Leibovitz

This paper describes the strategies and tactics used by the Urban Institute's Assessing the New Federalism (ANF) project to communicate changes in the social safety net in the wake of welfare reform. From 1997 to 2004, the growth of electronic communications revolutionized the way people communicate. This report documents how ANF adapted to these changes and offers lessons for future work. Several themes run through this work: continual evaluation of the dissemination program led to continual evolution; cost, time and outcomes were major measures of effectiveness; and being timely and relevant required new communication strategies.

Posted to Web: July 19, 2007Publication Date: June 01, 2007

Early Care and Education for Children in Low-Income Families (Research Report)
Gina Adams, Martha Zaslow, Kathryn Tout

Use of early care and education (ECE) is a reality for many families with young children. Research shows the importance of the early years for children’s development, and suggests that high-quality ECE can be particularly important for children from low-income families. In addition, the U.S. invests billions to support ECE. This paper assesses the patterns of ECE utilization by low-income families, the implications for children's development of the extent and quality of ECE participation, the evidence on the quality of ECE that low-income children receive, and the policy context that shapes ECE. It concludes by laying out key policy considerations.

Posted to Web: June 21, 2007Publication Date: June 04, 2007

Assessing Federalism: ANF and the Recent Evolution of American Social Policy Federalism (Research Report)
Pamela Winston, Rosa Maria Castaneda

This paper builds on a series of ANF publications that explored various aspects of social policy federalism since 1996. It explores what ANF's work can tell us about the evolution of federalism within five major social programs during the nine years between 1997 and 2006, focusing on lessons about federal-state relationships. It addresses Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamps, Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and child welfare. The paper is the result of a review and synthesis of over 65 publications addressing state and federal financing and/or programmatic arrangements in the major program areas, informed by interviews with experts who participated in ANF research.

Posted to Web: June 04, 2007Publication Date: May 01, 2007

N.Y. Gov Eliot Spitzer Taps the Urban Institute's Olivia Golden To Be His Director of Operations (Press Release)
Urban Institute

Urban Institute senior fellow Olivia Golden has been named state director of operations by New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Golden will oversee 80 state agencies.

Posted to Web: January 11, 2007Publication Date: January 11, 2007

Measuring Fiscal Disparities across the U.S. States (Occasional Paper)
Yesim Yilmaz, Sonya Hoo, Matthew Nagowski, Kim Rueben, Robert Tannenwald

States and their local governments vary both in their needs to provide basic public services, and in their abilities to raise revenues to pay for those services. This study uses the Representative Revenue System (RRS) and the Representative Expenditure System (RES) frameworks to quantify these disparities across states by comparing each state's revenue capacity, revenue effort, and necessary expenditures to the average capacity, effort, and need in states across the country.

Posted to Web: November 29, 2006Publication Date: November 29, 2006

Analyzing Recent State Tax Policy Choices Affecting Low-Income Working Families (Series/Perspectives on Low-Income Working Families)
Elaine Maag

Owing to balanced budget requirements, states often raise taxes during recessions. Unless carefully crafted, these tax hikes can fall on low-income working families--the same families likely to be subject to concurrent budget cuts. During the recession that started in 2001, states utilized several tools to balance budgets including tapping rainy day funds, borrowing, increasing taxes, and cutting spending. In many cases, low-income families were shielded from tax increases by increasing or creating state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs). This policy brief details state tax changes affecting low-income families between 2002 and 2006.

Posted to Web: November 15, 2006Publication Date: November 15, 2006

Immigration and Child and Family Policy (Research Report)
Randolph Capps, Karina Fortuny

The current great wave of immigration has led to a rapid rise in the share of U.S. children with immigrant parents, from 6 percent in 1970 to over 20 percent today. Three quarters of these children are Latino or Asian, and they are disproportionately low-income despite the high work effort of their parents. This report assesses how the changing demographics of the low-income child population are affecting child and family policies, drawing on findings from more than a dozen Assessing the New Federalism studies. Patterns and trends in child poverty, economic hardship, receipt of public benefits, health insurance coverage, and child care arrangements are discussed. The report includes recommendations for improving access to needed benefits and services for immigrants' children, and also discusses the implications of various immigration reform proposals pending in the U.S. Congress for their well being.

Posted to Web: September 14, 2006Publication Date: September 14, 2006

The Changing Role of Welfare in the Lives of Low-Income Families with Children (Occasional Paper)
Pamela J. Loprest, Sheila R. Zedlewski

This study uses data from the National Survey of America's Families 1997, 1999, and 2002, to summarize what we have learned about families potentially affected by welfare reforms passed in 1996. We describe outcomes for low-income families currently on welfare, families that recently left welfare, and those that have never received welfare. Changes in welfare policy, the economy and broader societal trends potentially affected all three groups. Our results show important differences in the relative well-being of these three groups over time, including changes in employment, poverty, and the share of families disconnected from either cash government assistance or work.

Posted to Web: August 30, 2006Publication Date: August 30, 2006

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