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View Research by Author - Marla McDaniel

Marla McDaniel

Senior Research Associate
Center on Labor, Human Services and Population

Marla McDaniel's research focuses on family resources, social policies, race, and their influence on child and adult health and well-being. Prior to joining the Urban Institute, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Columbia University School of Social Work. She received her doctorate in human development and social policy from Northwestern University.


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Supportive Housing for High-Need Families in the Child Welfare System (Research Report)
Mary K. Cunningham, Mike Pergamit, Marla McDaniel, Maeve Gearing, Simone Zhang, Brent Howell

Supportive Housing is an intervention that combines affordable housing with intensive wrap around services. The intervention has been successful with hard to serve populations, such as chronically homeless adults. Communities are testing the efficacy of supportive housing with high-need child welfare families to learn if providing supportive housing helps improve outcomes for children and families, spend taxpayer dollars more wisely, and lead to long-lasting systems change and service integration. The Partnership to Demonstrate the Effectiveness of Supportive Housing for Families in the Child Welfare System is a federal demonstration investigating these important questions. This brief describes the purpose and design of the demonstration and profiles the five program sites.

Posted to Web: November 12, 2014Publication Date: November 13, 2014

Designing a Home Visiting Framework for Families in Public and Mixed-Income Communities (Research Report)
Marla McDaniel, Caroline Heller, Gina Adams, Susan J. Popkin

Though young children in public and mixed-income housing are exposed to some of the deepest poverty and developmental and educational risks in the United States, they are usually out of reach of many interventions that might help. Home visiting programs hold promise for helping vulnerable families, but most are not designed to fully address the needs of public and mixed-income housing residents. This brief describes important issues that program planners and early childhood leaders should consider when designing appropriate and responsive home visiting programs that reach young children in these communities.

Posted to Web: October 30, 2014Publication Date: October 30, 2014

Making Sense of Childhood Asthma: Lessons for Building a Better System of Care (Research Report)
Marla McDaniel, Susan J. Popkin, Judy Berman, Paola Barahona, Priya Saxena, Deborah Quint, Stephen J. Teach

This report highlights findings from a qualitative study about asthma care for low-income African American and Latino children ages 4-14 in Washington, DC, where nearly one in five children under age 18 has the condition. We interviewed medical providers, health administrators, policy makers and caregivers whose children had visited the IMPACT DC clinic (located in the emergency department of Children’s National Health System) about the primary barriers, challenges, and opportunities for improving asthma treatment in DC. The stakeholders each felt their school, clinic, agency, or department had a role to play in improving asthma care, and that many challenges were system-related. Three major areas where caregivers and stakeholders described system breakdowns were poor communication among caregivers, providers, and other stakeholders; inadequate access to both the quality and quantity of care needed to manage a child's asthma; and scarce long-term support to address both the social-emotional and financial burdens created by managing a chronic childhood illness.

Posted to Web: April 16, 2014Publication Date: April 16, 2014

Education and Employment of Disconnected Low-Income Men (Research Brief)
Margaret Simms, Karina Fortuny, Marla McDaniel, William Monson

This brief explores the education and employment outcomes of disconnected low-income men in 2008–10. These men have lower education levels than higher-income men. Among low-income men, Hispanics are less likely than African Americans and whites to complete high school. Low-income men are more likely to be unemployed and underemployed; African Americans are the most likely to be unemployed. Education and employment rates for low-income men vary considerably by metropolitan area.

Posted to Web: January 08, 2014Publication Date: January 08, 2014

Summary of an Urban Ethnographers' Symposium on Low-Income Men (Research Brief)
Margaret Simms, Marla McDaniel, William Monson

The Urban Institute, with funding from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, US Department of Health and Human Services, convened a symposium to explore the state of knowledge on disconnected low-income men and promising strategies for improving their well-being, focusing particularly on men of color. The participants included ethnographers and other qualitative researchers, social service providers, foundation program officers, and federal government staff. The candid insights offered enriched understanding of the complex problems faced by low-income men, the programs currently serving their needs, and some of the issues about which more study is needed.

Posted to Web: January 08, 2014Publication Date: January 08, 2014

Imprisonment and Disenfranchisement of Disconnected Low-Income Men (Research Brief)
Marla McDaniel, Margaret Simms, William Monson, Karina Fortuny

Incarceration rates have risen over time and vary by race and ethnicity, reflecting changes in federal and state crime policies over the past few decades. In 2011, African American men were six times more likely and Hispanics nearly two and half times more likely to be imprisoned than white men. This brief summarizes some of the disparate impacts these policies have had on African American and Hispanic men and the consequences for their families and communities.

Posted to Web: January 08, 2014Publication Date: January 08, 2014

Low-Income Men at the Margins: Caught at the Intersection of Race, Place and Poverty (Research Report)
Margaret Simms, Marla McDaniel, William Monson, Karina Fortuny

A large number of US men of prime working age are neither gainfully employed nor pursuing education or other training, suggesting a potentially significant disconnection from mainstream economic and social life. This paper concentrates on the experiences and challenges of men at the margins between the ages of 18 and 44, when most American males are engaged in such activities as working and building skills, forming and strengthening families, and linking to social institutions. The review focuses on their experiences in five domains: education, employment, family, criminal justice, and health, featuring key themes from ethnographic and other qualitative research.

Posted to Web: January 08, 2014Publication Date: January 08, 2014

The Health of Disconnected Low-Income Men (Research Brief)
Margaret Simms, Marla McDaniel, William Monson, Karina Fortuny

This brief examines the health insurance coverage and health status of disconnected low-income men from 2008 to 2010, focusing primarily on men’s connections to health care providers and systems. Less than half of low-income men age 18–44 in the United States have any insurance coverage; coverage rates vary significantly by state, citizenship, ethnicity, and education. Compared with higher-income men the same age, low-income men also have lower access to routine health care and have worse health outcomes.

Posted to Web: January 08, 2014Publication Date: January 08, 2014

A Demographic Snapshot of Disconnected Low-Income Men (Research Brief)
Marla McDaniel, Margaret Simms, Karina Fortuny, William Monson

In 2008-10, 16.5 million civilian men nationwide age 18-44 lived in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level; 15 million of these men lacked college degrees. Low-income men are more likely to have never married than men the same age nationwide, and they are disproportionately African American or Hispanic. Using data from the American Community Survey, this brief presents estimates of the number of low-income men in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, focusing on metropolitan areas with at least 50,000 low-income men.

Posted to Web: January 08, 2014Publication Date: January 08, 2014

HOST: Can Public Housing be a Platform for Change? (Series/HOST)
Susan J. Popkin, Marla McDaniel

Building on research in distressed public housing communities, we argue for a new approach to addressing the worst consequences of concentrated poverty and helping families move toward self-sufficiency. We introduce the Housing Opportunities and Services Together (HOST) demonstration, a two-generation, whole family service model that uses public and mixed-income housing as a platform for intensive, wraparound services. We describe how HOST encapsulates lessons learned from studying federal housing policies, challenges that make reversing chronic disadvantage so difficult, and our theoretical framework for fostering change. We outline HOST's research design in four sites: Chicago, New York, Portland, and Washington, D.C.

Posted to Web: December 03, 2013Publication Date: November 20, 2013

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