Social Services

How Cities Are Addressing Mental Distress

Successful programs include partnerships between social workers and first responders, incorporate data and recognize larger social factors affecting health and well-being, like racism, experts say.

Why States are Expanding Domestic Violence Laws to Include Emotional Abuse

Connecticut is the latest state to do so, updating its laws to provide new protections for people victimized by damaging psychological tactics and controlling behavior.

The States With the Weakest and Strongest Social Safety Nets

New research allows for easy comparisons of how states stack up based on a variety of social welfare and pro-labor policies, and also offers a look at economic outcomes in each place.

He Left a War-Torn Country as a Refugee and Went on to Become a US Mayor

Helena, Montana Mayor Wilmot Collins came to the United States in 1994 from Liberia. His life journey is a true immigrant success story.

Is This the End of Welfare as We Know It?

The overnight success of the new child tax credit has experts and parents taking a hard look at traditional welfare.

Two States Now Offer Free In-home Nurse Visits for New Parents

The visits, offered in Oregon and now New Jersey, include a health and wellness check for both the baby and the parents, an effort to improve maternal mortality rates and boost family well-being.

One State Begins to Grapple With Pandemic’s Toll on Youth Mental Health

A sweeping bill passed by lawmakers in Connecticut would grant minors unlimited counseling sessions without parental consent, among other changes.

Some States Update Child Neglect Laws to Allow 'Reasonable Independence' For Kids

A handful of states have clarified neglect laws to allow parents to permit their children to walk to school and play outside alone without fear of intervention from police or Child Protective Services.

One State’s Plan to Ease the ‘Invisible’ Diaper Gap for Families

A third of families nationwide experience diaper need, regardless of age, race or income, data shows. Washington state will allocate funding for diaper banks in its latest budget to help close that gap.

How One County Helps Low-Income Homeowners Rehab Their Houses

James City County, Virginia tapped federal housing dollars to fund repairs and rebuilding projects that make homes safe and habitable. "Nothing is more affordable than the house you already have," notes a local official.

Federal Support Has Shored up Nonprofits During the Coronavirus Pandemic, But Many Groups Are Still Struggling

COMMENTARY | Organizations that work in areas ranging from social services to arts and culture have had to scale back their operations and cut staff because of inadequate funding.

What the Rise of Digital Handouts on Venmo and Cash App Says about Our Fraying Social Safety Net

COMMENTARY | There's an uptick of people tuning to Twitter, Instagram and TikTok to ask for financial support during the pandemic.

County Program Offers Grants to Help People Pay for Funerals

Residents in Maricopa County, Arizona, can apply for up to $1,200 toward funeral expenses if they've lost a loved one and also suffered financial losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

City Provides Grants to Help Domestic Violence Survivors Move

The pilot program, a collaboration between the New York City mayor's office and a nonprofit service provider, will help survivors with housing and other emergency needs.

One State Offers Free Calls to Check on Seniors

The Maryland Department of Aging launched the program in January, but retooled and reemphasized it as coronavirus began to spread across the state.

COVID-19 Put Her Husband in the ICU. She Had to Be Hospitalized Next. The State Demanded to Know: Who Would Care for Their Children?

When Laura Whalen went to a hospital with COVID-19, she brought her kids. Her husband was already in an ICU, and she couldn’t risk them exposing their grandma. But the state told her to find someone to take them or it would.

Stay-At-Home Orders Can Be Dangerous for Victims of Domestic Violence. But Help Is Still Available.

Roughly half of agencies providing help to victims of domestic violence are closed during the coronavirus outbreak, but many have transitioned to virtual or phone services.

Fixing Backlogs: An Essential Skill for Leaders in a Crisis

COMMENTARY | As demand for public services skyrockets in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, public officials need to work now to eliminate the bottlenecks and expand capacity and efficiency.

How Food Stamps Can Help People During Hard Economic Times Like These

COMMENTARY | The SNAP food aid program helps low-income families put food on the table and injects money straight into struggling local economies. It will be critical throughout the crisis the coronavirus is stoking.

Cities Rush to Respond as Homelessness and Coronavirus Collide

Homeless people are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. Cities are working to implement protective measures, often with no idea how they'll pay for it.