Family Impact Seminars Convened Since 1993

A Place to Call Home: Evidence-Based Strategies for Addressing Homelessness across Wisconsin

During the 2016 federal fiscal year in Wisconsin, 22,050 people experiencing homelessness received services and shelter from providers that use the state’s tracking system. Homelessness is not just a Milwaukee or Madison concern, nor is it limited to single adults: 58% of Wisconsinites receiving homeless services lived outside Milwaukee and Dane counties, and 46% were […]

Training Today’s Youth for Tomorrow’s Jobs

Will Wisconsin have the workers it needs for tomorrow’s jobs? Older workers are retiring, and one of six young people today lack strong connections to school or work. By 2020, nearly two-thirds of jobs are expected to require some postsecondary education. This seminar focuses on the question policymakers face: How can Wisconsin prepare today’s youth […]

Helping Foster Kids Succeed: State Strategies for Saving Lives, Saving Money

In 2013, 6,516 Wisconsin kids were exposed to abuse, neglect, or adverse experiences in their own families and placed in out-of-home care. Foster care policy provides policymakers with an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable members. Placement in foster care can be the turning point for an […]

The Science of Early Brain Development: A Foundation for the Success of Our Children and the State Economy

Children’s experiences during the first few years of life shape the architecture of the brain. The developing brain can be compromised by exposure to toxic stress—unrelenting stress from repeated abuse, chronic neglect, severe maternal depression, parental substance abuse, etc. that occurs with or without the added burden of poverty. The wear and tear of toxic […]

Preparing Wisconsin’s Youth for Success in the Workforce

Young people have been hit harder by unemployment than any other age group in the current recession. Unemployment among 16- to 24-year-olds has doubled over the past decade, with low-income, minority teens especially hard hit. For decades, efforts have been made to reform K-12 education, promote college enrollment, and enhance work-based learning. Yet academic achievement […]

Positioning Wisconsin for the Jobs of the Future

In July, Wisconsin’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 7.8% (Bureau of Labor Statistics). However, some workers have been hit harder than others. Nationally, compared to all workers over age 20, unemployment rates are four times higher among displaced workers (those who lost jobs because plants closed or moved, their position/shift was eliminated, or work dropped off; […]

Evidence-Based Budgeting: Making Decisions to Move Wisconsin Forward

In the wake of the worst recession since the Great Depression, Wisconsin policymakers face a substantial budget shortfall. A recovery is underway, but the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (2010) predicts it will take until mid 2013 for the economy to return to pre-recession levels. For states, next year “could be the worst year of this […]

Workforce Development Policy: New Directions for States

In the U.S., the recession is over, but employment continues to fall, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Between December 2007 and August 2009, Wisconsin lost 138,900 jobs, which is almost equal to the number of working-aged adults in Madison. According to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, the state’s unemployment rate has already […]

Growing the State Economy: Evidence-Based Policy Options

The economy may be undergoing one of the most fundamental transformations in history. According to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, Wisconsin ranks low compared to other states in new business creations and venture capital per worker. Wisconsin has seen plants close, jobs lost, and per capita personal income steadily decline. In 2006, per capita personal income […]

Looking Beyond the Prison Gate: New Directions in Prisoner Reentry

The iron law of incarceration is that nearly all prisoners come back—to their families and communities. In FY 2006, over 14,500 prisoners were released from Wisconsin prisons. This means that the population returned to society last year was similar in size to Bayfield County, the city of Menomonie, or the combined student bodies of UW-Stevens […]

Long-Term Care Reform: Wisconsin’s Experience Compared to Other States

In FY 2003, Wisconsin spent almost 42% of its Medicaid dollars on long-term care. Policymakers are anticipating increased demand for these services, especially as the population ages. Despite the contributions of informal caregiving by family and friends, which is valued at three times the amount spent by Medicaid, the cost of providing long-term care is […]

Improving Health Care Quality While Curbing Costs

Health care costs have risen in the double-digits in Wisconsin and the U.S. for several years. From 2000 to 2004, for example, health insurance costs for Wisconsin workers increased four times faster than the average Wisconsin wage. State policymakers are looking for ways to reduce costs and improve the quality of health care. This seminar […]

Corrections Policy: Can States Cut Costs and Still Curb Crime?

Wisconsin legislators are concerned about growth in state spending on corrections. In the past six years, the Badger state has seen its corrections budget grow from $1.3 billion in the 1998-99 session to nearly $2 billion in the budget adopted for 2004-05: an increase of almost 45%. Since 1990, Wisconsin’s inmate population has risen more […]

Rising Health Care Costs: Employer Purchasing Pools and Other Policy Options

In the past year, national health care spending per capita grew by 10%, the first double-digit increase in more than a decade. In Wisconsin, health benefit costs for employers rose 14.8% this year, while general inflation rose by only 2%. Wisconsin citizens’ employee health care costs are $6,940 per employee, 20% higher than the notational […]

Early Childhood Care and Education: What Are States Doing?

