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Human Services

10

Our American States

podcastWhile estimates vary, there is agreement that the U.S. is short several million homes. Many who study the housing situation in the U.S. have dubbed it a housing crisis.

Housing has usually been seen as a local issue, but as the housing affordability situation has worsened, states are increasingly involved in the search for solutions.

We asked three guests to join this podcast and share their perspectives.

First up is Arica Young, the associate director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Terwilliger Center for Housing. Young, who has decades of experience studying housing and community development, discusses how the crisis has hit renters and the substantial barriers to building multifamily housing in much of the country.

The other guests on this episode are Whitney Airgood-Obrycki, a researcher at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, and Karl Eckhart, a vice president at the National Association of Home Builders.

All three guests point to the remarkably complex set of factors that affect housing, from zoning regulations to the price of steel and the shortage of electricians, plumbers and others in the trades.

Arica Young, Bipartisan Policy CenterWhitney Airgood-Obrycki, Joint Center for Housing StudiesKarl Eckhart, National Association of Home Builders

 

 

 

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15

Our American States

podcastPeople having a mental health crisis in this country are more likely to encounter law enforcement than to receive treatment. And because of a lack of other resources, police sometimes spend a fifth of their time dealing with people with a mental illness. Studies indicate that more than 80% of people in jails with mental illness do not receive adequate treatment.

States are following a number of paths to deal with the problem and the guests on this podcast discuss the work they’ve done.

Jac Charlier is a former law enforcement officer in Illinois who is a pioneer in the area of deflection, a set of preventive measures aimed at reducing reliance on law enforcement as we respond to the mental health crisis in this country. He discussed how deflection programs work and offered some advice for legislators.

Also, guests on the program are Rep. Leslie Herod, a Democrat from Colorado, and Rep. Dwight Tosh, a Republican from Arkansas. Both have worked on legislation in their states to better address the issue.

If you’d like to learn more about this issue, don’t miss “5 Big Ideas: Collaborative Approaches to the Mental Health Crisis” at NCSL’s Legislative Summit in Denver Aug. 1-3. The session will be Aug. 2 and will feature lawmakers discussing what worked in their states.

This project is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The CDC support is part of a financial assistance award totaling $200,000 with 50% funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. government.

Jac CharlierRep Leslie Herod, ColoradoRep Dwight Tosh, Arkansas

 

 

 

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14

Our American States

podcast State agencies charged with ensuring that custodial parents collect child support face a daunting challenge. Census Bureau data indicates fewer than half of custodial parents receive their full support payments.

Traditionally states have relied on civil contempt statutes to compel the noncustodial parent to pay up. But that process—which can result in onerous civil procedures and even jail time—often is unsuccessful and some research shows states can end up paying more to collect the payments than the custodial parent receives.

On this podcast, Heather Noble, assistant director for the Arizona Division of Child Support Services, and Michael Hayes, an official with the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, discuss a new procedural justice approach to child support that seeks to use principles such as respect, understanding and neutrality to increase the sense of fairness that parents feel in what is often a difficult process.

While the project is not finished, they discussed what the data shows so far and the difference it appears to be making. They also explained the research that is the foundation of the approach, and the role legislatures can have in their states.

Heather Noble, ArizonaMichael Hays, Office of Child Support Enforecement

 

 

 

 

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Category: Human Services
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12

Emily BenferMillions of people are evicted from their homes every year in America and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made the situation worse. While poverty in America has been studied extensively, much less is known about evictions. In the last 20 years, the Eviction Lab at Princeton University has gathered records on more than 80 million evictions. Matt Desmond, who created the Eviction Lab and authored the Pulitzer Prize winning book “Evicted,” was interviewed on an earlier episode of “Our American States.”

To discuss how the eviction crisis has grown during the pandemic, we invited Emily Benfer on the podcast. Benfer, a visiting professor of law at Wake Forest University and an expert on housing and health law, is the co-creator of the COVID-19 Housing Policy Scorecard with the Eviction Lab and principal investigator in a study of nationwide COVID-19 eviction moratoriums and housing policies. She also chairs the American Bar Association's COVID-19 Task Force Committee on Eviction.

