How Do State Social Assistance Policies and Practices Impact Utilization and Outcomes Among Hispanic Low-Income Youth?

Hispanic youth represent a growing proportion of America’s future workforce. The vast majority are U.S.-born and raised in income-poor households, yet little is understood about the influence of social and income security policy on their well-being. Despite eligibility, Hispanic families are less likely to receive income assistance than their peers. Resulting differences in household net income may contribute to observed racial/ethnic disparities in youth developmental outcomes. This project aims to inform how the experience of public and social  services may differ for, and consequently shape, the behavioral and reproductive health outcomes of youth across race/ethnicity.

We will collect policy indicators from 13 states in which over 80% of low-income (200% below poverty) Hispanic children and youth reside to: (a) generate a framework for expanding the data collection to all 50 states, contemporaneously as well as retrospectively; (b) assess the feasibility of mapping the impact of such indicators on utilization of public benefits; and, (3) inform feasibility of identifying the impact of public benefit receipt on reducing or exacerbating racial/ethnic youth outcome disparities. Our approach—via quantitative and qualitative data about on the ground practices—will provide new descriptive information for the field as well as a foundational infrastructure to support methodological opportunities identifying the causal contribution of benefit receipt on observed racial/ethnic disparities in youth outcomes.