Social Policy and Equity

African American heterosexual couple with child

Food stamps. Head Start. Childcare subsidies. The Family and Medical Leave Act. Section 8 housing vouchers. These and other programs and policies are designed to help ensure that all families have access to the conditions that children need to thrive. 

Although family-supporting policies are designed to serve all needy children and families, policy design and program implementation often result in inequitable access to benefits for black and Hispanic children and families and children of immigrants. Researchers at the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy study the factors that produce these inequities and work with policymakers, academics, advocates, and public sector leaders to increase equity where needed. 

ICYFP researchers developed the Policy Equity Assessment (PEA) to assist analysts and researchers as they evaluate the impact of policies and programs on racial/ethnic equity. The PEA framework embeds racial/ethnic equity within each policy assessment step and guides analysts to move beyond asking whether a policy is working as intended, to instead ask whether the policy reduces racial/ethnic gaps in outcomes. The PEA emphasizes significant differences by race/ethnicity in access to and quality of services and policy impacts on reducing racial/ethnic disparities.