Benfer explains how the pandemic has exacerbated the eviction problem, who is being evicted and how the recently extended federal eviction moratorium factors into the situation. She also explains the role state policymakers can play in implementing state eviction moratoriums and how some legal procedures can help people facing eviction.

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05

Today’s podcast is focused on foster care and specifically on the challenges faced by young people as they transition out of the foster care system.

Our guests are Levi Smith Jr., a 23-year-old senior at Georgia State University studying social work.  Levi spent 10 years in foster care and discusses the challenges faced by older youth as they transition out of that system. Our second guest is Georgia Rep. Katie Dempsey (R), who has been involved with various pieces of legislation affecting youth in foster care during her 13 years in the legislature.

In the second segment of the show, I talk with Lynn Johnson, who is the assistant secretary overseeing the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Johnson  discusses the federal government’s role in aiding states as they work with young people transitioning out of foster care.

Levi Smith JrGeorgia Representative Katie DempseyHHS Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson

 

 

 

 

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12

For the first time, around 2040, there will be more older adults than children. By 2060, the U.S. Census Bureau says, nearly 1 in 4 Americans will be 65 years and older. And in that same year, the number of people 85 years and older will triple and the country will add a half million centenarians. We decided to explore what “Living to 100” means for state policymakers across the country.

Later in the program, we’ll talk with Karen Brown, who is an original and current member—and a former chair—of the Colorado Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging. The group was formed by the Colorado General Assembly since the state has one of the fastest growing senior populations.

Our guests are:

  • James Firman, president and CEO of the National Council on Aging.
  • Karen Brown, a member and former chair of Colorado’s Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging and CEO of iAging.

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05

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services latest “Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System” says more than 430,000 people were in foster care in the last fiscal year. About a quarter of those in the system were teenagers. There is growing awareness that older teens in the foster care system need trained foster parents to help them transition to adulthood. Consequently, 28 states and the District of Columbia have extended foster care beyond the age of 18.

On this episode of “Our American States,” we talk with two state legislators who have first-hand knowledge of foster care and are actively involved in shedding light on this topic.

  • Alaska Representative Ivy Spohnholz (D), who is a foster and adoptive parent
  • Indiana Senator Erin Houchin (R), who is a former case worker

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26

patricia julianelleA 2017 study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago discovered that around 4.2 million people between the ages of 12 and 24 experience homelessness at least once during the year. Of those, 700,000 are 17 or younger. And, the study found, youth homelessness occurs at the same rate in rural and urban areas.

In this episode, we learn why these young people experience homelessness, how public policy defines youth homelessness, why it’s difficult for these youth to access needed services and what state and federal initiatives are available to address this issue.

Our guest is Patricia Julianelle, director of program advancement and legal affairs at SchoolHouse Connection, a national nonprofit organization working to overcome homelessness through education. “We are forcing our teenagers into the hands of dangerous people when we don’t provide a legal structure for reputable service providers to be able to take care of them and keep them safe,” she says.

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youth homelessness, homeless
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28

The nature and demographics of employment are changing, with fewer men entering the workforce and the gig economy chipping away at traditional job relationships and structures. And state programs that oversee child support programs are taking notice.

We talk with officials in two states that are seeing success by working to address the issues and concerns of those who owe child support payments, and, as a result, are improving relationships between parents and their children.

Our guests are:

  • Larry Desbien, director, Colorado Division of Child Support Services
  • Noelita Lugo, assistant deputy director of Field Initiatives, Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division

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06

On this episode of “Our American States,” we explore two critical components of a child’s development. First, we’ll address adverse childhood experiences (often referred to as ACEs), which are stressful or traumatic events in childhood that have long-term impacts on health and well being. We talk to a national expert who will walk us through research on childhood trauma, and provide policymakers with ideas to address families facing stresses that cause ACEs.

We also discuss the importance of positive brain development, discover why the first three years are so critical for the nurturing of children, go over key research and find out what the policy implications are regarding early brain development. Our guests are:

  • Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris, founder and chief executive officer for the Center of Youth Wellness
  • Dr. Ross Thompson, a distinguished professor in the department of psychology at the University of California

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