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Assets and the poor: New American welfare policy

Individual Author: 
Sherraden, Michael
Gilbert, Neil

This work proposes a new approach to welfare: a social policy that goes beyond simple income maintenance to foster individual initiative and self-sufficiency. It argues for an asset-based policy that would create a system of saving incentives through individual development accounts (IDAs) for specific purposes, such as college education, homeownership, self-employment and retirement security. In this way, low-income Americans could gain the same opportunities that middle- and upper-income citizens have to plan ahead, set aside savings and invest in a more secure future.

Descriptions of loss and resilience among fathers paying child support

Individual Author: 
Natalier, Kristin A.

In this paper, I present qualitative data on the ways in which 28 fathers contextualise their payment of child support in their relationships with their ex-partners, children and the Child Support Agency (CSA). Fathers described their experience in terms of either loss or resilience. Those in the loss category positioned themselves as victims of their ex-partner's use of the CSA. They understood their child support obligations as illustrative of broader processes of silencing and disempowerment, whereby their identities and practices as fathers were ignored.

Creating a culture of vocabulary acquisition for children living in poverty

Individual Author: 
Sinatra, Richard

This paper presents a compelling case for early and sustained vocabulary development for children reared in poverty. Research findings indicate that vocabulary knowledge is a critical factor in literacy and academic success for low-income children from preschool to higher levels of schooling. Vocabulary proficiency is strongly related to language and reading understanding and to success in academic subjects, particularly when topics are presented with semantically laden words related to conceptual knowledge.

The effect of paternal incarceration on early child behavioral problems: A racial comparison

Individual Author: 
Craigie, Terry-Ann

This study uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine how the effect of a father's incarceration on the behavioral problems of preschool-age children differs by race/ethnicity. The model examines both internalizing behaviors as characterized by anxiety and depression as well as externalizing behaviors as characterized by aggression and violence. The study finds that paternal incarceration exacerbates externalizing behavioral problems in children regardless of gender and particularly for Blacks and Hispanics.

Flawed policy assumptions and HOPE VI

Individual Author: 
Laakso, Janice

The policy assumption that it is necessary to place middle-income families into lower-income neighborhoods to disrupt a culture of poverty is deeply flawed. To demonstrate this flaw, a HOPE VI redevelopment project located in the Northwest is profiled. Collective efficacy, which includes social capital, social networks and social control, and self-sufficiency, existed in this multiethnic public housing before HOPE VI. The findings demonstrate that these families experienced a sense of place and a strong work ethic with similar societal values as other income groups in this society.

Child care selection under welfare reform: How mothers balance work requirements and parenting

Individual Author: 
Mensing, James F.
French, Desiree
Fuller, Bruce
Kagan, Sharon Lynn

This paper examines the reasoning and experiences of mothers in selecting child care while trying to meet welfare-to-work requirements. Three theoretical positions that have been used to look at child care selection -rational choice, structuralist, and cultural - are examined and critiqued in light of a structural developmental psychology perspective. The paper then reports on semi-structured, open-ended interviews with seven mothers from three different ethnic groups—African- American, Anglo, and Latina—who range in age from 21 to 42.

Works in progress: Searching for solutions to the difficult problems of homelessness

Individual Author: 
Chernega, Jennifer
George, Christine C.

Our interest in editing this special issue stemmed from our experiences researching homelessness alleviation projects in Chicago including the Chicago Housing for Health Partnership (CHHP) and Chicago’s city-wide Plan to End Homelessness. CHHP provided homeless individuals with a quick path to permanent, supportive housing upon release from a hospital for chronic physical illness. With an experimental design, it followed those provided with the housing and compared their outcomes to those provided with “usual care”—a referral to a shelter.

Individual predictors of community costs before and after Housing First

Individual Author: 
West, Stacia
Patterson, David
Mastronardi, Alicia
Brown, Kathleen
Sturm, Roberta

Using bivariate and multivariate models, the authors find that individual characteristics are associated with community costs accrued by a sample of individuals who were homeless for one year and then housed for one year (N = 41). Higher pre-Housing First total costs are associated with male gender and those with physical health conditions or physical and mental health conditions combined; post-Housing First, age and disability status dissipate as predictors of total costs.

Parole reentry and social capital: The centrality of homelessness

Individual Author: 
Walker, Alexandra
Hempel, Lynn
Unnithan, N. Prabha
Pogrebin, Mark R.

Why are some parolees more successful in reentering society compared to others? Using a social capital theoretical perspective, we explore the central role housing plays in reentry. Seventy-three semistructured personal interviews were conducted with parolees reentering the community. The authors compared and contrasted the experiences of individuals who were released to secure housing with those who were homeless. Having access to housing facilitates successful reentry by enabling the acquisition, accumulation, and deployment of social capital among ex-offenders.

Beyond renting and owning: The housing accommodations of low-income families

Individual Author: 
Skobba, Kim
Bruin, Marilyn J.
Yust, Becky L.

This mixed-methods study used structured, in-depth interviews to collect data that was analyzed quantitatively as well as qualitatively to explore the long-term housing patterns experienced by low-income families and the ways in which vouchers affect these patterns. Using a life-course theoretical framework and an event history approach, information on past housing, employment, and life circumstances was collected from 30 participants, 17 who had a voucher and 13 on the waiting list to receive one.