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Poverty, TANF, and Parenting – Understanding the Connection Jill Duerr Berrick School of Social Welfare University of California at Berkeley October, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Poverty, TANF, and Parenting – Understanding the Connection Jill Duerr Berrick School of Social Welfare University of California at Berkeley October, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Poverty, TANF, and Parenting – Understanding the Connection Jill Duerr Berrick School of Social Welfare University of California at Berkeley October, 2009

2 Presentation Overview Poverty, child well-being, and parenting Poverty, child well-being, and parenting Poverty, welfare and maltreatment Poverty, welfare and maltreatment Negative & positive impacts of CalWORKs on caregiving Negative & positive impacts of CalWORKs on caregiving Traditional service responses to families Traditional service responses to families Opportunities for supporting child safety, permanency and well-being in the context of family self-sufficiency. Opportunities for supporting child safety, permanency and well-being in the context of family self-sufficiency.

3 Are Low-Income Parents More Likely to Maltreat Their Children than Non- Low- Income Parents?

4 What do we know about people who are affected by poverty? Poverty tends to co-occur with other risks.  Teen parenthood  Single parenthood  Negative life events  Violence exposure  Marital distress  Parent psychopathology

5 Other Factors Associated with Poverty Poverty-related stress Poverty-related stress Daily hassles Daily hassles Parental mental health/depression Parental mental health/depression Social Support Social Support Substance abuse Substance abuse Subjective experience of poverty Subjective experience of poverty Assaults to the caregiving system Assaults to the caregiving system

6 Low-income parents are more likely to use “negative” parenting strategies. Limited parental responsivenessLimited parental responsiveness Harsh / coercive parentingHarsh / coercive parenting Lax supervisionLax supervision Less vocal with infantsLess vocal with infants

7 Poverty increases parents’ risk factors Poverty increases parents’ risk factors Reduces parents’ protective factors Reduces parents’ protective factors

8 What do the Data Tell Us? NIS-3 NIS-3 Income $30,000.Income $30,000. Poverty is the strongest predictor of maltreatmentPoverty is the strongest predictor of maltreatment But correlation is NOT causationBut correlation is NOT causation

9 U.S. Child Poverty Population 72.0 million children in the U.S million children in the U.S million children are poor (about 16%) 11.5 million children are poor (about 16%) Poor children

10 U.S. Child Welfare Population Approx. 900,000 child victims of maltreatment Approx. 900,000 child victims of maltreatment Approx 500,000 children in out-of- home care Approx 500,000 children in out-of- home care Child welfare population

11 Characteristics Associated with Increased Odds of Child Welfare Events Young children Young children Single parent family Single parent family Larger families Larger families Born with low birth weight Born with low birth weight Late or no prenatal care Late or no prenatal care Increased time on aid Increased time on aid Breaks in aid receipt Breaks in aid receipt

12 Characteristics Associated with Increased Odds of Child Welfare Events (con’t) More hardships More hardships Deeper poverty Deeper poverty Homelessness Homelessness Substance abuse Substance abuse Parental stress Parental stress Prior child welfare Prior child welfare contact contact

13 What’s the Relationship Between Welfare and Child Maltreatment? Children in families receiving aid have an increased risk of a substantiated maltreatment referral. Children in families receiving aid have an increased risk of a substantiated maltreatment referral. Children in families receiving aid are almost two times as likely to be placed in care Children in families receiving aid are almost two times as likely to be placed in care More generous benefits may provide protection for children More generous benefits may provide protection for children

14 What’s the Relationship Between Employment and Child Well-Being? Increases in employment without income gains: Increases in employment without income gains: Little to no effect – positive or negativeLittle to no effect – positive or negative Increases in employment with income gains: Increases in employment with income gains: Positive effects for childrenPositive effects for children School-achievement gainsSchool-achievement gains May improve children’s behavior and children’s healthMay improve children’s behavior and children’s health Reductions in income : Reductions in income : Negative effects for childrenNegative effects for children

15 What Explains The Relationship Between Employment, TANF/ CalWORKs, and Family Well-Being? Effects on Parenting: PositiveNegative Complicated or Unknown Work Welfare Income Childcare Surveillance TANF Services Sanctions & Penalties Family Caps Behavioral Requirements: *Teens live at home *No drug felonies *Paternity establishment *Immunizations Employment Income

16 Aspects of CalWORKs With the Potential for Negative Impacts on Parenting Material hardship Material hardship Family CapFamily Cap Full family sanctionsFull family sanctions Shorter time limits Shorter time limits Undue emphasis on employment Undue emphasis on employment

17 Aspects of Welfare Programs Likely to have More Positive Child Welfare Effects Income Income Higher benefitsHigher benefits Uninterrupted TANF payments during children’s stay in out-of-home careUninterrupted TANF payments during children’s stay in out-of-home care Income supplements for working parentsIncome supplements for working parents Concrete servicesConcrete services

18 Using TANF to Promote Positive Parenting Federal block grants give states unprecedented opportunities to use TANF funds flexibly to provide services to families Federal block grants give states unprecedented opportunities to use TANF funds flexibly to provide services to families

19 Some Creative Uses of TANF Funds Screening TANF clients for child welfare risk factors Screening TANF clients for child welfare risk factors Offering TANF clients support services to promote positive parenting and reduce stress and hardship Offering TANF clients support services to promote positive parenting and reduce stress and hardship Reducing the emphasis on work for families with children in out-of-home care. Reducing the emphasis on work for families with children in out-of-home care.

