Children and Families: Public Welfare

Child Care and Children with Special Needs: Challenges for Low Income Families: Parents' Voices

Abstract: 

This report represents the first, exploratory phase of a larger study to learn about the experiences of low income families of children with special needs in finding and keeping child care and balancing work and family. Our interest in this area focused on a number of policy arenas including the child care system, workplace policies, welfare reform and the system of early intervention and special education for children zero to five. We recognized that all of these programs and policies affected employment decisions and strategies and the ability of parents to balance work with the needs of their families. Given the complexity of our study, we chose to begin by conducting qualitative research with families in order to explore what issues were involved and what methodologies in the larger study would best address those issues. Therefore, during the first year of our three-year study, we conducted focus groups and in-depth,
semi-structured interviews with parents and guardians of children with special needs. These were held between May 20th and November 13th, 2002.We hope that these and the other findings that emerge from our research will help bring the voices of these parents into the debates about child care, welfare reform and special education that are taking place at the state and federal level. Our aim in conducting the research in the manner we did, was to emphasize for policy makers the importance of looking across policies and programs to understand how the system as a whole affects this population of children and families. By focusing on the families’ experiences first, and then looking at all the sectors of the system which serve them, we hope by the end of this project to provide a sense of where inconsistencies in policies, gaps in services and fragmentation of programs may be making the work/family balance for these families more difficult.

Suggested Citation: Ward H, Atkins J, Herrick A, et al.  Child Care and Children With Special Needs: Challenges for Low Income Families: Parents' Voices.   Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service; April 2004.

Publication Type: 
Report
Publish Date: 
April 1, 2004
URL: 
http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/Publications/CYF/Children-With-Special-Needs-Parents-Voices.pdf

2012 Maine Child Support Guidelines: Review and Recommendations

Abstract: 

Ward, S., Daley, J., Fraumeni, B., Shaler, G., Griffin, E., Knox, M., Hallett, L., & Mandeville, L. (2012, July). 2012 Maine child support guidelines: Review and recommendations. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy. <br></br>
Prepared for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Family Independence, Division of Child Support Enforcement. This report summarizes the quadrennial review of Maine's child support guidelines conducted by the USM Muskie School , which complies with federal law requiring each state's child support guidelines be reviewed at least once every four years. Principle findings of the extensive review by the Muskie School show that many aspects of Maine's child support system work well. Maine's low deviation rate reflects a reasonably high level of consistency in apply the guidelines, and in large part, protect the needs and interests of the children. The report provides background and overview of child support modes and the Maine guidelines, and describes the elements of the review: Literature Review, Policy Analysis, Economic Analysis, Deviation Study, Stakeholder Input, Interviews with other State Child Support Officials, and concludes with several findings and recommendations. For additional information about the report or the study, contact Janice Daley at the Muskie School (jdaley@usm.maine.edu).

Publication Type: 
Report
Publish Date: 
July 31, 2012

Maine Nutrition Network

Duration: 
1/1/2005 - 1/30/2006
Abstract: 

Under the auspices of the Maine Nutrition Network (MNN), nutrition education projects are designed and implemented through collaborative partnerships with various community agencies, organizations and individuals. The goal of MNN projects is to create an environment where Maine adults and youth make informed food and physical activity choices that support optimal health. MNN projects, which are targeted to participants in the USDA Food Stamp Program, include nutrition training and support for teachers, a nutrition social marketing campaign and training and technical assistance for the Healthy Maine Partnerships as they create supportive environments in their communities. MNN also provides Network partners a forum for networking and opportunities to participate in professional development activities.

Start Date: 
Sat, 2005-01-01
End Date: 
Mon, 2006-01-30
Legacy Muskie ID: 
2953

Maine Nutrition Network (MNN)

Duration: 
1/1/2004 - 1/30/2005
Abstract: 

Under the auspices of the Maine Nutrition Network (MNN), nutrition education projects are designed and implemented through collaborative partnerships with various community agencies, organizations and individuals. The goal of the MNN is to create an environment where Maine adults and children make informed food choices that support optimal nutritional health. Nutrition education projects and activities, which are targeted to food stamp recipients, include nutrition training and support for teachers, nutrition education at farmer?s markets, training and technical assistance for the Healthy Maine Partnerships as they create supportive nutrition environments in their communities and a social marketing campaign to promote nutrition and physical activity and healthy food choices. Partners are also provided a forum for networking and opportunities to participate in MNN sponsored professional development activities.

Project URL: 
http://www.maine-nutrition.org/
Start Date: 
Thu, 2004-01-01
End Date: 
Sun, 2005-01-30
Legacy Muskie ID: 
90

OFI Aspire 2012

Duration: 
1/1/2012 - 1/31/2012
Research Staff: 
Melanie Knox
Susan Millett
Abstract: 

Work under this agreement includes several training initiatives designed to help ASPIRE move clients from welfare to work. MSPS staff will develop and facilitate training for supervisory and managerial staff to enhance their ability to support staff responsible for helping clients find employment. Training will focus on the program fundamentals including ASPIRE philosophy, program rules, and effective case management skills. Training will incorporate use of critical thinking tools to thoroughly explore client circumstances and strengths related to work. The training will assist staff in going beyond standard questionnaires and case plans to see the types of connections between information that are necessary to develop workable client placements. MSPS will facilitate one session of TANF Orientation training for new presenters. MSPS will also work with an ASPIRE workgroup to update the online training manual that supervisors use when training new ASPIRE Specialists to ensure that it reflects the ASPIRE philosophy and updated OFI/ASPIRE policies practices.

Start Date: 
Sun, 2012-01-01
End Date: 
Tue, 2012-01-31
Legacy Muskie ID: 
8491

Child Care and Children with Special Needs: Challenges for Low Income Families

Duration: 
1/1/2001 - 1/30/2004
Director: 
Helen Ward
Abstract: 

<p>This project, conducted in Maine, examined the child care and work challenges of low income families with children with special needs. Faced with the often impossible task of finding suitable, stable child care for their special needs child, many parents are nevertheless forced by economic necessity to join the labor force. Despite the higher incidence of disabilities and chronic health problems among low income children, there has been surprisingly little research done about the experiences of these families in balancing work and family.</p>

<p>Staff from the Cutler Institute, Children, Youth and Families Program area, conducted a three-year study funded by the Child Care Bureau, Administration for Children, Youth and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to learn more about the challenges of this vulnerable subpopulation. While our primary focus was on access to child care, we also examined the related issues of welfare reform, the impact on work force participation of having a child with special needs, and the issue of coordination of early intervention services under the Individuals with Disabilities Act with the child care system.</p>

<p>Our goal was to understand better the issues facing low income families with children with special needs across the programs and policies affecting their employment, access to child care and meeting the special needs of their children. We conducted focus groups of parents and individual, in-depth interviews with child care and other service providers who interact with this population. We also conducted a statewide survey of child care providers and parents of children with special needs. Lastly, we analyzed data from the National Survey of America

Project URL: 
http://muskie.usm.maine.edu/specialneeds
Start Date: 
Mon, 2001-01-01
End Date: 
Fri, 2004-01-30
Legacy Muskie ID: 
1767
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