Policy Supports for Low-Income Families with Young Children: Implications for Parentsí Employment and Family Wellbeing
The first paper uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and a difference-in-difference design to show how the generosity of state-administered programs supporting parents of young children - Medicaid, WIC and TANF – and the availability of paid leave through state TDI and/or PFL programs affect the likelihood that less-educated mothers will quit a job during pregnancy or following birth, which has implications for family resources and maternal and child wellbeing. The second paper focuses on low-income fathers of young children, a group that receives little attention in this field of research, and childcare, a key support for disadvantaged new parents. Using a sample of low-income fathers of young children in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study, the authors show how childcare characteristics and instability matter for fathers’ work disruptions (missing work and job quits), experiences of work-family conflict, and fathers’ parenting stress. The third paper looks in detail at two types of state-level programs that may be particularly important to low-income families with a new infant – TANF and TDI/PFL – and turns the attention from parental employment to family resources and overall financial wellbeing. This study shows how measures of TANF generosity and the availability of paid leave through TDI and/or PFL predict whether families will receive financial support from the TANF program immediately following a birth, and the likelihood the family will report experiences of material hardship during the infants’ first year of life. Each presentation will discuss implications for social work and social welfare research, policy and practice.