Increasing the Number of Children Whose Parents Have Stable Employment
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
When parents have secure employment and earn enough to meet their families’ basic needs, children benefit in many ways. Today, many children grow up without these advantages. In 2007, more than 24 million children (33 percent) lived in households in which no parent had full-time and year-round employment. The economic recession that began in late 2007 has placed more children at risk.
Eight broad strategies are essential for any plan aimed at increasing the number of children whose parents have stable employment.
- Provide comprehensive employment and educational services geared to low-skill job seekers. People who are out of work may benefit from efforts to bolster their educational and employment-related skills, impart 21st-century skills, address barriers to employment, and ensure access to appropriate work-support programs.
- Add rungs at the bottom of the career ladder. Job seekers may benefit from training opportunities that simulate work. They may need opportunities to learn the routines and habits associated with work and to build an employment record.
- Focus relentlessly on job quality. Many families struggle to make ends meet even when a parent has a job. Workforce development programs and policies should seek to ensure that all working families earn enough to meet their basic needs.
- Support job retention and advancement. Workers with few marketable skills and little experience can benefit from support services designed to help them retain jobs, seek advancement, and secure new employment if they lose their positions.
- Focus on the needs of both workers and employers. Effective workforce development strategies increase the likelihood that entry-level workers will have job success while improving the odds that employers will meet their bottom-line goals.
- Expand working families’ options for child care and after-school care. Efforts to bolster employment opportunities for low-income families need to encompass strategies designed to help parents find quality, available, reliable, affordable child care.
- Address transportation issues. States have used many different strategies for filling the transportation gap of people moving from welfare to work. Despite these efforts, transportation continues to be a daunting challenge for many working families.
- Take a systemic approach to workforce development. No single institution or delivery system can improve the prospects of families who live in areas of concentrated poverty.
To read the whole indicator brief go to Increasing the Number of Children Whose Parents Have Stable Employment