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By Carl Vogel

Professor Mark Courtney’s research over nearly two decades on what happens to youth in foster care after they “age out” of the system and are emancipated as adults has shown better outcomes in a number of measures for foster care children who are able to stay in care longer. These longitudinal studies have been a key resource for advocates who have successfully pushed the federal government and state and local child welfare agencies to raise the age of emancipation to 21. His current research is now focused on what child welfare programs are the most effective for older youth, who are different in many ways than the younger children who have traditionally been in foster care.

A male-presenting person speaks to a student in a classroom.

By Elizabeth Duffrin

More and more educational experts are paying attention to noncognitive factors in students’ capacity to learn, such as their mindset about school, their perseverance in the face of difficult tasks and the strategies they utilize in approaching coursework. SSA’s Melissa Roderick and Camille Farrington led a research team that recently released “Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners,” which gathers and organizes more than three decades of research across a number of disciplines on noncognitive factors in teen academic success. The groundbreaking report has been used by the Chicago Public Schools and others across the country as a guide to fostering these factors in high school students, and Roderick and Farrington are now studying the best ways for schools to provide those noncognitive supports.

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A closeup of a puddle on a cobblestone street.

By Charles Whitaker

For more than 20 years, legislators and policymakers have been making some fundamental changes to many of the programs that protect citizens in America from the ravages of poverty—from food stamps to income tax credits to welfare payments. The Great Recession has tested the capacity of the current safety net and illustrated some unintended consequences of how it is currently configured. This article includes research by SSA faculty members Susan Lambert and Julia Henly on low-wage service employment, Marci Ybarra on who uses welfare today, Scott Allard on nonprofit service providers and Heather Hill on income insecurity.

Sidebar Story:


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As the University of Chicago advances its aspiration to become a model urban university, SSA will continue to be at the vanguard of efforts to deeply engage with the city of Chicago and other global urban centers, bringing high-impact scholarship to bear on the most difficult and complex challenges facing urban life. We are well prepared for this task and intent on rigorously shouldering the responsibility.

A female-presenting person smiles away from the camera.

To talk about the implications of the growth of the community health center model, Jeanne C. Marsh, SSA ’s George Herbert Jones Distinguished Service Professor, spoke with Donna Thompson, the chief executive officer for Access Community Health Network (ACCESS), and Linda Diamond Shapiro, AB ’77, AM ’78, MBA ’88 (Booth), ACCESS ’s vice president for strategy, planning and external affairs.

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A new study shows that the household status of “below the poverty line” is far from one homogeneous category, and that the number of extremely poor families is rising. 

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As more and more children grow up in single-parent families, it’s a challenge making sure non-custodial parents, usually fathers, pay child support. Federal rules impose stiff penalties on working parents who don’t pay. In many cases, however, this tough approach seems to be failing. 

A polished marble bench with the words "Social Service Administration" engraved in it.

Veterans, who make up almost 10 percent of the American population over the age of 18, suffer lower rates of material hardship than those who did not serve, according to research. However, disabled veterans are just as likely to suffer material hardship as other disabled people, according to a study published in the March 2012 Social Service Review.

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Robert Fullilove regularly makes a long commute from his job as associate dean for community and minority affairs at Columbia University to a prison in upstate New York, where he teaches college courses to inmates. When released, many of the men make the same journey as Fullilove, returning to their old New York neighborhoods, often serving as a link in the spread of HIV/AIDS among both this male population and, increasingly, the women in their communities back home.

A polished marble bench with the words "Social Service Administration" engraved in it.

More than half a million children live on the streets of the main cities of Bangladesh. Living without their families, facing hunger and danger, they survive in large part due to their social networks. 

A view of a modern-style building from the outside.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has already survived a bruising fight through Congress, a legal challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court, and promises of repeal by the 2012 Republican candidate for president. Its biggest test, however, might be yet to come.

School News

Rachel Forman's Grand Avenue Club is a warm inviting place for people who've experienced mental illness

The Matching Gift Challenge is intended to encourage a community of supporters for SSA’s field education model.

SSA’s Samuel Deutsch Professor Emerita Dolores “Dodie” Norton has spent four decades building a legacy of personalized teaching and original scholarship. Megan Flynn, a second-year student and the first recipient of SSA’s Dolores Norton Endowed Scholarship in Early Childhood Development, has taken her first steps down a similar yet ultimately distinct path.