Category Archives: Human Services

Minnesota Integrated Services Project Participant Characteristics and Program Implementation

Source: Karin Martinson, Caroline Ratcliffe, Elizabeth Harbison, and Joanna Parnes, Urban Institute, September 25, 2007

From the abstract:
The Minnesota Integrated Services Projects focus on improving the delivery of employment, health, and social services to families who receive cash assistance and have serious or multiple barriers to employment. Operating in eight sites, the project seeks to provide comprehensive assessments of participants’ barriers, improve access to more complete services that address multiple needs, and coordinate services provided by multiple service systems. This report examines the implementation of the projects, provides information on participants’ demographic, economic and barrier-related characteristics, and describes changes in economic outcomes among participants within a short (six-month) follow-up period.

Promoting Homeownership among Low-Income Households

Source: Edgar O. Olsen, The Urban Institute, Opportunity and Ownership Project Report No. 2, August 20, 2007

The United States’ current system of low-income housing assistance is biased against homeownership. This paper documents the bias and suggests reforms to eliminate it. The new policies would allow more low-income families to become homeowners by providing similar subsidies for renters and owners under the two largest programs for low-income housing, Section 8 and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. The reforms would not require additional spending, would improve the cost-effectiveness of the system of low-income housing assistance, and would avoid the two biggest mistakes in past attempts to subsidize homeownership: subsidizing the construction of new units and requiring intended beneficiaries to buy from selected sellers.

Trends in Work Supports for Low-Income Families with Children

Source: Sheila Zedlewski and Seth Zimmerman Urban Institute, Brief no. 4, June 2007

From the summary:
Low-income families in Alaska, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont received more than $4,000 in work supports per person in 2005, more than double what their counterparts in Idaho, Nevada, and Utah received, an Urban Institute analysis of data for 44 states reveals.

Nationally, federal and state governments spent $3,264 per person on the core work-support programs, which help nonworking parents get jobs and stay employed: Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), Food Stamps, child-care subsidies, and the federal and state earned income tax credits (EITC). Medicaid, SCHIP, and food stamps are available to low-income families regardless of work status; child-care subsidies and the EITC specifically help working families.

+ Abstract and Introduction
+ Full Document

A Parity Plan For Dual Eligibles: The Home and Community Services Copayment Equity Act of 2007

Source: Maribeth Bersani, Nursing Homes: Long Term Care Management, Vol. 56 no. 6, June 2007

Before January 2006 and the implementation of Medicare Part D, dual-eligible assisted living residents (those who receive Medicaid and Medicare benefits) were exempted from remitting co-payments for their prescription drugs. The exemption from co-payments was also applicable to individuals residing in skilled nursing homes, as well.

Under the new Medicare Part D program, however, dual-eligible residents in assisted living communities are not exempt from prescription drug co-payments. This has created a severe financial hardship for these residents who are already living on very low incomes. The only discretionary income most of these residents have is a Personal Needs Allowance (PNA)—frequently less than $60 per month. Residents use the PNA to pay for clothing, personal hygiene items, over-the-counter medications, and any other necessary items they need. To have to use this meager allowance to cover prescription drug co-pays is a true hardship.

Principles for SCHIP Reform

Source: Council for Affordable Health Insurance’s Issues and Answers no. 143, June 2007

From press release:

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is up for reauthorization, and there appears to be bipartisan support for not just reauthorizing the program but greatly expanding it. Indeed, the legislation may become a vehicle for much of what Congress wants to accomplish in health care this year.
However, SCHIP was intended to be a limited program to help uninsured children from modest- income families — not a huge entitlement covering middle- and upper-middle-income children and hundreds of thousands of adults.

Today, the Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI) released its newest Issues & Answers, “Principles for SCHIP Reform.” The paper identifies key principles that should guide lawmakers in their reauthorization efforts, if they want a financially sustainable program that provides access to quality health care for low- income children.

Framework for a New Safety Net for Low-Income Working Families

Source: Olivia Golden, Pamela Winston, Gregory Acs, Ajay Chaudry, Urban Institute, Paper 7, June 12, 2007

This paper for the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation conceptualizes a framework for a new safety net for low-income working families that is rooted in their most essential needs. It is organized around five key goals:

1. enabling parents to meet their family’s needs while working in lower-wage jobs,
2. helping families weather gaps in parental employment,
3. supporting parents’ job advancement,
4. helping parents combine work and child-rearing, and
5. improving children’s well-being and development.

The paper describes these families’ circumstances, discusses gaps in current safety-net programs, and explores possible alternative approaches to meeting families’ most pressing needs.

National Center for Clinical Social Work Launched in Massachusetts

Source: Mental Health Weekly, Vol. 17 no. 17, April 30, 2007
(subscription required)

A national center for clinical social work was recently formed with the hope of representing the nation’s 200,000 clinical social workers, who constitute the largest mental health profession in the United States, said officials from the Salem, Mass., based Canter for Clinical Social Work, Inc. The Center is intended to be a unifying force amid the diversity and dynamism of the profession, said center officials.

President’s Budget Calls for Deep Cuts in a Wide Range of Domestic Programs: Cuts Start in 2008 and Grow Deeper Over Time

Source: Sharon Parrott and Matt Fiedler, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, February 8, 2007

Under the Administration’s budget, domestic discretionary programs — the programs that are funded each year through the annual appropriations process, other than defense and international programs — are slated for sizable reductions over the next five years. The budget calls for these cuts to start in 2008, when domestic discretionary programs as a whole would be funded below a freeze of the levels provided for 2007 in the full-year continuing resolution now moving through Congress.[i] The cuts would then grow deeper each year after 2008, and would come from almost every part of the domestic budget. The largest cuts would come in 2012, when domestic programs would be cut $34 billion, or 7.6 percent, relative to the 2007 funding level, adjusted for inflation.

The Capacities and Challenges of Faith-Based Human Service Organizations

Source: Richard M. Clerkin and Kirsten A. Grønbjerg, Public Administration Review, January/February 2007
(subscription needed)

The Charitable Choice provision of the 1996 welfare reform act under the Clinton administration and the Bush administration’s establishment of the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives in the White House have expanded the participation of overtly religious service organizations in the implementation of social policy. What has been the impact of these moves on human service-oriented religious congregations? Most of them seem unwilling to forego their sacred mission for the sake of receiving public funding, and for a few participating congregations, a measure of secularization may have crept into their service programs.

Welfare Reform and the ‘Platonic Master Science’: An Interview With Lawrence Mead

Source: Kevin R. Kosar, Public Administration Review, November/December 2006, Vol. 66 no. 6
In this conversation with the author of the 2005 Brownlow Nook Award winner, Government Matters, Lawrence Mead underscores the indispensable role of government in implementing effective welfare reform in Wisconsin. When policy makers and administrators work together conscientiously, according to Mead, old institutions can be revitalized and new ones built with remarkable speed and efficiency to achieve public purposes. Mead also shares his perspectives on the major failings of contemporary policy research.