The Earned Income Tax Credit: A Study of
Eligible Participants vs. Non-participants
Richard K. Caputo
Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, this study
(N = 1,504) showed that about half the EITC eligible tax filers in 2001 did
not file EITC tax returns and that differences between EITC tax filers and
non-EITC tax filers varied by birth place, Food Stamp program participation,
marital status, race, residence, sex, socioeconomic history, and worker
classification. Findings suggested that the EITC is well targeted in the sense
that economically marginalized groups are likely to participate and that
increased outreach efforts are also needed to ensure greater participation
among tax filers eligible for the EITC but who are less likely to claim it,
especially self-employed persons and those residing in the Northeast.
When Policy Meets Practice: The Untested
Effects of Permanency Reforms in Child Welfare
Amy D’Andrade and Jill Duerr Berrick
The Adoption and Safe Families Act (P.L. 105-89; ASFA) passed into
federal law in 1997. ASFA emphasized child protection over family preservation,
and introduced reforms intended to increase the likelihood and the
speed with which children in the child welfare system attain a permanent
home. This article details two provisions of the law, concurrent planning
and reunification exception, and explores challenges in their implementation.
These provisions have the potential to shift the nature of how child
welfare services are delivered, and which families will receive them. An
examination of implementation in the state of California suggests there is
a need for further research regarding the application and effectiveness of
these reforms to ensure they produce their intended effects.
Financial Knowledge of the Low-income
Population: Effects of a Financial
Min Zhan, Steven G. Anderson, and Jeff Scott
This study examines the effects of one large financial management training
program for low-income people. The data are from tests of pre- and posttraining
financial knowledge of 163 participants. The test was designed to
measure basic knowledge of participants in five content areas: predatory
lending practices, public and work-related benefits, banking practices,
savings and investing strategies, and credit use and interest rates.
The findings demonstrate that substantial pre-training knowledge deficiencies
existed on basic financial management issues, especially on public
and work-related benefits and savings and investing. Results also indicate
that the program was effective in improving the financial knowledge of
participants in each of the five content areas. Further analyses suggest
that pre-training knowledge and levels varied according to participant
characteristics. In addition, participants’ education, English proficiency,
race / ethnicity, and marital status were associated with their knowledge
gains from the program. Policy and practice implications for developing
effective financial management training for the low-income population are
Patient Insurance Status and Do-not-resuscitate
Orders: Survival of the Richest?
This study investigated the effect of patient insurance status upon physicians’
decisions to write do-not-resuscitate orders (DNRs). Ninety-four
physicians completed a questionnaire consisting of demographic data and
a case vignette. In addition to the main research question, the study explored
the effect of religious affiliation on writing DNRs and performing “slow
codes.” Results indicate that insurance status has a significant effect upon
the likelihood of writing a DNR, with physicians more likely to write DNRs
for patients covered by public (i.e., government-funded, as compared to
private) insurance. Religious affiliation was also significant, with greater
church attendance associated with a lesser likelihood of writing a DNR.
Results should be interpreted with caution; however, findings from this
study support related research, and warrant further exploration.
The Social and Economic Impact of
Sanctions and Time Limits on Recipients of
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
Taryn Lindhorst and Ronald J. Mancoske
A central feature of the reforms enacted through the Personal Responsibility
and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (welfare reform) has been
the adoption of strategies to involuntarily remove Temporary Assistance
to Needy Families (TANF) recipients from the welfare rolls, including
increased use of sanctions and time limits on welfare receipt. Drawing
on data from a three year panel study of women who had been receiving
welfare in a state which adopted stringent sanctioning and time limit
policies, we investigate predictors of recipients’ TANF status after implementation of welfare reform, and identify differences in post-reform
material resources, hardships and quality of life based on TANF status.
Almost half of all welfare case closures during the first time period after
reforms were implemented through involuntary strategies. Relatively few
baseline characteristics predicted different outcomes once welfare time
limits and sanctions were implemented. Those who were timed off welfare
had substantially lower incomes in the year following their removal. One
third of all respondents, regardless of reason for leaving TANF reported
having insufficient food, housing problems and lack of access to needed
The Severely-Distressed African American Family
in the Crack Era: Empowerment is not Enough
Eloise Dunlap, Andrew Golub and Bruce D. Johnson
Numerous African American families have struggled for generations with
persistent poverty, especially in the inner city. These conditions were
further strained during the 1980s and 1990s by the widespread use of crack
cocaine. For many, crack use became an obsession, dominated their lives,
and superseded family responsibilities. This behavior placed additional
pressure on already stressed kin support networks. This paper explores the
processes prevailing in two households during this period. In the 2000s,
children born to members of the Crack Generation are avoiding use of crack
but face major deficits from their difficult childhoods. This presents both
challenges and opportunities. The discussion considers initiatives from
both a social problems and a strengths perspective that could help these
families and help these families help themselves to advance their economic
The Effect of Parental Work History and Public
Assistance Use on the Transition to Adulthood
Stephanie Cosner Berzin, Allison C. De Marco, Terry V. Shaw,
George J. Unick and Sean R. Hogan
Though available data suggest a relationship between poverty and emerging
adulthood, fewer studies have been conducted to assess whether parental
work or public assistance mediates these outcomes. Using the National
Survey of Families and Households, this study examines the effect of workreliant
versus welfare-reliant households on youth outcomes (i.e., welfare
use, education, idleness, and income) during the transition to adulthood.
