May 7

Past Event

Helping Disconnected and Hard-to-Employ Single Mothers



  • Rebecca Blank

    Blank says a long-term economic downturn might place more scrutiny on the issue of disconnected, single mothers and the plight of their families.

    Rebecca M. Blank

  • Nancy Johnson

    Johnson says helping marginally employed single mothers and unemployed single mothers is a bipartisan issue that, if left unresolved, will be extremely damaging to the nation as a whole.

    Rebecca M. Blank

  • Thomas Downey

    The grinding poverty that many families headed by single mothers experience, says Downey, speaks volumes about our society as a whole and how it regards the least among us.

    Rebecca M. Blank


The Center on Children and Families at Brookings and the National Poverty Center at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan held a forum to discuss the policy challenges posed by single mothers who have not been able to find stable employment and who may have used up their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligibility or face sanctions. These women head the families that are most vulnerable to the current economic downswing.

The term "disconnected women" usually refers to women who are neither on welfare nor working. "Hard to employ" encompasses a broader population, including women on TANF for whom welfare-to-work efforts have not been successful. In this discussion, two panels of policy-makers and researchers discussed what states are doing to address this population and what their experience suggests for those in other states, and at the federal level, for helping these women find stable work and improving the well-being of their children.

Event Agenda

  • Welcome

  • Overview

  • Panel 1: Role of Federal Policymakers

    • Hon. Nancy Johnson

      Senior Public Policy Advisor, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, and Berkowitz, PC

      Former Member of Congress (R-Conn.)

    • Hon. Tom Downey

      Chairman, Downey McGrath Group, Inc.

      Former Member of Congress (D-NY)

  • Panel 2: State-Run Model Program

    • Clifford Johnson

      Executive Director, Institute for Youth, Education and Families, National League of Cities

    • Frank DeCarlo

      Director of Employment, Erie County Social Services

    • Linda Martin

      Director of Family Assistance, South Carolina Department of Social Services

    • Phil Ansell

      Assistant Director of Program and Policy, Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services

  • Panel 3: Research and Issues


May 7, 2008

9:00 AM - 11:15 AM EDT

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105