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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)

Calwellness Public Systems Create And Compound Mental Health Challenges For Parenting Students Small Cover
Report

CARES: Understanding How Transition Age Youth Experience their Communities

July 2023

This report shares findings taken from a Community Analysis and identifies 1) structural challenges that communities face as they work to support transition age youth (TAY); 2) narratives about TAY that contribute to these challenges and policies and practices that create burdens for TAY in meeting their needs; and 3) creative solutions that build the capacity of communities to affirm, include, and support youth transitioning out of foster care. 

(29 pp)

Understanding How Transition Age Youth Experience Their Communities Small Cover
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)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Small Cover
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

Ending Barriers to Support: Five Arguments Against Work Requirements

May 2023

Safety net programs should ensure that everyone can get support when they need it, yet harsh and cumbersome work requirements put obstacles in the way of much-needed assistance. This brief shares five things everyone should know about work requirements.

Download the infographic featured in the brief.

(3 pp)

Ending Barriers To Support Five Arguments Against Work Requirements Small Cover
Video

SPARC-ing Equity for CalWORKs Parenting Students: Our New Data & Student-Driven Solutions

April 2023

In 2022, CSSP partnered with the California Community Colleges CalWORKs Association’s Project SPARC (Student Parents Are Reimagining CalWORKs) to co-design research to better understand the barriers experienced by parenting students participating in CalWORKs, California’s cash assistance program for families with children. Together, SPARC leaders and CSSP conducted in-depth interviews with parenting students and community college campus CalWORKs staff, as well as surveyed over 600 parenting students. This presentation, led by SPARC parent leaders, shares the research findings, and tells the story of how parenting students balance enormous responsibilities while navigating a range of public systems not designed for their families’ needs.

Sparcing Equity For Calworks Parenting Students Our New Data & Student Driven Solutions
Policy Paper

Let Us Rise: How Parents and Caregivers Would Design a Permanent Child Allowance to Advance Racial and Economic Justice

May 2023

To learn how a child allowance can be designed to meet families’ needs and advance racial and economic justice, CSSP interviewed more than 40 Black, Latinx, and other parents and caregivers of color with low and moderate incomes, asking about their goals for themselves and their families, their experiences with the Child Tax Credit and other programs that helped meet their needs, and what they would need from a permanent child allowance in order to support their families and fulfill their goals.

(26 pp)

Let Us Rise Small Cover
Brief

Understanding the Experiences of Parenting Students and their Families

April 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 who parenting students are and their experiences navigating public systems.
 
(10 pp)
Calwellness Understanding The Experiences Of Parenting Students And Their Families Small Cover
Brief

Meeting Basic Needs is a Challenge for Parenting Students

April 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 meeting their basic needs, including securing housing, child care, transportation, and taking care of their physical and mental health. The high costs of meeting basic needs and inadequate and inaccessible government assistance creates barriers for parenting students as they pursue their educational certificates and degrees.

(8 pp)

Calwellness Meeting Basic Needs Is A Challenge For Parenting Students Small Cover
Brief

Administrative Burdens Create Barriers for Parenting Students

April 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 about parenting students' experiences navigating complicated program rules and requirements, including paperwork. This administrative burden creates significant hurdles for parents as they work toward their educational certificates and degrees.

(6 pp)

Calwellness Administrative Burdens Create Barriers For Parenting Students Small Cover