The child care subsidy system supports both parents' ability to work and children's healthy development by helping parents with low incomes pay for child care so they can work or go to school or training. Yet many questions remain about equity in the subsidy system: To what extent does it consider inequities that Black and Latino families and immigrant families can face because of structural racism? Specifically, do subsidy policies and practices ensure that families facing barriers rooted in structural racism can access child care subsidies?
Children and Youth
To date, little is known about how employment programs for young people with histories of foster care operate and whether they are effective in promoting positive employment outcomes. A key finding from the Multi-Site Evaluation of Foster Youth Programs is that many programs serving Chafee-eligible young people are not ready for rigorous evaluation because they lack a clearly articulated logic model or are not implemented as intended. This study fills a knowledge gap using formative evaluation to illustrate what is needed for programs to be ready for successful rigorous impact evaluation.
Children develop fastest in their earliest years, and the skills and abilities they develop in those years help lay the foundation for future success. Early negative experiences can contribute to poor social, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, and health outcomes both in early childhood and in later life. One approach that has helped parents and their young children is home visiting, which provides individually tailored support, resources, and information to expectant parents and families with young children.
In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic struck the United States. Every part of America has been affected while its existing inequities have been both highlighted and worsened. Without minimizing the damage this pandemic has inflicted on many families, this brief from MDRC, the Alliance for Excellent Education, and the Education Trust reminds educational leaders that many students have also grown tremendously from the events they have experienced.
Youth often experience unique pathways into homelessness, such as family conflict, child abuse and neglect. Most research has focused on adult homeless populations, yet youth have specific needs that require adapted interventions. This review aims to synthesize evidence on interventions for youth and assess their impacts on health, social, and equity outcomes.
Low-income women’s rates of employment have grown dramatically in recent years, yet the stability and quality of their employment remain low. Using panel data from the Three-City Study following 1,586 low-income African American, Latina, and European American women, this study assessed associations between women’s employment quality (wages; receipt of health insurance) and stability (work consistency; job transitions) and their financial, personal, and family well-being.
Rising rates of nonmarital childbirth in the United States have resulted in a new family type, the fragile family. Such families, which include cohabiting couples as well as single mothers, experience significantly higher rates of poverty and material hardship than their married counterparts. Ariel Kalil and Rebecca Ryan summarize the economic challenges facing mothers in fragile families and describe the resources, both public and private, that help them meet these challenges.
Economic instability has increased in recent decades and is higher for families with low incomes and Black families. Such instability is thought to be driven primarily by precarious work and unstable family structure. In addition, the social safety net has become less of a stabilizing force for low-income families, in part because benefits are often tied to employment and earnings.
This synthesis brief builds on five separate briefs examining key safety net programs and explores the extent to which key federal safety net programs help meet young people’s basic needs for housing, food, health care, and income during this transitional life stage. It presents findings from an initial exploration of issues relevant to young people, based on a quick review of literature and conversations with safety net and youth policy experts as well as youth-serving practitioners. (author abstract)