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Poor Job Quality Keeps Women of Color from Economic Opportunity

July 8, 2022

More than two years into the public health emergency, individuals and families continue to experience the ongoing economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent job numbers show that the U.S. economy is on a path to recovery as jobs return and labor force participation increases at a steady pace. However, even with these positive trends, women of color continue to face disproportionate challenges.To create an equitable path forward in economic recovery, we must ensure that the quality of jobs grows alongside the number of people employed. Building a resilient and sustainable recovery for women of color requires addressing the lack of benefits, worker protections, and well-paying jobs so that women of color can thrive.

Disproportionately Impacted: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap through Student Loan Cancellation, Payment Reforms, and Investment in College Affordability

June 8, 2022

In this paper, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) explore the disproportionate impact of student debt on Black borrowers. We also make recommendations to address the dual student loan and college affordability crises through federal policies and executive action. These steps include administrative action to extend the student loan payment pause; ensure a smooth transition of loan accounts to new servicers; provide increased protections for borrowers, particularly those who are victims of predatory lending and for-profit colleges; improve existing repayment options, including Income-Driven Repayment (IDR); and invest in college affordability through federal grants like the Pell Grant, a federal free community college program, and support for student basic needs.

Subsidized Jobs for People Experiencing or At-Risk of Homelessness

May 27, 2021

This advocacy resource makes the case for why Congress must enact an equity-centered national subsidized employment program as a part of COVID-19 economic recovery legislation, with a special focus on how subsidized employment strategies can benefit jobseekers experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. This resource was produced in partnership among Heartland Alliance, the Center for Law & Social Policy (CLASP), and the National Youth Employment Coalition. Subsidized employment advocates can use this resource to inform visits with elected officials about why subsidized employment must be a part of building back a better, stronger, and more inclusive and equitable economy in the wake of the COVID-19 recession. 

Subsidized Employment: A Proven Strategy for Supporting Rapid Economic Recovery

May 13, 2021

This advocacy resource makes the case for why Congress must enact an equity-centered national subsidized employment programas a part of COVID-19 economic recovery legislation, as called for in the White House's proposed American Jobs Plan. This resource was produced in partnership among Heartland Alliance, the Center for Law & Social Policy (CLASP), and the National Youth Employment Coalition. Subsidized employment advocates can use this resource to inform visits with elected officials about why subsidized employment must be a part of building back a better, stronger, and more inclusive and equitable economy in the wake of the COVID-19 recession. 

Parents And Children Thriving Together: A Framework For Two-Generation Policy And System Reform

January 1, 2020

This brief explores the lessons learned from the 2016 Parents and Children Thriving Together: Two Generation State Policy Network (PACTT Network), a collaboration between the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) with funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Through this initiative, five states explored how to use the two-generation approach to improve their state systems that serve children and parents. This brief summarizes the lessons learned from the two-year initiative and provides a framework to help guide state leaders trying to implement two-generation strategies.

State and Federal Policy Opportunities to Improve the Lives of Infants and Toddlers and their Families

December 11, 2018

As a nation, we are failing our youngest children. Too many infants and toddlers in the United States lack the resources they need to thrive during this formative period, putting them at risk of poor health, material hardship, and chronic stress. The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and ZERO TO THREE call on federal and state policymakers to embrace a bold policy agenda—one that invests in and optimizes proven programs and seizes new opportunities to make policies work better for families with young children. For such policies to be successful, increased state and federal resources are vital. Current investments are insufficient to meet the needs of families with young children, hampering the effectiveness and accessibility of public policies and programs. The following brief summarizes a number of policy considerations for legislators and program administrators.

Michigan’s Infant and Toddler Action Agenda: A Policy and Opportunity Profile for Michigan’s Infants and Toddlers and Their Families

November 7, 2018

Michigan has over 330,000 infants and toddlers. Current policies aren't meeting their needs. Children's growth and development are shaped by early life experiences. Good health, secure and stable families, and positive early learning environments foster children's physical, intellectual, and social-emotional development. This profile providesdemographic information about Michigan's infants and toddlers and their families. It also explains the current policy landscape, including threats and opportunities at the state level, as well as proposed policy actions to improve wellbeing.

Building Strong Foundations: Racial Inequity in Policies that Impact Infants, Toddlers, and Families

November 1, 2018

Infants and toddlers of color and their families have been systematically denied opportunities and access to resources. Addressing disparities will require an expanded investment in public programs for families with low incomes, along with public policy reforms that reduce structural inequality.

Eliminating Asset Limits: Creating Savings for Families and State Governments

April 20, 2018

This paper examines how asset limits run counter to the goals of TANF and SNAP of supporting recipients in work and enabling them to advance economically.

Maternal Depression and Young Adult Mental Health: Key Policy Agenda for Systems that Support Mental Health and Wellness

February 13, 2018

Three million Americans living in poverty are either a mother who has experienced depression or a young adult who has experienced serious psychological distress during the past year. Untreated mental health needs have significant consequences for mothers and young adults as well as their families. This is especially true for low-income people. It is essential to create policy that better meets their mental health needs to ensure their healthy development and long-term success. This report makes the case for CLASP's new foundation-funded effort to strengthen Medicaid, mental health, and human services policy at the federal and state levels to improve outcomes for families and young adults living in poverty. The goals of this initiative are to: (a) develop frameworks for identifying and treating maternal depression among parents of young children as well as improved access to high-quality mental health supports for youth; and (b) help a small number of selected states implement important aspects of the two frameworks. CLASP is uniquely positioned to bridge diverse stakeholders, analyze and identify policy opportunities, and support states interested in advancing this policy agenda. Across numerous fields, policymakers and stakeholders must work together to foster equitable health and economic outcomes for low-income mothers and young adults living in poverty. This work is essential to building systems support all low-income people's mental health and wellness.

Medicaid Works: No Work Requirement Necessary

December 1, 2017

Several states have submitted proposals for Medicaid waivers to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that include work requirements. While work requirements are new to health programs, we have decades of experience with such requirements in other safety net programs, specifically cash assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Ideas and language put forth by states in their Medicaid waivers are clearly drawn from these programs. We know from these programs that the main effect of work requirements is to discourage enrollment, with little effect on employment outcomes. This document translates many of the lessons learned from TANF and SNAP to Medicaid.

Equity Starts Early: Addressing Racial Inequities in Child Care and Early Education Policy

December 1, 2017

Child care and early education policies are shaped by a history of systemic and structural racism. As a result, there are major racial disparities in children's access to quality child care that meets their cultural and linguistic needs and enables their parents to work. Early care and education workers are overwhelmingly in low-quality jobs with inadequate compensation. And workers of color are often relegated to the lowest-paid positions.According to research, high-quality child care and early education is critical to children's development and family economic stability, particularly for low-income children and parents. It is critical that children of all racial, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds have equitable access to quality early childhood programs. Further, such programs should employ a diverse workforce with equitable access to high-quality jobs that include compensation reflecting the importance and difficulty of their work as well as the field's increasing qualifications.Addressing racial inequities in the early childhood system will require increased investments at the state and federal levels and smart policy decisions about expectations for, and delivery of, child care and early education.