Monday, December 15, 2014

Welfare, Work, and Poverty Status of Female-Headed Families

Welfare, Work, and Poverty Status of Female-Headed Families with Children: 1987-2013. Thomas Gabe, Specialist in Social Policy, November 21, 2014
“Eighteen years have passed since repeal of what was the nation’s major cash welfare program assisting low-income families with children, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, and its replacement with a block grant of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This report focuses on trends in the economic well-being of female-headed families with children, the principal group affected by the replacement of AFDC with TANF. Female-headed families and their children are especially at risk of poverty, and children in such families account for well over half of all poor children in the United States. For these reasons, single female-headed families continue to be of particular concern to policymakers. The report details trends in income and poverty status of these families, prior and subsequent to enactment of the 1996 welfare reform law and other policy changes. The report focuses especially on welfare dependency and work engagement among single mothers, a major dynamic that welfare reform and accompanying policy changes have attempted to affect. It also examines the role of programs other than TANF in providing support to single female-headed families with children. CRS analysis of 27 years of U.S. Census Bureau data shows that there has been a dramatic transformation with regard to welfare, work, and poverty status of single mothers. The period has seen a marked structural change in the provision of benefits under a number of programs that contribute to the fabric of the nation’s “income safety net.” In turn, single mothers’ behavior has changed markedly over the period; more mothers are working and fewer are relying on cash welfare to support themselves and their children. In the years immediately preceding 1996 welfare reform, and in the years since, the nation’s income safety net has been transformed into one supporting work. Cash-welfare work requirements, the end of cash welfare as an open-ended entitlement by limiting the duration that individuals may receive federally funded benefits, and expanded earnings and family income supplements administered through the federal income tax system have helped to change the dynamics between work and welfare. {More}

Monday, December 08, 2014

KU renews open-access funding

KU has continued its support for an author’s fund to encourage open-access scholarship at all KU and KUMC campuses. The "One University" Open Access Publishing Fund supports KU faculty, staff and student authors who make published research available through the more than 8,000 open access journals. Open access is the policy of making all research authored by university authors available to society at large through an accessible, online database instead of limiting the work to academic journal subscribers. In 2009, KU became the first public university in the United States to institute a faculty-initiated open access policy in regard to research published in peer-review journals.The third year of this pilot program will be supported by $25,000 in funding made available to all KU and KUMC faculty, staff, and graduate students. Applications are now being accepted, and more information regarding revised criteria to apply for funding and to complete the request form can be found at the One University webpage. Questions about the One University fund can be directed here.

Monday, December 01, 2014

David Pendergrass: 2014 H.O.P.E. Award

David Pendergrass, lecturer in undergraduate biology and director of the Molecular Biosciences Degree Completion Program at the KU Edwards Campus, has been awarded this year’s H.O.P.E. Award by the University of Kansas Board of Class Officers. Established by the Class of 1959, the H.O.P.E. Award (Honor for an Outstanding Progressive Educator) recognizes outstanding teaching and concern for students. It is the only KU award for teaching excellence bestowed exclusively by students and is led by the Board of Class Officers. The winner is selected by the senior class members. “I am simply humbled to have received such a distinctive honor from the students themselves,” said Pendergrass, who was honored Nov. 15 during the KU-Texas Christian University football game in Lawrence. “I have been so blessed to have worked with such unbelievably fantastic students over the past 12 years.”
The Molecular Biosciences Degree Completion Program, which began in 2003 now boasts more than 55 students in the major. He teaches graduate and upper undergraduate biochemistry, biochemistry laboratory, neurobiology, brain dissection, developmental biology and mammalian physiology, as well as two seminars during each year in addition to his administrative duties.  {More} (from KU Today, 12-1-14)

Growth in Global E-Commerce Business

Due to improvement of online payment systems and the rapid growth of the applications market, the globale-commerce business has grown tremendously in the last decade. According to eMarketer’s latest forecasts, global business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce sales will reach $1.47 trillion, an increase of 20% from last year. The Asia-Pacific market contributes most of the growth, and is expected to surpass North America to take the global lead in B2C e-commerce sales next year. This is largely due to the upsurge in mobile phone and Internet users in China, India, and Indonesia. With increased access to the Internet and more secure payment options, E-commerce has thrived in the Asia-Pacific region. Although new online shoppers usually start with less costly purchases, the large population in the region plays an important role in the overall growth of e-commerce.  (More)

Country Government Pages  After gathering information from key, trustworthy sources, globalEDGE has implemented new visual displays to give users a clear overview of a country's government structure. Information is included on the main governmental powers in each country, as well as up-to-date information pertaining to the heads of state and election processes. Users can also find information about a country's political risk, tax

