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Assessing the New Federalism--Eight Years Later

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Document date: April 22, 2005
Released online: April 22, 2005

The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

Note: This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).

The text below is a portion of the complete document.


Introduction

Since 1996, the Assessing the New Federalism (ANF) project of the Urban Institute and its partner Child Trends has analyzed the experiences of low-income families and children during major shifts in the nation's social welfare policies. Concentrating on welfare, employment, and health insurance, ANF research has also examined child welfare, immigrant families, and such policies as child care that help families integrate work with child rearing.

Assessing the New Federalism: Eight Years Later synthesizes selected findings from more than 450 ANF publications plus dozens of journal articles, book chapters, and research presentations. These findings illustrate dramatic changes in the experience of low-income families, those who have been on welfare and those who haven't, from the mid-1990s to the present. This report also cites the ANF publications that provide more detail and includes an annotated source list of other institutions and work in the field that complement what ANF has done.

We chose this moment—early 2005—to compile our key insights for several reasons. First, after eight years, ANF's research spans a whole economic cycle, providing rich information about state and federal choices and family experiences in good times followed by tighter times. Second, many of the issues that prompted the creation of the ANF project—for example, the shifting balance of state and federal policy responsibility and funding for welfare, Medicaid, and child welfare—remain on the national agenda. Burgeoning federal deficits, state revenue shortfalls, and demographic changes have spurred renewed and more urgent debate on other ANF issues. For example, state legislatures and state and federal policymakers are considering policy responses to the increased number of low-income children whose parents are immigrants, debating the role of child care in parents' work lives and children's development, seeking to influence marriage and family structure in ways that will support children's development, and making budget trade-offs that affect the availability of public supports to low-income working parents.

Note: This report is available in its entirety in the Portable Document Format (PDF).



Topics/Tags: | Children and Youth | Families and Parenting | Health/Healthcare | Immigrants | Poverty, Assets and Safety Net


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