Category Archives: Human Services

The Promise of the State-Federal Partnership on Workforce and Job Training

Source: National Governors Association and the National Associations of State Workforce Liaisons and State Workforce Board Chairs, 2017

Report from the National Governors Association and the National Associations of State Workforce Liaisons and State Workforce Board Chairs on the importance of strong partnership between states and the federal government on workforce development.

‘What can I do’? Child welfare workers’ perceptions of what they can do to address poverty

Source: Juliana Carlson, Journal of Children and Poverty, Latest Articles, Published online: 02 Aug 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Within the field of child welfare, critical questions have been posed about the intersecting issues of child maltreatment and poverty. The study of the quality and nature of this intersection has continued relevance in light of evidence showing the increased likelihood of maltreatment of children living in poverty. Although child welfare workers interact directly with families involved with the child welfare system, the study of workers’ perceptions of whether or not they address families’ poverty and, if so, how they go about it has not yet been conducted. The study presented begins to address this gap. Analysis from individual interviews with 30 child welfare workers revealed that they differed in their perception of whether or not poverty should be addressed by child welfare and how. Findings suggest workers do what they can despite various barriers, including families’ limitations and the fragile US social welfare safety net. Based on the findings, current practice models and policies that impact poverty and child maltreatment reduction are discussed.

CDBG Works

Source: David W. Burns, Report on City Projects, June 2017

From the summary:
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is the key tool cities use to revitalize low and moderate-income neighborhoods and serve the people who live in them. Administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, CDBG was launched in 1974 and has served thousands of communities across the nation. “Entitlement” communities receive funds directly from the federal government based on a highly targeted formula. The balance of funds go to States which administer CDBG resources to smaller towns and communities on a competitive basis. CDBG allows local governments the flexibility to design their own comprehensive revitalization plans in the context of targeted objectives to serve low and moderate income people. ….

…. CDGB is not just another federal program. It is a lifeline to poor neighborhoods that for too long have suffered disinvestment in both their physical infrastructure and their people. This publication, CDBG WORKS, is designed to illustrate the types of projects CDBG makes possible. CDBG funds housing rehab programs for in-home seniors and those with disabilities, making it possible for them to gain access and stay in their homes. It funds Boys and Girls Clubs to provide youth productive activities as an alternative to the streets. It supports community and social service organizations that provide counseling to victims of domestic violence and those who suffer from homelessness and mental health problems. The list goes on and on. ….

Four charts that show who loses out if the White House cuts food stamps

Source: Orgul Demet Ozturk, The Conversation, July 17, 2017

The White House has proposed cutting 25 percent of SNAP’s budget – about US$193 billion – over the next decade. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, though it’s more widely known by its pre-2008 name, food stamps. This program helps about 44 million people per month buy food. Last year, the government spent $71 billion in total on the program. SNAP serves the most vulnerable in our society, for whom a little money means a lot. According to the Congressional Budget Office, cuts to SNAP will likely have a major impact on the individuals who were hurt most by the recent recession. As research from myself and many others shows, food assistance can have far-ranging impacts on a person’s health and well-being…..

State-by-State Child Support Data

Source: Meghan McCann, National Conference of State Legislatures, June 13, 2017

States collected $32.7 billion dollars on behalf of the 15.6 million children served by child support enforcement programs across the country during FY2016, according to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. While collections increased slightly, the child support caseload continues to decline, down by 1.5 percent over FY 2015. The cost effectiveness of the program reached a four-year high with $5.33 being collected for every $1 dollar spent on the program. Below is a 50-state breakdown of total distributed collections, total arrearages, amount of current support due, total caseload and total administrative expenditures over the past four years.

Why poverty is not a personal choice, but a reflection of society

Source: Shervin Assari, The Conversation, June 30, 2017

…. I believe one reason the United States is cutting spending on health insurance and safety nets that protect poor and marginalized people is because of American culture, which overemphasizes individual responsibility. Our culture does this to the point that it ignores the effect of root causes shaped by society and beyond the control of the individual. How laypeople define and attribute poverty may not be that much different from the way U.S. policymakers in the Senate see poverty.

As someone who studies poverty solutions and social and health inequalities, I am convinced by the academic literature that the biggest reason for poverty is how a society is structured. Without structural changes, it may be very difficult if not impossible to eliminate disparities and poverty. ….

The Trump team’s poor arguments for slashing SNAP

Source: Patricia Smith, The Conversation, June 25, 2017

The Trump administration aims to slash spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, by US$193 billion over the next decade. The proposal would also overhaul how the nation’s main nutrition assistance program operates, potentially encouraging additional cuts by the states.

