Strategies to Meet the Needs of Young Parent Families: Highlights from Interviews with 14 Programs

Strategies to Meet the Needs of Young Parent Families: Highlights from Interviews with 14 Programs. Urban Institute. Alan D. Dodkowitz, Yuju Park, Shayne Spaulding. September 18, 2018

 In 2013, there were nearly 4.6 million young parents between the ages of 18 and 24 in the United States, with approximately 80 percent (3.6 million) living with at least one of their children. These young parents face a host of challenges, ranging from difficulties accessing child care, higher rates of public benefit receipt, and troubles obtaining positive educational and employment outcomes. Despite these issues, there is no overarching strategy to improve the outcomes for young parents. The Urban Institute interviewed 14 different young parent providers across the nation serving a variety of subpopulations, to understand what strategies they used to serve this population. This paper provides an overview of the strategies used to serve young parents, including methods of providing improved education and employment services, connections to support services, and parenting workshops. This paper also highlights the perspectives of service providers on what approaches are needed to serve this population, as well as their views on the many challenges young parents face. This research highlights different methods of improving young outcomes for this population, implications for policy, and where further research should focus. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 30 pages].

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Increasing Access to Quality Child Care for Four Priority Populations

Increasing Access to Quality Child Care for Four Priority Populations. Urban Institute. Julia R Henly, Gina Adams. October 9, 2018

 In recent decades, policymakers have increasingly focused on the importance of high-quality child care and early education services in supporting the development of low-income children. Though high-quality early care and education (ECE) can exist in any setting—including child care centers and home-based licensed and license-exempt settings—the emphasis on high-quality ECE services often translates into a singular focus on investing public funds in formal settings, especially center-based programs.

This report explores the implications of this trend in the context of the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). It focuses on four priority populations: families with parents working nontraditional schedules, families with infants and toddlers, families living in rural areas, and families with children with disabilities and special needs. The center-based market is ill prepared to meet the needs of these four populations, yet together they make up a majority of low-income children with working parents and are a priority for the CCDBG.

The report provides data on the number of low-income children in each state who fall into these categories (except families with children who have special needs) and the proportion of those receiving subsidies who are cared for in child care centers. It also discusses the barriers to care for these populations, lays out state policy strategies to increase access to high-quality care across the full range of settings for these children, and highlights key gaps in our knowledge as to how to best support access to quality for these families. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 82 pages].

How Should Social Security Adjust When People Live Longer?

How Should Social Security Adjust When People Live Longer? Urban Institute. C. Eugene Steuerle, Damir Cosic. August 20, 2018

 As people live longer, they spend more time in retirement, straining Social Security’s finances. This brief outlines the implications of three approaches to adjusting Social Security for longer lives: making no adjustment, which has applied over most of Social Security’s history; keeping constant the expected number of retirement years; and keeping constant the relative share of life in retirement. Compared to age 65 retirement in 1940, people under each rule would retire in 2100 at age 65, 79, and 76, respectively. The brief also shows how these calculations can be done under different assumptions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 6 pages].

The Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey: A New Data Source for Monitoring the Health and Well-Being of Individuals and Families

The Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey: A New Data Source for Monitoring the Health and Well-Being of Individuals and Families. Urban Institute. Michael Karpman, Stephen Zuckerman, Dulce Gonzalez. August 28, 2018

 In December 2017, the Urban Institute launched the Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS) to monitor changes in individual and family health and well-being at a time when policymakers seek significant changes to programs that help low-income families pay for food, health care, housing, and other basic needs. The new annual survey is a key component of the Institute’s From Safety Net to Solid Ground project supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other foundations.

This report describes the design and content of the WBNS. To assess the capacity of the WBNS to produce nationally representative estimates for the nonelderly adult population, we also report findings from a benchmarking analysis in which we compare estimates from the WBNS with estimates from established federal surveys. We find that, despite some discrepancies, most indicators based on data from the WBNS are reasonably consistent with measures from larger federal surveys, suggesting the WBNS data will serve as a credible source of information for analyses of health and well-being within the Safety Net to Solid Ground project. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 23 pages].

Kids’ Share 2018: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children through 2017 and Future Projections

Kids’ Share 2018: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children through 2017 and Future Projections. Urban Institute. Julia B. Isaacs et al. July 18, 2018

 Public spending on children aims to support their healthy development, helping them fulfill their human potential. As such, federal spending on children is an investment in the nation’s future. To inform policymakers, children’s advocates, and the general public about how public funds are spent on children, this 12th edition of the annual Kids’ Share report provides an updated analysis of federal expenditures on children from 1960 to 2017. It also projects federal expenditures on children through 2028 to give a sense of how budget priorities may unfold absent changes to current law.  [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 68 pages].

The Nature of Work and the Social Safety Net

The Nature of Work and the Social Safety Net. Urban Institute. Pamela J. Loprest, Demetra Smith Nightingale. July 23, 2018

 Work is at the core of the American dream, bringing to people the promise of income, dignity, and security. The US social safety net has historically reinforced this work ethic, premised on employer-provided benefits in combination with public programs, policies, and workplace laws and regulations.

Yet shifts in the economy and the nature of work have created challenges for the social safety net. There is growing concern that the safety net is increasingly at odds with current and future labor market realities. This report examines these changes, discusses the implications for the social safety net, and offers potential policy solutions. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 19 pages].

A Targeted Minimum Benefit Plan: A New Proposal to Reduce Poverty among Older Social Security Recipients

A Targeted Minimum Benefit Plan: A New Proposal to Reduce Poverty among Older Social Security Recipients. Urban Institute. Pamela Herd et al. April 2, 2018

 In light of concerns about Social Security costs and benefit adequacy, we propose an effective and relatively inexpensive targeted program to provide a minimally adequate floor to old-age income through the program. This minimum benefit plan would provide a cost-effective method for reducing elder poverty to low levels. A key element is that the benefit would not count toward other social programs’ income eligibility thresholds. Other aspects include an income-tested benefit that would bring beneficiaries to the poverty threshold; application by filing of a 1040 income tax return; and setting of benefit levels and distribution through the Social Security Administration. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 17 pages].