Monday, November 24, 2014

Help for families with substance abuse issues

LAWRENCE — The number of children in foster care in Kansas has hit a new record, and one in five of 
those children are there because of issues related to caregiver substance abuse. Researchers in the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare have secured a five-year, $2.9 million grant to help agencies across the state serve the youngest, most vulnerable children and strengthen families affected by substance abuse. The grant, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, will allow KU to partner with state agencies and Kansas’ two foster care agencies and service providers throughout the state to focus on improving safety, well-being and permanency for children up to age 3. Kansas Serves Substance Affected Families is a research project funded through the third round of Regional Partnership Grants from the Children’s Bureau at DHHS, which seek to promote interagency collaboration to enhance services for substance-affected families. In the first two rounds of this funding, KU researchers Tom McDonald, Jody Brook and Becci Akin focused on enhancing services for children ages 3-12 who were affected by caregiver substance abuse in Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa. This new project, led by McDonald, Susana Mariscal, and doctoral candidate Kaela Byers, expands on this earlier work and shifts the focus to young children who are especially vulnerable.  [More]

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Study builds on progress for women in STEM fields

LAWRENCE — To help bridge the gap between men and women in math-intensive STEM fields and careers, educators should engage girls as young as elementary school in intervention programs focused on more math skills, according to a new report on the landscape of women in science-related careers. "Math is the key to many of these majors where women are underrepresented," said Donna Ginther, University of Kansas professor of economics and director of KU's Center for Science, Technology & Economic Policy at the Institute for Policy & Social Research. "The mathematical careers and those majors pay significantly better than social science, life science and psychology, and I really think that in the long term — because of computers, information and data — math is key to having a well-paying job and a career." Ginther further discusses the study here. The intervention strategy is the main policy recommendation from a study Ginther, psychological scientists Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams of Cornell University and Boston University economist Shulamit Kahn conducted on the gender gap in academic sciences since 2000. The full report and an accompanying commentary by Diane Halpern of Minerva Schools at the Keck Graduate Institute are published this month in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. A New York Times op-ed also addressed the study. [More]

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Employment Status and Occupations of Gulf War-Era Veterans

Veterans who entered the Armed Forces after 1990 also had a substantially different military experience than their predecessors. During the 1990s, significant changes in legislation and policy opened up over 80 percent of the services’ career positions to military servicewomen. The nature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq also changed the kind of work done by men and women in the Armed Forces. The occupational experiences of Gulf War-era veterans while in the military could be expected to have some impact on the kinds of occupations they hold once they leave the military. The data used in this report are from 2011–2013 American Community Survey (ACS) 3-year estimates. This report presents data on the employment situation of non-institutionalized post-1990 Gulf War-era veterans, 18 to 64 years old, living in the United States. Where appropriate, non-institutionalized non-veterans 18 to 64 years old are included as a reference group.More of this U.S. Census Bureau Report

Monday, November 10, 2014

Doing Business 2015, World Bank Group publication

Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency, a World Bank Group flagship publication, is the 12th in
a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 189 economies—from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe—and over time. Doing Business measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Ten of these areas are included in this year’s ranking on the ease of doing business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.Doing Business also measures labor market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking. Data in Doing Business 2015 are current as of June 1, 2014. The indicators are used to analyze economic outcomes and identify what reforms of business regulation have worked, where and why. This year’s report introduces a notable expansion of several indicator sets and a change in the calculation of rankings.”

Monday, November 03, 2014

How Facebook Is Changing the Way Its Users Consume Journalism PARK, Calif. — Many of the people who read this article will do so because Greg Marra, 26, a engineer, calculated that it was the kind of thing they might enjoy. Mr. Marra’s team designs the code that drives Facebook’s News Feed — the stream of updates, photographs, videos and stories that users see. He is also fast becoming one of the most influential people in the news business. Facebook now has a fifth of the world — about 1.3 billion people — logging on at least monthly. It drives up to 20 percent of traffic to news sites, according to figures from the analytics company SimpleReach. On mobile devices, the fastest-growing source of readers, the percentage is even higher, SimpleReach says, and continues to increase. The social media company is increasingly becoming to the news business what Amazon is to book publishing — a behemoth that provides access to hundreds of millions of consumers and wields enormous power. About 30 percent of adults in the United States get their news on Facebook, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. The fortunes of a news site, in short, can rise or fall depending on how it performs in Facebook’s News Feed.  [More]

Monday, October 27, 2014

Screening for trauma in foster youths

LAWRENCE — Researchers in the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare have completed initial efforts to learn more about adoption and the foster care system in Kansas, particularly about the challenges and facilitators of successful adoptions. The efforts are part of the Kansas Adoption Permanency Project, created to enact trauma screening and functional assessment for all children who enter foster care and improve adoption outcomes for children, families and the state. The project, also known as KAPP, is a public-private-university partnership among the School of Social Welfare, the Kansas Department for Children and Families, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services and the state’s network of private foster care contractors – KVC Kansas and Saint Francis Community Services. The partners are members of the KAPP Steering Committee.
Researchers analyzed state administrative child welfare data and conducted surveys, interviews and focus groups with youths in foster care and youths who have been adopted from foster care, parents, child welfare and mental health professionals, judges, district attorneys, court-appointed special advocates and others to determine how they can best create an integrated child welfare and mental/behavioral health system that promotes well-being, family functioning and positive permanency outcomes.  More