Current News

States Challenge 'Aging Out' of the Foster Care System
Young people from foster care face the same problems as many young adults face but without the supports of a permanent family. When these young adults "age out" of the system at 18, they are more likely to face adverse results. In an effort to combat this, many states have changed the foster age cutoff from 18 to 21, which extends benefits. This has produced some positive results but also provides challenges in reshaping the system. Read the Stateline article to find out more, HERE
Page Announcement
In an effort to better represent the policy scope of this page, Women In Government is changing its name to, "Economic Stability and Opportunities." This policy resource center seeks to help individuals and families achieve financial stability and increased access to opportunities. We feel that the new name more accurately reflects the overall goals of the ESO resource center and resonates with our audiences more. Please be aware that WIG is still in the process of changing the names on all of our materials. Some may reflect our old title, "Economic Security and Opportunities," but will be changed as soon as possible.  
Measuring Access to Opportunity
This new KIDS COUNT data snapshot, illustrates how traditional methods of measuring poverty may paint an innaccurate picture of the actual state of poverty in the United States. The brief introduces the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to give a more accurate picture of how families are faring and what public programs are working. This can be useful to policy makers who would like to see how effective specific government interventions have been in decreasing poverty rates. Access the Data Snapshot HERE.  
Juvenile Incarceration Reform
New York City's Board of Correction approved a new rule which prohibits the use of solitary confinement to punish inmates aged 21 and under on Rikers Island. The rationale of the reform is that because their brains are still developing, young people are more vulnerable to the destructive psychological effects of extended isolation. This new rule provides an incremental step toward greater juvenile incarceration reforms. Read more, HERE
Dueling Measures of Poverty in the United States
The U.S. Census Bureau utilizes two different measures of poverty which show different pictures of low-income America. The official measure does not take into account most safefy net programs. States that benefit from these programs may end up looking much poorer than reality. The Supplemental Poverty Measure takes into account safety net benefits, cost of living, and other adjustments that states receive. An interactive map released by Pew displays state by state differences in these measures. To view how your state ranks, you can access the original Pew article HERE
New Research Studies What Happens to Housing Assistance Leavers
The goal of housing assistance programs is to encourage asset building and self-sufficiency. Research released by the Urban Institute studies why families leave housing assistance and how they cope when assistance ends. This research found that individuals who have left housing assistance appear to be doing better than those still receiving assistance. Those who left due to negative reasons appear to be worse off than those who left for positive reasons. This research can provide policy makers with insights into developing targeted assistance programs and can be found here.   
Suburbs See Poverty Rise
Across the country, there are now more impoverished people living in suburbs than living in cities. Poverty in the United States is a complex issue and traditional views have yet to catch up with changing realities.The number of Americans living below the federal poverty level rose from 33.9 million to 46.2 million between 2000 to 2011 and the number of suburban poor grew by 64 percent. This shift from urban poor to suburban poor may require changes to policies regarding poverty. To learn more read the Stateline article, here
Child Well-being in 2014: New KIDS COUNT Data Book from AECF
The Kids Count Data Book is an annual publication released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It assesses child welfare across the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The 2014 Kids Count Data Book is the Casey Foundation's 25th edition of its signature publication. The report utilizes 16 indicators to rank states in overall child well-being. There are also four domains in which states are ranked: 1) economic well-being 2) education 3) health 4) family and community. To find out how your state ranks, follow the link here
The Supreme Court and Juvenile Justice in 2014
The Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by juvenile-justice advocates to revisit the sentences of inmates convicted as juveniles for murder and sentenced to life without parole. According to Governing, in light of the Court's 2012 decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that children under 18 convicted of homicide could no longer receive mandatory sentences of life without parole, there has been much discussion and confusion about the retroactive application of this decision. While some states like Texas have said the decision is retroactive, others like Pennsylvania are restricting its application. (Read More)
The Job Outlook in 2014
Job creation remains the first priority for states in 2014. "From its highest to lowest point, the U.S. economy lost 8.74 million jobs during the recession. Since employment bottomed out in early 2010, jobs have risen by 7.45 million. Moody’s expects employment to return to its previous peak in mid-2014." (Stateline, 2014) In its "State of the States", Stateline takes a more in-depth look at the country's job outlook, analyzing indicators across states and industries. (Read More)
Equal Pay Day - April 8, 2014
As we recognize Equal Pay Day, the gender pay gap persists, ranging from women making 77 percent to 84 percent of what their male counterparts earn. Some measurements include both part-time and full-time workers and if you look at the pay gap for young women, it appears that they have almost caught up, making 93 percent of what their male counterparts earn. The pay gap persists for various reasons including women taking career interruptions to raise a family, women continuing to work in lower paying occupations, and general gender discrimination. To read more, click here.
Race for Results: A New AECF Report
Examining kids, race, and opportunity, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has published a new report titled "Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children" (2014). The report presents a new Race for Results index featuring 12 indicators that measure children's success across racial and ethnic groups at the national and state level. Read the full report here.
The EITC in 2014: Potential Expansion in the States?
In 2014, nine states have introduced bills that would create (4 states) or expand (5 states) the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a credit that works as a rebate for state taxes paid by the working poor. Learn more about the history, state policy action, and current analysis of this program here. You can also view additional information here in our resource center.
A New Look at the Gender Wage Gap: Variations by State
In 2012, American women made an average of 80.9 cents for every dollar males earned. A recent report from Stateline finds that the gender wage gap varies widely from state to state. In Wyoming, women made 65.5 percent of men's earnings compared to D.C. where women make 94.8 cents for every dollar males earn. Reasons for these disparities across states include prevelance of certain male-dominated industries in each state and the supermajority held by women in minimum wage jobs. To read more, click here.
Persistently High Unemployment Among Youth
As we begin 2014, the New York Times examines a new report on persistently high unemployment among youth. In the short-term, it's estimated that the costs of youth unemployment are approximately $25 billion in uncollected taxes and modest increases in social welfare spending. In the long-term, these youth will face greater challenges as they attempt to "catch up" to a more secure economic situation. This article considers youth work programs similar to those used by baby boomers as an option for improving their economic outcomes. To read more, click here.
Lumina Foundation: Strategy Labs to Increase Higher Education Attainment
The Lumina Foundation's "Goal 2025" is designed to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality college degrees, certificates, or other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. The Foundation created Strategy Labs as a means of gathering leaders and influencers to move this goal forward. The Strategy Labs feature state by state educational attainment data, different options that states can pursue to raise attainment rates, and access to the most recent research in the field. You can visit the Strategy Labs here.
New Census Numbers Reveal Some Economic Improvements but Overall Stagnation

