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Urban Institute

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Relief from government-owed child support debt and its effects on parents and children

Individual Author: 
Hahn, Heather
Kuehn, Daniel
Hassani, Hannah
Edin, Kathryn

This report was updated on August 28, 2019. On page vi, the share of child support payments in California that is owed to the government was changed from 70 percent to 40 percent to reflect the most recent data. On page 2, “In San Francisco” was changed to “According to the San Francisco Department of Child Support Services” to clarify the source of the percentage in the first paragraph. (author abstract)

The intersection of low-wage work and public assistance: Workers’ experiences in Minnesota

Individual Author: 
Coffey, Amelia
Hahn, Heather
Park, Yuju

This is a qualitative study of low-wage workers in two Minnesota communities who recently experienced either voluntary or involuntary job separation. The study confronts a false dichotomy that people are either working or on public assistance. The study analyzes workers’ experiences in low-wage, unstable jobs, reasons for separating from jobs, and the roles public assistance and other supports play in their lives. The study offers key insights from workers themselves on how jobs and assistance programs may be improved to help them achieve greater stability and economic security.

Wellness check: Food insecurity among families with infants and toddlers

Individual Author: 
Waxman, Elaine
Joo, Nathan
Pyati, Archana

Food insecurity, defined as limited or uncertain access to nutritious food because of a lack of resources, is a significant risk for many families with infants and toddlers. Early childhood is a critical period for a child’s physical growth and cognitive development, as well as a time when child-related expenses may be high.

Wellness check: Financial instability among families with infants and toddlers

Individual Author: 
Ratcliffe, Caroline
Pyati, Archana

Families with infants and toddlers face significant, ongoing child-related expenses, such as daycare, diapers, and formula, that can strain household budgets. Couple these with unexpected shocks, such as a medical bill for a sick child or lost wages from caring for a sick child (i.e., no paid leave) and a lack of emergency savings, and it’s easy to see how families with young children—even against a backdrop of low unemployment and an improving economy—struggle with financial instability.

Proposed changes to the poverty line would reduce SNAP participation over time

Individual Author: 
Acs, Gregory
Wheaton, Laura

The current administration has proposed changing the way we measure inflation when setting the federal poverty thresholds because it believes that the current measure, the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U), overstates inflation. An alternative measure the administration is considering and seeking public input on is the Chained Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers, commonly known as “chained CPI.”

Wellness check: Material hardship and psychological distress among families with infants and toddlers

Individual Author: 
Sandstrom, Heather
Adams, Gina
Pyati, Archana

Families raising infants and toddlers experience singular joys—and unique challenges. Against a backdrop of an improving economy, many new parents struggle to pay for basic expenses, find affordable child care, and balance work with family responsibilities.

In this fact sheet, we explore the extent to which families of young children experience material hardship and psychological distress using a unique data source, the Urban Institute’s Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey.

What would help DC residents have greater financial security?

Individual Author: 
Elliott, Diana
Quakenbush, Caleb

Washington, DC, is a city of contrasts with respect to residents’ financial security. While some residents are among the country’s most financially secure, others find it hard to make ends meet. High housing costs, unequal opportunity, and economically segregated neighborhoods make it challenging for some residents to feel financially secure and to weather unexpected expenses and emergencies.

Reducing child poverty in the US: An updated analysis of policies proposed by the Children’s Defense Fund

Individual Author: 
Minton, Sarah
Giannarelli, Linda
Werner, Kevin
Tran, Victoria

This report examines the potential impacts of a set of antipoverty policies proposed by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). This work builds on a previous analysis completed for CDF (Giannarelli et al. 2015); additional details on that study are provided in appendix D of this report. The policies assessed for the current analysis include a minimum wage increase, a transitional jobs (TJ) program, expanded tax credits, increased availability of housing and child care subsidies, increased nutrition benefits, and changes to how benefit programs treat families’ child support income.

Expanding the EITC for workers without resident children

Individual Author: 
Maag, Elaine
Werner, Kevin
Wheaton, Laura

The federal earned income tax credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit that provides substantial benefits to low-income working families with children at home but little to those without resident children. But families without resident children also struggle, including noncustodial parents, who are often considered “childless” for tax purposes. We model a plan that would increase the maximum childless EITC to almost half the size of the maximum EITC for one-child families and that would begin to phase the childless EITC out at the same income level used for families with children.

Bridges to education and employment for justice-involved youth

Individual Author: 
Cramer, Lindsey
Lynch, Mathew
Goff, Margaret
Esthappan, Sino
Reginal, Travis
Leitson, David

This report documents evaluation findings of NYC Justice Corps, a workforce readiness and recidivism reduction program for justice-involved youth, and describes the strengths and challenges as perceived by program staff, participants, and stakeholders. The evaluation highlights what Justice Corps providers—and similar programs—might learn as they work to integrate the goals of education, employment, and cognitive and psychosocial development into program services and activities for justice-involved youth.