Category Archives: Human Services

The Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration

Source: Susan J. Popkin, Brett Theodos, Caterina Gouvis Roman, Elizabeth Guernsey, Urban Institute, July 8, 2008

From the abstract:
The Chicago Family Case Management Demonstration is an innovative initiative designed to meet the challenges of serving the Chicago Housing Authority’s (CHA) “hard to house”; residents. It involves a unique partnership of city agencies, service providers, researchers, and private foundations, all with a deep commitment to finding solutions for the most vulnerable families affected by the CHA’s Plan for Transformation. The rigorous evaluation allows for continuous learning and mid-course corrections, and helped the team develop a validated model that other housing authorities can use. This report highlights the lessons learned during the first year implementation of the Demonstration.
See also:
The Experiences of Public Housing Agencies That Established Time Limits Policies Under the MTW Demonstration
A Study of Closing Costs for FHA Mortgages
Foreclosures in the District of Columbia

Social Scientists Recommend New Safety Net for Low-Income Families

Source: Urban Institute, Press release, July 16, 2008

One-third of families with children, 13.7 million households, struggle to cover the everyday costs of living but don’t always succeed. Yet, four in five of these low-income families, whose incomes are less than twice the federal poverty level, include working adults.

Some families receive food stamps, child care subsidies, tax credits, and other government work supports, but these programs either offer too little or go to too few of those in need. At the same time, wages for low-income workers have generally stagnated over the past two decades, rainy-day saving is difficult at best, employer-sponsored health insurance is growing scarcer, and unemployment insurance is limited or unavailable.

Implementing New Changes to the Food Stamp Program: A Provision Analysis of the 2008 Farm Bill

Source: Stacy Dean, Colleen Pawling, and Dottie Rosenbaum, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 1, 2008

From the summary:
The 2008 Farm Bill makes numerous improvements to the Food Stamp Program that will help low-income Americans put food on the table in the face of rising food and fuel prices.[1] Over the 2009-2017 period, the Farm Bill will add $7.8 billion in new resources for the program, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The major food stamp provisions will:

• End years of erosion in the purchasing power of food stamps by raising and indexing for inflation the program’s standard deduction and minimum benefit. These changes will help about 11 million low-income people, including families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities. With these changes, food stamp rules will fully account for annual inflation for the first time since the program’s creation over 40 years ago, and food stamp households will stop losing food purchasing power each year.
• Support working-poor families by eliminating the cap on the dependent care deduction, reducing the chances that families will have to forgo food to pay for decent and safe child care.
• Promote saving by improving the program’s resource limits and excluding tax-preferred retirement accounts and education accounts from those limits.
• Simplify food stamp administration for participants and states by building on successful initiatives from the last (2002) Farm Bill.
• Rename and update the program, which will be called the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” (SNAP); food stamp coupons will be eliminated.
• Strengthen program operations, integrity, and oversight and modernize benefit delivery, for example by creating a state option for telephonic applications and by improving oversight of state modernization efforts.

Youth Transitioning From Foster Care: Background, Federal Programs, and Issues for Congress

Source: Congressional Research Service, Order Code RL34499, May 21, 2008

From the summary:
Nearly half of states have laws that explicitly permit the state child welfare system to continue providing foster care for children beyond the age of majority (usually no later than 19). However, the number of states that actually facilitate youth remaining in care beyond their 18th or 19th birthdays is significantly smaller. Over 20,000 young people have been emancipated from foster care annually from FY2002 through FY2006. While most young people have access to emotional and financial support systems throughout their early adult years, older youth in care and those who age out of care often face obstacles to developing independent living skills and building supports that ease the transition to adulthood. Older foster youth who return to their parents or guardians may continue to experience poor family dynamics or a lack of emotional and financial supports, and studies have shown that recently emancipated foster youth fare poorly relative to their counterparts in the general population on several outcome measures.