Curbing SNAP’s reach is only one way that Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and other officials are trying to trim the safety net to save taxpayer dollars – while simultaneously boosting military spending.

As an economist who studies nutrition policy, I don’t understand what good the administration thinks it can do by overhauling and paring back an effective and efficient program. By many measures, SNAP successfully satisfies an essential human need and fulfills its mandate to promote the general welfare….

Saving Lives in the Stacks How libraries are handling the opioid crisis

Source: Anne Ford, American Libraries, June 21, 2017

…..What Simon didn’t say—but what librarians far and wide know—is that the McPherson Square branch is just one of many American libraries struggling with opioid-related issues such as discarded, contaminated needles; drug use in the library itself; and even on-site overdoses and fatalities. Libraries from California to Colorado, Pennsylvania to Missouri, are finding themselves on the front lines of a battle they never anticipated fighting. Of course, opiate use isn’t limited to libraries. Neither is anyone claiming that the problem is more severe in libraries than it is anywhere else. Still, the fact that libraries are open to all, offer relative anonymity, and generally allow patrons to stay as long as they like make them uniquely vulnerable to those seeking a place to use drugs…..

The opioid epidemic is so bad that librarians are learning how to treat overdoses
Source: Darran Simon, CNN, June 24, 2017

…..Long viewed as guardians of safe spaces for children, library staff members like Kowalski have begun taking on the role of first responder in drug overdoses. In at least three major cities — Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco — library employees now know, or are set to learn, how to use the drug naloxone, usually known by its brand name Narcan, to help reverse overdoses.

Their training tracks with the disastrous national rise in opioid use and an apparent uptick of overdoses in libraries, which often serve as daytime havens for homeless people and hubs of services in impoverished communities.

In the past two years, libraries in Denver, San Francisco, suburban Chicago and Reading, Pennsylvania have become the site of fatal overdoses…..
Related:
Librarians In Philadelphia Train To Thwart Drug Overdoses
NPR, Weekend Edition, June 3, 2017

The McPherson Branch of the Free Public Library sees almost daily heroin overdoses. NPR’s Scott Simon talks to Mike Newall of the Philadelphia Inquirer and librarian Chera Kowolski about the response.

For these Philly librarians, drug tourists and overdose drills are part of the job
Source: Mike Newall, Philadelphia Inquirer, June 1, 2017

I visited the century-old library that sits atop Needle Park in Kensington because I’d heard its staff was the first in the city to learn how to administer the lifesaving overdose antidote Narcan.

They have been using the spray so often that they can tell the type of overdose simply by the sound coming from the lavatory: Heroin victims slide sluggishly into unconsciousness, the librarians have found, while victims of deadly fentanyl collapse instantly, with a thud that resonates through the entire building, which is called the McPherson Square Branch….

Salt Lake County librarians trained to respond to drug overdoses
Source: Deseret News, June 29, 2017

Salt Lake County Library Services, partnering with the Salt Lake County Health Department, has trained librarians on how to administer Narcan and has distributed naloxone kits to their branches….

Denver Public Library staff equipped with opioid overdose antidote
Source: KDVR, March 17, 2017

Staff at Denver Public Library’s central library are now carrying narcan, an opioid overdose antidote, in response to an increase in people overdosing at the library. …. Fewell said since the library started tracking the incidents in February, staff have counted six overdoses. ….

The Relative Returns to Workforce Investment Act–Supported Training in Florida by Field, Gender, and Education and Ways to Improve Trainees’ Choices

Source: Louis Jacobson and Jonathan Davis, Journal of Labor Economics 35, no. S1, July 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The key finding of this paper is that women Workforce Investment Act (WIA) trainees select higher-return fields than men but men usually have higher returns than women in the same field. Among men, the higher the level of education, the greater the proportion who select high-return fields; the reverse is true for women. Finally, most men select fields that are predominantly male, and vice versa for women, even though gains among men and women making unconventional choices are often large. Thus, there is considerable room for men and women to increase their gains by altering their choice of field.

Not just for the poor: The crucial role of Medicaid in America’s health care system

Source: Simon Haeder, The Conversation, June 7, 2017

Despite many assertions to the contrary, Senate leaders are now saying they want to vote on the replacement bill for Obamacare before the month is out. Front and center is the planned transformation of America’s Medicaid program, which covers 20 percent of Americans and provides the backbone of America’s health care system. …. To understand how the ACHA’s proposed changes to Medicaid would affect people and our health care system, let’s look more closely at the program….