Care and Connections: Bridging Relational Gaps for Foster Youths

Care and Connections: Bridging Relational Gaps for Foster Youths. Brookings Institution. Ramona Denby-Brinson, Efren Gomez, and Richard V. Reeves. September 14, 2017

In the United States, more than 20,000 youths “age out” of foster care each year. But leaving foster care presents its own challenges. Only 55 percent of former foster youths report having a high school diploma or GED by the time they’re 19, compared with 87 percent of their peers in the population sample.

Significant efforts are made by policymakers at all levels to improve educational, social and economic outcomes for this at-risk group, with mixed results.

One way to help improve the outcomes of foster youths may be to focus on relationship-building skills. Research suggests that healthy and supportive relationships improve life chances for foster youth. But so far there have been relatively few attempts to build insights into these programs and practice.

In “Care and connections: Bridging relational gaps for foster youths” (PDF), Ramona Denby-Brinson, Efren Gomez, and Richard V. Reeves explore the steep challenges of implementing and evaluating relationship-based interventions in child welfare. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 23 pages, 741.48 KB].

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Social Security: The Trust Funds

Social Security: The Trust Funds. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. William R. Morton, Wayne Liou. September 12, 2017

The Social Security program pays monthly cash benefits to retired or disabled workers and their family members and to the family members of deceased workers. Program income and outgo are accounted for in two separate trust funds authorized under Title II of the Social Security Act: the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. Projections show that the OASI fund will remain solvent until 2035, whereas the DI fund will remain solvent until 2028, meaning that each trust fund can pay benefits scheduled under current law in full and on time up to that point. Following the depletion of trust fund reserves (2028 for DI and 2035 for OASI), continuing income to each fund is projected to cover 93% of DI scheduled benefits and 75% of OASI scheduled benefits. The two trust funds are legally distinct and do not have authority to borrow from each other. However, Congress has authorized the shifting of funds between OASI and DI in the past to address shortfalls in a particular fund. Therefore, this CRS report discusses the operations of the OASI and DI trust funds on a combined basis, referring to them collectively as the Social Security trust funds. On a combined basis, the trust funds are projected to remain solvent until 2034. Following depletion of combined trust fund reserves at that point, continuing income is projected to cover 77% of scheduled benefits.

[PDF format, 21 pages, 863.81 KB].

Ending Family Homelessness: An Opportunity for Pay-for-Success Financing

Ending Family Homelessness: An Opportunity for Pay-for-Success Financing. Urban Institute. Maya Brennan et al. August 15, 2017.

In the United States, approximately 150,000 families with 330,000 children stay in a homeless shelter each year. Millions more are housing insecure and at risk of homelessness. The family homelessness problem in the United States is large but solvable, and solutions are known to have broader benefits for children’s well-being, quality of life, and long-term life outcomes. Solutions to family homelessness may even yield net cost savings to governments. Yet the problem persists for two main reasons: political will and artificial budget divisions. State and local governments can use the pay-for-success model to finance public services to help overcome these hurdles. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 21 pages, 286.75 KB].

Summer Learning in Pittsburgh: Exploring Programming Gaps and Opportunities

Summer Learning in Pittsburgh: Exploring Programming Gaps and Opportunities. RAND Corporation. Catherine H. Augustine, Lindsey E. Thompson. September 6, 2017

This report investigates summer program opportunities in Pittsburgh, focusing on free or low-cost programs that provide academic instruction for at least five weeks during the summer. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 16 pages, 1.86 MB].

Who is out of the labor force?

Who is out of the labor force? Brookings Institution. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach et al. August 17, 2017

U.S. labor force participation rate, or the fraction of adults who are either employed or are searching for work, has fallen steadily since 1999. This is a trend that many economists find troubling, as the labor force participation rate is an indicator of household living standards and economic vitality. In 2016, over one-third (37.2 percent) of adults in the United States—including nearly one-fifth (18.7 percent) of prime working age adults (between 25 and 54 years old)—were not in the workforce. The large number of adults who are not in the labor force is a puzzle that cannot be fully accounted for by factors like baby boomers aging out of the workforce, women engaged in caregiving, or recent college graduates delaying the responsibilities of adulthood. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 11 pages, 1.08 MB].

As Cities Grow Worldwide, So Do the Numbers of Homeless

As Cities Grow Worldwide, So Do the Numbers of Homeless. YaleGlobal. Joseph Chamie. July 13, 2017

Homelessness is a mark of failure for communities in providing basic security. Based on national reports, about 2 percent of the world’s population may be homeless. Another 20 percent lacks adequate housing, reports demographer Joseph Chamie. Such statistics come with a caveat. Obtaining accurate numbers is difficult, mostly due to wild variations in definitions around the globe. Also, measuring homelessness is costly: Cities may under-count due to embarrassment while individuals avoid officials due to shame and fear of arrest and harassment. Reasons for homelessness include “shortages of affordable housing, privatization of civic services, investment speculation in housing, unplanned and rapid urbanization, as well as poverty, unemployment and family breakdown,” Chamie explains. “Also contributing is a lack of services and facilities for those suffering from mental illness, alcoholism or substance abuse and displacement caused by conflicts, natural disasters and government housing policies.” Even people with jobs can struggle to keep homes. As experts debate whether the issue can be resolved or not, some governments offer support programs while others do what they can to chase the homeless off to other locales. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[HTML format, various paging].

Educational Differences in Employment at Older Ages

Educational Differences in Employment at Older Ages. Urban Institute. Richard W. Johnson, Claire Xiaozhi Wang. July 24, 2017

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. This chartbook shows how trends in various outcomes, including labor force participation, full-time employment, self-employment, and earnings, differ by education, age, and sex for older adults. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 76 pages, 1.02 MB].