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Urban Institute

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Work requirements in social safety net programs: A status report of work requirements in TANF, SNAP, housing assistance, and Medicaid

Individual Author: 
Hahn, Heather
Levy, Diane K.
Pratt, Eleanor
Waxman, Elaine
Allen, Eva H.
Kenney, Genevieve M.

This report presents information on the work requirements currently in use in TANF, SNAP, and federal housing assistance programs and discusses the available evidence on implementation experiences and impacts. It also describes Medicaid waiver requests currently under consideration at CMS that would include work requirements and closes by highlighting key questions for consideration when assessing the use of work requirements in safety net programs.

Access to contraception in 2016 and what it means to women

Individual Author: 
Johnston, Emily M.
Courtot, Brigette
Kenney, Genevieve M.

Understanding women’s access to contraception in 2016 is particularly important given the uncertainty of policies affecting access to reproductive health services in the future. This brief provides estimates of self-reported access to contraception among women at risk of unintended pregnancy and perceptions of the role of birth control in women’s lives. Most women are using contraception, the full cost of which is usually covered by health insurance or another program. Yet, some women report barriers to contraception access, many of which are related to cost.

Opportunity Works implementation report: Lessons from the Back on Track model for opportunity youth

Individual Author: 
Anderson, Theresa
Dodkowitz, Alan
Braga, Breno
Damron, Neil
Derrick-Mills, Teresa
Lipman, Micaela
Martin-Caughey, Ananda
Peters, H. Elizabeth
Pratt, Eleanor
Winkler, Mary K.

The Opportunity Works intervention replicates and scales up the Back on Track framework to help opportunity youth—young people ages 16 to 24 not in school and not meaningfully employed—progress along educational pathways. Managed by Jobs for the Future and funded by the Social Innovation Fund, Opportunity Works operates in Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco, Santa Clara County, and South King County. This report contains final implementation findings from the Urban Institute.

Welfare rules databook: State TANF policies as of July 2016

Individual Author: 
Giannarelli, Linda
Heffernan, Christine
Minton, Sarah
Thompson, Megan
Stevens, Kathryn

This annual publication, The Welfare Rules Databook, provides tables containing key Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) policies for each state as of July 2016, as well as longitudinal tables describing various state policies for selected years between 1996 and 2016. The tables are based on the information in the Welfare Rules Database (WRD), a publicly available, online database.

Strategies for reducing criminal and juvenile justice involvement: Building ladders of opportunity for young people in the Great Lakes states, brief 4

Individual Author: 
Jannetta, Jesse
Okeke, Cameron

Crime, victimization, and justice system responses greatly affect the life prospects of the most vulnerable Great Lakes youth, restricting their access to ladders of opportunity. This brief describes how crime and justice involvement impact youth development and opportunity generally, and explores the specific crime and justice intervention context in the Great Lakes states.

Pretesting a human trafficking screening tool in the child welfare and runaway and homeless youth systems

Individual Author: 
Dank, Meredith
Yahner, Jennifer
Yu, Lilly
Vasquez-Noriega, Carla
Gelatt, Julia
Pergamit, Michael

This report summarizes findings from a study to develop and pre-test a human trafficking screening tool with 617 youth in runaway and homeless youth (RHY) and child welfare (CW) settings. The tool was found to be accessible, easy to administer, and effective in identifying trafficked youth in these settings, though additional research is needed. (Author summary)

Geographic patterns in disability insurance receipt: Mental disorders in New England

Individual Author: 
Schwabish, Jonathan

This brief examines correlates of DI benefit receipt for people with mental disorders, focusing on the higher rate of receipt in the six New England states. In 2015, 1.8 percent of all 18- to 65-year-olds across the country received DI benefits because of mental disorders. That recipiency rate was markedly higher in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The evidence suggests that access to and treatment from the health care system (which tend to be better in New England states) may help people identify their illnesses and contact the DI program and other services.

Educational differences in employment at older ages

Individual Author: 
Johnson, Richard W.
Wang, Claire Xiaozhi

Working longer can significantly benefit older adults, improving their financial security and possibly their physical and emotional health. Older adults have been working more over the past two decades, but employment gains after age 65 have been concentrated among college graduates. Early retirement will likely create growing financial challenges for less-educated older adults, who risk falling further behind their better-educated peers.

Strategies to meet the child care needs of low-income parents seeking education and training: Executive summary

Individual Author: 
Adams, Gina
Derrick-Mills, Teresa
Heller, Caroline

Child care can be an insurmountable barrier for low-income parents seeking education and training so they can get better jobs to support their families. Helping families with child care can also be challenging for programs trying to help these parents get ahead. Despite funding and policy barriers, there are programs that have taken on this challenge.

Homelessness is a solvable problem

Individual Author: 
Cunningham, Mary K.
Gillespie, Sarah
Tilsley, Alexandra

On any given night, nearly 550,000 people—parents, kids, veterans—are homeless.

These numbers, though staggering, represent a drop from 2010, when the US Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released Opening Doors, a federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness by the end of 2020.

Ending homelessness doesn’t mean that no one is ever homeless again. It means that homelessness is rare and short because communities have systems to immediately re-house someone who becomes homeless.