Census results for 2012 are out and they reveal that while there have been some economic improvements- two million jobs added, increased corporate profits, and economic growth- households are experiencing stagnation. Incomes have remained the same in every region except the west where incomes have increased; primarily due to improvements in five states. From 2011 to 2012 the poverty level stayed at 15 percent and the gender wage gap has not moved. To read more, click here.

After Supreme Court Decision, States Revisit their Sentencing Laws
Since the Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama, which determined that mandatory life sentences for offenders under 18 are cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional, many states are revisiting their sentencing laws. Stateline explains that states are taking different approaches but all have to contend with important concerns such as retroactively applying the decision to current offenders, the impact on victims and their families, and the differences in treatment of juveniles and adults. To read more, click here.
The State of U.S. Housing in 2013
The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University has released their 2013 report on the State of the Nation's Housing. This report shows the marked improvements the housing market has experienced during the last few years. From 2011 to 2012 the market saw a sharp change with housing prices beginning to increase. However, the housing recovery remains modest due to issues such as lower family incomes, lack of access to credit, and less access to affordable housing. To view the webinar, click here. To read the full report, click here.
New Release from the Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released its 2013 Kids Count Data Book, revealing new statistics on family and community, education, economic well-being, and health issues faced by American youth. Out of 29 OECD members, the U.S. ranks 26th in overall child well-being. Child poverty continues to increase and economic well-being of children has decreased. However, there have been improvements in some areas with more children having health insurance and fewer teens abusing drugs and alcohol. To read the full data book, click here.
State of America's Economy: 2013 Update
A recent report from the Center for American Progress shows moderate gains as the U.S. continues on the road to recovery. Economic growth continues to increase and the labor market has seen limited gains. The housing market is also showing good signs of recovery but foreclosure still remains an issue for many homeowners. Income inequality is also in its worst state since the 1960s. Americans continue to lose wealth and household debt grows every day with the most vulnerable populations experiencing the most difficult situations. To read more of this report, click here.
Analyzing the Long-term Effect of Unemployment on Economic Security

Between 1999 and 2009, one third of American families experienced unemployment. A recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts analyzes the substantial impact that unemployment has on families and their resources. In order to manage periods of unemployment, individuals often rely on personal savings, home equity, family and friends, institutional resources, and more risky options like payday loans. In many cases, these alternative income options deplete resources set aside for retirement and college payments and/or raise debt levels. To read the full report, click here.

Economic Security in a Changing Economy
"The Cornerstones of Economic Security for Resilient Workers: A Policy Framework for Shared Action", recently published by the National Governors Association, "explores the nature of ongoing economic changes, the meaning of economic security in today’s economy and the roles that government, business, the civic sector and individuals play to create a new approach better suited to current and future economic and social conditions." To read the report, click here.
Lower levels of wealth for Generations X and Y
“Today, people in their 20s and 30s (Generations X and Y) have accumulated less wealth than their parents when they were the same age about 25 years ago.” (Urban Institute) This decline in wealth is largely due to factors such as stagnant wages, diminishing job opportunities, lost home values, and large amounts of student loan debt. If this trend is not reversed, safety net programs could be stretched even further while exacerbating levels of wealth inequality in the U.S. To read more, click here.
Personal Finance for Low- and Middle- Income Families
The options available for higher income families to build economic security are very different than those options available to families in other income groups. Robert Lerman and Eugene Steuerle explain that human capital remains the most important asset for low- and middle- income families. To develop this asset, policy makers can consider ways to lower high school drop out rates and encourage diverse initiatives like apprenticeship programs. The most important nonhuman capital asset is Social Security benefits, from which employees can benefit most if they have a steady work record. More from the Urban Institute here.
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