The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience

Network Publications

Based on the research that the Building Wealth and Health Network conducts we have published a number of peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals and research briefs.

(Social Science & Medicine, August 2020)

The aim of this study is to examine whether integrating trauma-informed peer support curriculum into the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is associated with reductions in co-occurring depression and substance abuse, and improvements in self-efficacy and economic security. These findings suggest that trauma-informed peer support programming improves economic security and self-efficacy and reduces the co-occurrence of depressive symptoms and alcohol abuse.

(July 2020)

Public health research and interventions often focus on important but siloed areas such as food, energy, and housing rather than on a comprehensive approach to economic insecurity. This singular focus limits opportunities to break down the structural racism found in financial, health, and social service systems that has created significant disparities in wealth along racial lines. This study presented financial health as a key factor impacting physical and mental health. Using survey data from the Building Wealth and Health Network, it introduced financial health as a measurable concept underlying these other elements of economic hardship that can contribute to greater health equity. The study demonstrated that financial health has a significant impact on overall well-being and belongs in the discussion of social determinants of health.

(June 2020)

The Network measured family economic hardship, health, and financial outcomes over 12 months during phase three of the program. All participants, including those with high childhood adversity, showed significant improvements in outcomes up to one year after program participation.

(Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior, May 2020)

Food insecurity, or the lack of access to enough food for an active and healthy life because of limited economic resources, is a major public health challenge associated with negative health outcomes such as higher rates of hospitalization and developmental risk among infants, children, and adolescents, as well as higher rates of depression and chronic disease among adults. This study sought to test the effectiveness of a trauma-informed intervention to reduce household food insecurity, called the Building Wealth and Health Network.

(PLOS One, May 2020)

Most social determinants research and interventions focus on siloed solutions (housing, food, utilities) rather than on a root solution such as financial health.This study seeks to introduce the construct of financial health into the domain of public health as a useful root term that underlies other individual measures of economic hardship and demonstrate through outcomes on financial, physical and mental health among low-income caregivers of young children that the construct of financial health belongs in the canon of social determinants of health.

(June 2020)

The Network measured family economic hardship, health, and financial outcomes over 12 months during phase three of the program. All participants, including those with high childhood adversity, showed significant improvements in outcomes up to one year after program participation.

(May 2020)

Food insecurity is a major public health challenge associated with developmental and health risks for both children and adults. Participation in a trauma-informed educational program reduced the odds of household food insecurity for families with low or no income. Addressing the social, behavioral, and emotional issues associated with household food insecurity is a promising approach to improving economic security for the long term. This research contributes to the growing evidence that trauma-informed approaches promote health and wellbeing and shows they also improve economic security.

(October 2018)

Program outcomes show all participants,including those with high childhood adversity, showed significant improvements in outcomes relating to economic security, physical and mental health, and social support up to one year after program participation. 

(July 2018)

Economic security is strongly associated with physical and mental health and well-being. Programs such as Medicaid which focus on health and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) which aims to improve employment and financial well-being should be better coordinated to provide more effective services. Programs which integrate physical and mental health services reduce costs. Findings from the Building Wealth and Health Network demonstrate the effectiveness of integrating behavioral health components into financial programming on improving physical, mental, emotional and financial outcomes.

(January 2018)

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program has limited success in building self-sufficiency, and it rarely addresses exposure to trauma as a barrier to employment. Many TANF recipients have a work-limiting health condition, and high rates of exposure to violence and adversity in their families and communities. These hardships are closely linked to depression, cardiovascular disease, poor cognitive functioning, and food insecurity, which in turn hinder work prospects and stable income. This research brief describes how the Building Wealth and Health Network (The Network) addresses this through combining financial empowerment, trauma-informed peer support, and matched savings to more effectively support TANF participants and their families. 

(November 2017)

By focusing strictly on job search and work participation, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program creates barriers that limit participants’ ability to find and keep a job. TANF will not be successful without proper attention to adversity and poor health experienced by TANF participants. TANF outcomes could improve if programing included comprehensive approaches to promote social support and build resilience, which have been shown to limit the negative effects of exposure to violence and adversity.

(November 2017)

Post-program outcomes indicate positive impacts on food security, self-rated health, depression, employment, and savings account participation.

(June 2017)

TANF often ignores underlying issues, such exposure to violence and financial exclusion, creating barriers to economic security. The Building Wealth and Health Network (The Network) addresses this shortfall. The Network provides trauma-informed peer support, financial empowerment education, and matched savings accounts to help caregivers build their family's wealth and health.

(Journal of Urban Health, January 2017)

Depression is a barrier to employment among low-income caregivers receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and exposure to community violence (ECV) are often associated with depression. Using baseline data of 103 TANF caregivers of young children of the Building Wealth and Health Network Randomized Controlled Trial Pilot, this study investigated associations of two forms of employment-related resilience—self-efficacy and employment hope—with exposure to adversity/violence and depression.

(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. 

(BioMed Central Public Health, July 2016)

Families with children under age six participating in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program (TANF) must participate in work-related activities for 20 hours per week. However, due to financial hardship, poor health, and exposure to violence and adversity, families may experience great difficulty in reaching self sufficiency.  The purpose of this report is to describe study design and baseline findings of a trauma-informed financial empowerment and peer support intervention meant to mitigate these hardships.

 

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