The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience

Research Briefs

The research action briefs provide a brief summary of the Center's research.  The briefs including summaries of our peer reviewed publications and briefs created to support the Center's Building Wealth and Health Network.

(October 2016)

Families with children under age six participating in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) must participate in education & training or other work-related activities for 20 hours per week. However, with high rates of financial hardship, poor health, and exposure to violence and adversity, families may have difficulty reaching self-sufficiency. 

(May 2016)

Female caregivers exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), including abuse, neglect, and household instability in childhood, are more likely to report food insecurity as adults and among their own children, particularly if they also experience depressive symptoms. This research & policy brief describes results from a study of 1255 female caregivers of children under age 4 in Philadelphia and offers policy recommendations to address the intergenerational transmission of hardship.

Sanctions are federally mandated penalties imposed on TANF recipients who do not comply with work requirements.  Individual states have autonomy to decide what form sanctions will take; sanctions may be individual or full family, partial or full reduction in cash benefits, and temporary or permanent.  The logic behind the imposition of sanctions is that the penalties serve as a motivator to comply with federally-mandated work rules, and will be a negative consequence for non-compliance – a “carrot and stick” approach.  This research brief focuses on who tends to be sanctioned, the outcomes of sanctions, and the wellbeing of those who have been sanctioned.  

Focus groups are a fast and effective way to elicit information and perspectives from a variety of key informants simultaneously.  In public health, it is often a standard research methodology that is used to gauge health beliefs, perform needs assessments, and evaluate programs. Focus groups are an important tool in program development and evaluation, as they provide the contextual information necessary for a program that meets the needs of the population in focus. This research brief describes focus groups and the settings in which they are used, their use in program development and evaluation, and some considerations for conducting effective focus group research. 

A summary of the research article "The Relationship between Childhood Adversity and Food Insecurity: 'It's like a bird nesting in your head'" published in Public Health Nutrition.  The article discusses an investigation between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), including abuse, neglect, and household instability - and current household food insecurity among thirty-one female caregivers who reported household food insecurity. 


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