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Policy Paper

Culture is Healing: Removing the Barriers Facing Providers of Culturally Responsive Services

January 2024

Ensuring child and family well-being requires a radically different, anti-racist response of supports that center the voices of diverse children and families of color, are dignified and strengths-based, and that are offered in spaces they trust. As this brief highlights, community-based organizations across the country are striving to answer that call despite numerous barriers. This brief lifts up the voices of those community providers, with the goal of highlighting and addressing the barriers that stand in the way of all families having the support they need.

Watch the webinar here

(19 pp)

Culture Of Healing Small Report Cover Page
Policy Paper

Explainer: Why Racial Disparities in IRS Auditing Practices are an Urgent Matter of Family Economic Security

November 2023

This brief discusses the racial disparities in auditing that are an urgent matter of family economic security, and redressing those disparities to ensure that all families can file their taxes without fear of unjust surveillance or retribution.

(3 pp)

Small Cover Policy Explainer Why Racial Disparities In Irs Auditing
Policy Paper

Designed to Keep You Down: TANF Creates Obstacles for Families Even as it Provides Critical Support

October 2023

This report shares findings from research conducted by the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and parents participating in Project SPARC (Student Parents Are Reimagining CalWORKs), a project of the CalWORKs Association.

(26 pp)

Designed To Keep You Down Calworks Cover Small2023
Policy Paper

Supporting Youth Aging Out of Foster Care through SNAP

October 2023

The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 (FRA) includes new provisions which should eliminate some of the barriers former foster youth have  experienced in accessing SNAP. This brief explains the new rules and the steps that state agencies can take to ensure that former foster youth are able to access the critical nutrition assistance they are now owed.

This brief updates a version originally published in 2016.

(11 pp)

Small Cover Supporting Youth Aging Out Of Foster Care With Snap 2023
Policy Paper

Housing is a Barrier for Parenting Students

September 2023

In 2022, the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Project SPARC conducted research to better understand the barriers experienced by parenting students participating in CalWORKs, California’s cash assistance program for families with children. This brief highlights findings from the research on parenting students’ experiences with housing.

(8 pp)

Housing Is A Barrier For Parenting Students
Policy Paper

Parenting Students Need More Support Transferring to a Four-Year Institution

September 2023

In 2022, the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Project SPARC conducted research to better understand the barriers experienced by parenting students in CalWORKs, California’s cash assistance program for families with children. This brief highlights findings from the research on parenting students’ experiences transferring to four-year institutions.

(5 pp)

Parenting Students Need More Support Transferring To A Four Year Institution
Policy Paper

Public Systems Create & Compound Mental Health Challenges for Parenting Students

September 2023

In 2022, the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Project SPARC conducted research to better understand the barriers experienced by parenting students participating in CalWORKs, California’s cash assistance program for families with children. This brief highlights findings from the research on how public systems too often cause and exacerbate stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges for parenting students and their families. While parenting students persevere in order to support their children and pursue their goals, these systemic problems slow their progress and undermine their health and well-being over the long term.

(5 pp)

Public Systems Create & Compound Mental Health Challenges For Parenting Students
Policy Paper

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): A Vital Resource for Children, Youth, and Families

June 2023

This brief highlights the experiences of children, youth, and families with SNAP, and offers recommendations for improving SNAP so it can more effectively meet families’ needs moving forward. SNAP has the power to advance racial and economic justice.

(3 pp)

SUpplemental Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP
Policy Paper

Child Care is a Barrier for Parenting Students

June 2023

In 2022, the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Project SPARC conducted research to better understand the barriers experienced by parenting students participating in CalWORKs, California’s cash assistance program for families with children. This brief highlights findings from the research on parenting students’ experiences with child care. For parenting students, the lack of accessible and affordable child care is a significant barrier because parents must first ensure that their children are taken care of before they can dedicate time and energy to class, study time, and work.

(9 pp)

Michelle H South Carolina Executive Summary (1)
Policy Paper

Caring for Each Other: What it Takes to Promote Mental Health and Well-Being

May 2023

Our public policies and systems do not provide all families with the services and supports they deserve and have historically either excluded Black families. We must center families who are marginalized or excluded by our systems and policies, by creating shared principles that can guide efforts to promote health and well-being both within and outside of health systems. This brief shares eight things that we owe all children, youth, and families to promote mental health and well-being.

(3 pp)

Caring For Each Other What It Takes To Promote Mental Health And Wellbeing