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Policy Briefs

CSSP’s policy briefs are grounded in research and based on today’s economic realities. The briefs present a range of proven, cost-effective policy approaches that rely on the following principles:

  • Protect the most vulnerable. Recessions sharply increase unemployment, homelessness and hunger. Funding benefits and services for people who need them most not only minimizes human suffering but also reduces future costs to the state.
  • Focus on results. Concentrating on measurable results can help set priorities and guide decisions about the best use of scarce resources.
  • Maximize return on investment over the short- and long-term. Particularly when money is tight, it pays to invest in cost-effective services, programs and policies that provide immediate benefits for children and families; and, that keep paying as children grow into productive adults.
  • Stimulate the economy by investing in children and families. Providing financial support to struggling families who will immediately spend it on necessities quickly injects money into the economy and benefits those most likely to be hurt by the economic downturn.
  • Strengthen community resources. In times of hardship, many people turn to extended families, neighbors, faith groups, local food banks and other community resources. Policymakers can prevent the need for more extensive assistance by investing in local assets, which strengthen neighborhoods, spur local innovation and problem solving and tap the capacity of communities.
  • Seize the opportunity for reform. When budgets are tight, it’s easier to develop political consensus to eliminate well-intentioned but ineffective programs that do not help vulnerable children and families. Tough times provide impetus for changing the way decisions are made and for building the capacity to make effective financing, budgeting and policy choices.

Current Policy Series

Policymakers Corner 

  • Employment - strategies to increase employment, meet the labor demands of the recovering economy and support children and families.
  • Working Families - solutions that support parents working to provide for their families and ensure healthy development for their children.
  • Effective Government - options to save scarce state funds, easing budget pressures that can erode vital services for vulnerable children and families and other critical state services
  • Education - strategies to increase college graduation rates in order to build a 21st century workforce in the states.
  • Grade-Level Reading - solutions to put children on a pathway to early grade level reading proficiency, which research shows has a positive impact on academic success and thus contributes to high school graduation, employment readiness and economic productivity.
  • Childhood Obesity - options to create healthy options and safe infrastructures for children and families, reduce public healthcare expenditures and contribute to productive schools and workplaces.
  • Teen Pregnancy - solutions that improve the potential prosperity of families and save taxpayer dollars now and in the future.
  • Juvenile Justice - strategies that improve outcomes for youth and make communities safer.
  • Child Welfare - options that improve outcomes for children in foster care and strengthen their families. 

Stay Informed

Federal FY 2016 Budget Policy Brief

policy options for states to improve outcomes for children and families of color

Achieving Racial Equity: Child Welfare Policy Strategies to Improve Outcomes for Children of Color

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