20 Where Does Linkages Come In?

21 Poverty / Maltreatment Typical Service Responses CalWORKs CalWORKs Encourage employmentEncourage employment Assess barriers to self-sufficiencyAssess barriers to self-sufficiency Access servicesAccess services Child Welfare Assess child safety Assess family problems and needs Access services Fundamental Goal: Family Self-Sufficiency Fundamental Goal: Safety, Permanency, and Child Well-being

22 What do These Two Programs Have in Common?

23 Child welfare staff need to understand the effects of poverty on child well- being if they are to promote well-being as an outcome. CalWORKs staff need to understand the effects of poverty on child well-being if they are to effectively help parents gain employment that will raise family income.

24 Poverty’s Effects on Child Well-Being Infant deaths Infant deaths Low-birth weight Low-birth weight Birth complications Birth complications Poor nutrition Poor nutrition Chronic health conditions Chronic health conditions Stunted growth Stunted growth Environmental toxins Poor quality education High drop-out rates Teen pregnancy Criminal activity Brain development

25 Poverty Across Childhood

26 Linkages helps staff in CalWORKs and Child Welfare agencies work together to promote child safety and well-being in the context of family self-sufficiency.

27 Linkages can: Promote self-sufficiency Promote self-sufficiency Provide improved services Provide improved services Reduce conflicting requirements Reduce conflicting requirements Create safety for children Create safety for children Facilitate permanency for children Facilitate permanency for children Provide additional resources for families Provide additional resources for families

28 For more Information on Linkages in California see:

29 References Courtney, M., Piliavin, I., Dworsky, A., & Zinn, A. (2001). Involvement of TANF families with child welfare services. Paper presented at Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management Research Meeting. Washington, D.C., November 2, Ehrle, J., Scarcella, C.A., & Geen, R. (2004). Teaming up: Collaboration between welfare and child welfare agencies since welfare reform. Children and Youth Services Review, 26, Frame, L., & Berrick, J.D. (2003). The effects of welfare reform on families involved with public child welfare services: Results from a qualitative study. Children and Youth Services Review, 25(1-2), pp Geen, R., Fender, L., Leos-Urbel, J., & Markowitz, T. (February, 2001). Welfare reform’s effect on child welfrae caseloads. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute. Goerge, R.M., & Lee, B. (2000). Changes in child social program participation in the 1990s: Initial findings from Ilinois. Chicago, IL: Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago. Needell, B., Cuccaro-Alamin, S., Brookhart, A., & Lee, S. (1999). Transitions from AFDC to child welfare in California. Children and Youth Services Review, 21(9-10), Nelson, K.E., Saunders, E.J., & Landsman, M.J. (1993). Chronic child neglect in perspective. Social Work, 38 (6), Morris, P.A., Scott, E.K., & London, A. (in press). Effects on children as parents transition from welfare to employment. In J.D. Berrick & B. Fuller (Eds). Good parents or Good Workers? New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Ovwigho, P., Leavitt, K., & Born, C. (2003). Risk factors for child abuse and neglect among former TANF families: Do later leavers experience greater risk? Children and Youth Services Review, 25 (9-10),

30 References (con’t) Paxton, C., & Waldfogel, J. (1999). Welfare reform, family resources, and child maltreatment. In B. Meyer & G. Duncan (Eds.), The incentives of government programs and the wellbeing of families. Chicago: Joint Center for Poverty Research.Ryan, J.P., & Schuerman, J.R. (2004). Matching family problems with specific family preservation services: A study of service effectiveness. Children and Youth Services Review, 26 ( ). Paxton, C., & Waldfogel, J. (1999). Welfare reform, family resources, and child maltreatment. In B. Meyer & G. Duncan (Eds.), The incentives of government programs and the wellbeing of families. Chicago: Joint Center for Poverty Research.Ryan, J.P., & Schuerman, J.R. (2004). Matching family problems with specific family preservation services: A study of service effectiveness. Children and Youth Services Review, 26 ( ). Shook, K. (1999). Does the loss of welfare income increase the risk of involvement with the child welfare service system? Children and Youth Services Review, 21 (9-10), Shook, K. (1999). Does the loss of welfare income increase the risk of involvement with the child welfare service system? Children and Youth Services Review, 21 (9-10), Solomon and George Solomon and George U.S.D.H.H.S. (2002). Trends in the well-being of America’s children and youth. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. U.S.D.H.H.S. (2002). Trends in the well-being of America’s children and youth. Washington, D.C.: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. U.S.D.H.H.S. (2002). Child maltreatment Washington, D.C.: Children’s BureauU.S.D.H.H.S. (1996) Results of the third national incidence study on child maltreatment in the U.S. Washington, D.C. National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. U.S.D.H.H.S. (2002). Child maltreatment Washington, D.C.: Children’s BureauU.S.D.H.H.S. (1996) Results of the third national incidence study on child maltreatment in the U.S. Washington, D.C. National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. Wells, K., & Guo, S. (2004). Reunification of foster children before and after welfare reform. Social Service Review Wells, K., & Guo, S. (2004). Reunification of foster children before and after welfare reform. Social Service Review Wells, K., & Guo, S. (2003). Mothers’ welfare and work income and reunification with children in foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 25(3), Wells, K., & Guo, S. (2003). Mothers’ welfare and work income and reunification with children in foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 25(3),

31 Acknowledgements Thanks to the following for their collaboration on welfare – child welfare projects in the CSSR: Laura Frame, Stephanie Cuccaro- Alamin, Barbara Needell, Jodie Langs, and Lisa Varchol.


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