Building Wealth and Health 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.
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.
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.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has limited success in building self-sufficiency, and rarely addresses exposure to trauma as a barrier to employment. The Building Wealth and Health Network's randomized controlled trial tested the effectiveness of financial empowerment combined with trauma-informed peer support against standard TANF programming. Despite high exposure to trauma and adversity, caregivers in the full intervention (financial empowerment and trauma-informed peer support) reported improved self-efficacy and depressive symptoms, and reduced economic hardship compared to the control and partial intervention groups. We conclude that financial empowerment education with trauma-informed peer support is more effective than standard TANF programming at improving behavioral health, reducing hardship, and increasing income. Policymakers may consider adapting TANF to include trauma-informed programming.
Post-program outcomes indicate positive impacts on food security, self-rated health, depression, employment, and savings account participation.
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.
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.
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.
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.