Examining parents from Wave 1 and older youth from Wave 2, researchers
linked childhood poverty, parents’ work history, family income from work,
years on public assistance, and family income from public assistance with
youth outcomes. Consistent with previous research, links exist between
poverty in childhood and transition outcomes; however, these outcomes are
not mediated by parental work history or extent of welfare reliance during
childhood. Multivariate analyses indicate that growing up in a heavily
work-oriented environment or a heavily welfare-reliant environment made
little difference in the youth’s ability to successfully transition to adulthood.
Results are discussed in terms of their implications for welfare policy.
From “Poor” to “Not Poor”:
Improved Understandings and the
Advantage of the Qualitative Approach
Eleanor Wint and Christine Frank
Re-analysis of qualitative data generated in six Country Poverty Assessments
in the Caribbean, suggests that traditional ways of seeing the poor
might well lead to unfair categorisation of a people who are unwilling to
be seen as living in poverty. Use of qualitative data software was able
to bring out new understandings of the conceptual difference between
being poor and living in poverty. Wint and Frank suggest that this is
a distinction which those responsible for designing and implementing
poverty intervention strategies would be wise to bear in mind as it would
allow for creative and timely use of community-based strengths.
Citizen Participation in Neighborhood
Organizations in Poor Communities
and its Relationship to Neighborhood
and Organizational Collective Efficacy
Mary Ohmer and Elizabeth Beck
Collective efficacy describes residents’ perceptions regarding their ability to
work with their neighbors to intervene in neighborhood issues to maintain
social control and solve problems. This study examines whether citizen
participation in neighborhood organizations located in poor communities
is related to neighborhood and organizational collective efficacy among
residents. The results indicate that the more residents participated in
their neighborhood organization, the greater their level of organizational
collective efficacy, but not neighborhood collective efficacy. The results of
the current study will help support social workers and other community
practitioners understand how to effectively facilitate citizen participation
in ways that enhance collective efficacy in poor communities. Implications
for social work practice and research are discussed.
Social Assistance and the Challenges of
Poverty and Inequality in Azerbaijan,
a low-income country in transition
Nazim N. Habibov and Lida Fan
Although low-income countries in transition are facing the challenges
of poverty and inequality, evidence on the performance of safety nets in
these countries is scarce. This article uses micro-file data from a nationally
representative household budget survey to analyze the existing social
assistance programs in Azerbaijan, a low income country in transition,
from the perspectives of poverty and inequality reduction. The empirical
evidence presented in this paper indicates that the poverty and inequality
reduction effectiveness of social assistance programs is inadequate. First,
the benefits are very modest and the poor receive only a small proportion
of them. Second, some programs are not aimed at poverty reduction by
design. Third, the heterogeneous nature of poverty and the significant
scale of shadow economy during transition make the identification of the
poor complicated. Finally, the existing patchwork of numerous programs
with small-scale benefits is costly and administratively demanding. A
consolidated and better designed social assistance program is needed to
effectively tackle the challenges of poverty and inequality in Azerbaijan.
THE SEQUENTIAL COSTS OF POVERTY: WHAT
TRADITIONAL MEASURES OVERLOOK
Elizabeth A. Segal and Laura R. Peck
This research note proposes an addition to the poverty measurement debate.
Motivated by dissatisfaction with the official poverty measure, which
many scholars and practitioners share, we propose the use of sequential
costs of poverty to enrich the poverty measure so that it might capture
more closely the life-experiences of low-income families. After presenting
some background on poverty measurement, this research note explores
the conceptual framework that surrounds the notion of sequential costs.
Drawing on our past research, we propose ways in which these sequential
costs surface, with illustrative examples fromhealth, employment, housing,
and income maintenance.
WELFARE TO WEB TO WORK: INTERNET JOB
SEARCHING AMONG FORMER WELFARE CLIENTS
Steve McDonald and Robert E. Crew, Jr.
This study provides the first empirical test of whether searching for jobs
on the Internet can help people gain access to high quality jobs. Using
new data from former welfare clients in Florida, we present results from
a multivariate regression analysis of Internet job searching on wages and
on a number of job benefits. On average, Internet job searchers receive
better jobs than people who conducted more traditional job searches, net of
numerous control variables. These findings suggest that welfare recipients
have a great deal to gain from searching for their jobs on the Internet.
Home Ownership and Social Inequality in Comparative
Karen Kurtz and Hans-Peter Blossfeld (Eds.).
Reviewed by James Lee.
Legalizing Gay Marriage.
Reviewed by Ronald J. Mancoske.
Double Jeopardy: Adolescent Offenders with Mental Disorders.
Reviewed by JamesW. Callicutt.
The Politics of Multiracialism: Challenging Racial Thinking.
Heather M. Dalmage (Ed.).
Reviewed byWilma Peebles-Wilkins.
The Future of the Welfare State: Crisis Myths and Crisis Realities.
Francis G. Castels.
Reviewed by Charles Guzetta.
Healing from the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Journey
Karen A. Duncan.
Reviewed by Carol T. Tully.
Social Policy for Development.
Anthony Hall and James Midgley.
Democracy in Action: Community Organizing and Urban
Residential Care: Horizons for a New Century.
Hans Goran Eriksson and Torill Tjelflaat (Eds.).
Concepts and Strategies for Combating Social Exclusion: An
Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization and Abortion in
Public Health and Welfare.
The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of