In recent polls, Americans believe parents are primarily responsible for child rearing. Yet Americans also believe that government should support parents in raising the next generation, and in ensuring that child care is of high quality, healthy, and educational. This seminar features the latest research on whether quality of child care matters. Also learn about […]

Designing a State Prescription Drug Benefit: Strategies to Control Costs

As prescription drug costs continue to dominate the headlines, this seminar discusses what strategies states can use to control costs. Leading experts from across the country also describe how several states have designed prescription drug programs. Learn about the experiences of 14 states that had programs in place in August of 2000 as well as […]

Rising Prescription Drug Costs: Reasons, Needs and Policy Responses

The number one issue before state legislatures in 2001 will be access to prescription drug coverage, according to participants at a recent conference sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures. In the next 8 years, state and local taxes spent on prescription drugs outside Medicare or Medicaid will jump from $10 to $24 billion, […]

Helping Poor Kids Succeed: Welfare, Tax and Early Intervention Policies

Many forms of childhood damage are more prevalent among the poor. Leading experts discuss three policy responses: how other states are supporting children and families while promoting self-sufficiency; the track record of the earned income tax credit in raising low-income working families out of poverty; and the effectiveness of early interventions based on one of […]

Raising the Next Generation: Public and Private Parenting Initiatives

In a recent poll of leaders in state legislatures across the country, child and family issues were said to be a “sure-fire vote winner.” This seminar provides a solid foundation for thinking about public policies affecting parents. Does parenting matter? Do we know what good parenting is? What can government do to promote good parenting […]

Long-Term Care: State Policy Perspectives

Many Wisconsin residents rely on long-term care services because of frailty or a disability. Although most long-term care is provided informally by family members, formal services are also provided in nursing homes, intermediate care facilities, and community-based settings. In 1996, Wisconsin spent approximately 1.2 billion Medicaid dollars to pay for long-term care services for those […]

Enhancing Educational Performance: Three Policy Alternatives

Given society’s expectation that students graduate from high school and employers’ demands for a qualified labor force, we are increasingly expecting more of our educational system. Despite modest improvements in educational achievement over the last decade, the need for more students to acquire a higher level of knowledge and skill remains. This seminar overviews what […]

Moving Families Out of Poverty: Employment, Tax and Investment Strategies

Hear the results of the last two decades of research on promising strategies for moving families out of poverty from some of the nation’s leading authorities. How successful have state welfare-to-work programs been in helping welfare recipients find jobs and in removing families from poverty? Will a single employment strategy work for all parts of […]

Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Programs that Work

About 1 out of 10 teenage girls in Wisconsin is estimated to become regnant each year. Due to the personal, family, and public costs of teenage childbearing, preventing unintended pregnancies has generated broad political support. Yet few issues have been as divisive among politicians, school board members, and the public as how to prevent teen […]

Child Support: The Effects of the Current System on Families

Over the past 30 years, the percentage of children who live in single-parent households has approximately tripled. These children split about evenly between those living in a single-parent household because of divorce and those born outside of marriage. This demographic change is important to policymakers because today, unlike earlier this century, most children in single-parent […]

Welfare Reform: Can Government Promote Parental Self-Sufficiency While Ensuring the Well-being of Children?

Reforming the welfare system inevitably arouses passion and rhetoric. While many can agree on flaws in the current system, arriving at a consensus regarding solutions traditionally has proven extraordinarily difficult. One reason is that the welfare population is quite diverse. This seminar describes why welfare is so hard to reform, with special attention to the […]

Promising Approaches for Addressing Juvenile Crime

Juvenile arrests increased by almost 40% in Wisconsin in the 10-year period between 1984 and 1993. Perhaps more alarming is the sheer size of the juvenile crime problem with over 122,000 arrests in the state in 1993. While violent juvenile arrests increased by almost 60% from 1984 to 1993, violent offenses accounted for only 1.9% […]

Can Government Promote Competent Parenting?

Citizens across Wisconsin perceive an array of societal ills, in areas ranging from school achievement to societal violence to issues of character and values, and see these as having a common contributing factor: ineffective parenting. But do we know what competent parenting is? To a surprising extent, researchers can agree.

Single Parenthood and Children’s Well-being

About half of all children born today are expected to spend some time in a single parent family before reaching age 18. Recent evidence suggests that children from single parent families do less well, on average, than children who live with both of their parents. These findings do not mean that every child growing up […]

Building Policies That Put Families First: A Wisconsin Perspective

Increasingly policymakers, professionals, and family members recognize that one of the best ways to help individuals, children and adults alike, is to focus on those people who so strongly influence their lives, their families. The family is said to be the most powerful, the most humane, and, by far, the most economical system for building […]