Implementing New Changes to the Food Stamp Program: A Provision By Provision Analysis of The 2008 Farm Bill

Source: Stacy Dean, Colleen Pawling, Dorothy Rosenbaum, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 1, 2008

From the summary:
The 2008 Farm Bill makes numerous improvements to the Food Stamp Program that will help low-income Americans put food on the table in the face of rising food and fuel prices. Over the 2009-2017 period, the Farm Bill will add $7.8 billion in new resources for the program, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The major food stamp provisions will:

• End years of erosion in the purchasing power of food stamps
• Support working-poor families.
• Promote saving
• Simplify food stamp administration
• Rename and update the program
• Strengthen program operations, integrity, and oversight and modernize benefit delivery

Finding Relatives for Children

Source: Nina Williams-Mbengue, National Conference of State Legislatures, LegisBrief, Vol. 16, no. 28, June/July 2008
(subscription required)

State child welfare agencies increasingly rely on placing children whose parents cannot or will not assume responsibility for them with grandparents and other relatives. These placements can improve stability for children, and state and federal policies give preference for placing children with relatives. Policymakers can support over-burdened state agencies by crafting legislation and recommending initiatives that help states to better identify and recruit relatives and other caring adults to provide for a child’s safety, well-being and permanency.

Participation of Mothers in Government Assistance Programs: 2004

(PDF; 454 KB)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

From press release:
Although participation in government assistance programs has risen somewhat in recent years among mothers with a birth in the last year, it is much lower than when welfare reform was enacted in 1996, according to a report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The report, Participation of Mothers in Government Assistance Programs: 2004 [PDF], analyzes the socioeconomic characteristics of mothers participating in six different public assistance programs. These include Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); food stamps; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); Medicaid; housing assistance; and other assistance. It shows that in 1996, 42 percent of mothers with a birth in the previous year were participants in at least one of these programs. The rate dipped to 29 percent in 2001 before climbing to 34 percent in 2004. The corresponding number, 1.6 million in 1996, dipped to 1.2 million in 2001 before rising to 1.4 million in 2004.

Overall, 7.5 million mothers of childbearing age (15 to 44), or 22 percent, participated in one or more of these programs in 2004. Those with infants were more likely participants than those with older children (34 percent compared with 20 percent).

Mothers were also more likely to receive public assistance if they were younger than 25, living with either no other adult or with an unmarried partner, a minority, did not work in the past month, never attended college, or did not receive child support.

Full report (PDF; 454 KB)

Working Families and Economic Insecurity in the States: The Role of Job Quality and Work Supports

Source: Shawn Fremstad, Rebecca Ray and Hye Jin Rho, Center for Economic and Policy Research, May 2008

From the press release:
The federal poverty line does a poor job of measuring economic insecurity in the United States according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). In the typical state, 22 percent of people in working families suffer from economic hardship because their earnings and income from other sources, including public work supports and other public benefits, fall below the basic needs budget standard for where they live. By comparison, only 12.6 percent of Americans live below the federal poverty line.

Background Material and Data on the Programs within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means, 2008

Source: House Ways and Means Committee, Press release, May 5, 2008

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), today announced the release of the 2008 edition of Background Material and Data on the Programs within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means, informally known as the Green Book. The Green Book provides updated data and information on programs within the Committee’s jurisdiction, such as Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment Compensation, Foster Care and welfare. Additionally, it includes a discussion of related issues, such as the well-being of the elderly and of children and families. Since its first publication in 1981, the Green Book has become a valued reference guide for legislators, administrators, researchers and interested citizens. Upon completion, individual chapters of this volume will be accessible on the Committee’s website.

Recent CRS Reports

Source: Congressional Research Service
• February 26, 2008 – Child Welfare Issues in the 110th Congress
• February 20, 2008 – Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Workers: Current Issues and Legislation
• February 19, 2008 – The Alternative Minimum Tax For Individuals: Legislative Activity in the 110th Congress
• February 14, 2008 – Largest Mergers and Acquisitions by Corporations in 2007