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Poverty, TANF, and Parenting – Understanding the Connection

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

  2. Presentation Overview • Poverty, child well-being, and parenting • Poverty, welfare and maltreatment • Negative & positive impacts of CalWORKs on caregiving • Traditional service responses to families • 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 • Daily hassles • Parental mental health/depression • Social Support • Substance abuse • Subjective experience of poverty • Assaults to the caregiving system

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

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

  8. What do the Data Tell Us? • NIS-3 • Income < $15,000 -- 22x more likely to be maltreated compared to family income >$30,000. • Poverty is the strongest predictor of maltreatment • But correlation is NOT causation

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

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

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

  12. Characteristics Associated withIncreased Odds of Child Welfare Events(con’t) • More hardships • Deeper poverty • Homelessness • Substance abuse • Parental stress • Prior child welfare 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 are almost two times as likely to be placed in care • 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: • Little to no effect – positive or negative • Increases in employment with income gains: • Positive effects for children • School-achievement gains • May improve children’s behavior and children’s health • Reductions in income: • Negative effects for children

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

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

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

  19. Some Creative Uses of TANF Funds • Screening TANF clients for child welfare risk factors • 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.

  20. Where Does Linkages Come In?

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

  22. What do These Two Programs Have in Common? Parents Children

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

  25. Poverty Across Childhood Age Duration Depth

  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 • Provide improved services • Reduce conflicting requirements • Create safety for children • Facilitate permanency for children • Provide additional resources for families

  28. For more Information on Linkages in California see:http://www.cfpic.org/

  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, 2001. 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, 265-285. 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. 113-138. 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), 815-841.Nelson, K.E., Saunders, E.J., & Landsman, M.J. (1993). Chronic child neglect in perspective. Social Work, 38 (6), 661-671. 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), 139-163.

  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 (347-372). • 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), 781-814. • 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). Child maltreatment 2002. 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. (2003). Mothers’ welfare and work income and reunification with children in foster care. Children and Youth Services Review, 25(3), 203-224.

  31. 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. Acknowledgements