Session: Leveraging Administrative Data to Better Understand Policy and Program Impacts Among Vulnerable Children and Families (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

148 Leveraging Administrative Data to Better Understand Policy and Program Impacts Among Vulnerable Children and Families

Friday, January 13, 2023: 3:45 PM-5:15 PM
Maryvale B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Research Design and Measurement
Symposium Organizer:
Alejandra Pilarz, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Letitia Passarella, University of Maryland at Baltimore
Understanding the effects of policies and programs on the wellbeing of children and families, particularly vulnerable and marginalized families, is often challenging due to data limitations. Survey methodologies are hampered by small sample sizes, underrepresentation of vulnerable or marginalized groups, and potentially inaccurate measures stemming from measurement error and nonresponse bias. Administrative data records can overcome some of these challenges and are increasingly being used to understand the effects of local, state, and federal policies and programs, as they provide data on a large population, can be used to analyze subgroups that are often missing or too small in surveys, and do not rely on respondents' participation or recall. The purpose of this symposium is to highlight novel uses of administrative data records from two states--Washington and Wisconsin--to understand the effects of policies and programs on the wellbeing of vulnerable children and families. Each paper will highlight the pros and cons and best practices for working with administrative records. An expert in family policy and administrative data will provide discussant comments on the implications of the studies for research, policy, and practice.

Using merged administrative records from Washington, the first paper describes the creation of a uniquely detailed, population-level administrative dataset for examining the effects of a city-level minimum wage policy on subgroups of workers who are particularly at risk of exclusion from labor market opportunities: young workers and workers of color, including Asian American and Native American/Alaska Native workers, groups often functionally excluded from probability-based samples. Preliminary analyses show that the administrative dataset captures more workers with very low earnings, younger workers, and Black workers relative to Census estimates.

The second paper uses linked birth, hospitalization, and child protective system (CPS) administrative records for all children born in Washington between 1999 and 2013 to examine the risk for a subsequent CPS report among young children who experienced a child maltreatment-related hospitalization. Findings show that a significant proportion of children who experienced a child maltreatment-related hospitalization, but were not removed by CPS, experienced a subsequent CPS report indicating recurrent concerns of maltreatment.

The third and fourth papers use administrative data records merged across multiple public systems and programs in Wisconsin to examine the extent to which the safety net buffered separated parents' earnings losses in the months immediately following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The dataset provides a detailed accounting of parents' income sources at the quarterly level. The third paper examines the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on noncustodial parents' earnings, unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, and child support outcomes, with preliminary findings indicating that safety net expansions largely mitigated declines in noncustodial parents' child support payments. The fourth paper examines the effects of the pandemic on single mothers' income packages and economic wellbeing, with preliminary findings suggesting that UI expansions offset mothers' earnings losses.

Together, these four papers highlight ways to leverage administrative records to provide new insights into the effectiveness of a variety of policies and programs for addressing complex problems among vulnerable families.

* noted as presenting author
New Data for Examining How a Local Minimum Wage Policy Affects Diverse Young Adults
Jennifer Romich, PhD, University of Washington; Elizabeth Pelletier, MA, MS, University of Washington; Tess Abrahamson-Richards, University of Washington
Subsequent Child Protective Services Involvement after a Child Maltreatment-Related Hospitalization
Kierra Sattler, PhD, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Rebecca Rebbe, PhD, University of Southern California
The Short-Term Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Noncustodial Parents Ability to Pay and Child Support Outcomes
Laura Cuesta, PhD, Rutgers University; Alejandra Pilarz, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Short-Term Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Economic Wellbeing of Single-Mother Families
Alejandra Pilarz, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Laura Cuesta, PhD, Rutgers University
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