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Abstracts from Volume 33, Number 1
(March, 2006)

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
Education Program

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
discussed.

Patient Insurance Status and Do-not-resuscitate Orders: Survival of the Richest?
Gigi Nordquist
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 medical care.

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 circumstances.

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.

RESEARCH NOTES

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 IN FLORIDA
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.

BOOK REVIEWS
Home Ownership and Social Inequality in Comparative Perspective.
Karen Kurtz and Hans-Peter Blossfeld (Eds.).
Reviewed by James Lee.

Legalizing Gay Marriage.
Michael Mello.
Reviewed by Ronald J. Mancoske.

Double Jeopardy: Adolescent Offenders with Mental Disorders.
Thomas Grisso.
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 for Women.
Karen A. Duncan.
Reviewed by Carol T. Tully.

BOOK NOTES
Social Policy for Development.
Anthony Hall and James Midgley.

Democracy in Action: Community Organizing and Urban Change.
Kristina Smock.

Residential Care: Horizons for a New Century.
Hans Goran Eriksson and Torill Tjelflaat (Eds.).

Concepts and Strategies for Combating Social Exclusion: An Overview.
Jordi Estivill.

Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare.
Johanna Schoen.

The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire.
Cynthia Enloe.

 

 

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