Panel: Social Service Use and Implications Among Immigrant Families
(Social Equity (includes Ethnicity, Race & Gender))

Saturday, November 10, 2012: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Schaefer (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, University of Pittsburgh
Chairs:  Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, University of Pittsburgh

Children in immigrant families are overrepresented among low-income children and often face an accumulation of risk factors that threaten their development. Three-quarters of these children are U.S. citizens and they comprise the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Thus policy makers and researchers have expressed increasing concern about the health and well-being of low-income children growing up in immigrant families. In recent years, increased focus has been given to the potential role of social service programs, such as Medicaid/State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), the Special Supplemental Food and Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC), food stamps (SNAP), and the federal child care subsidy program (the Child Care and Development Fund [CCDF]), to enhance the well-being of economically disadvantaged immigrant children and families. More research is necessary to better understand factors that affect immigrant families’ access to and use of these programs and to delineate implications of these services for immigrant families. With data from nationally representative sources, the proposed panel aims to fill critical gaps in this literature. Paper 1 draws data from the Immigrant Access to Health and Human Services project to describe barriers that immigrant families face in accessing public benefit programs. Moreover, it will highlight practices at the state, local, and community levels that are effective in helping immigrant families overcome these barriers. Drawing data from the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study – Birth Cohort (ECLS-B), Paper 2 employs hierarchical multinomial logistic regression to examine factors associated with immigrant children’s use of center-based preschool and Head Start programs, including factors that are unique to immigrant families’ experiences such as region of origin, cultural preferences, household English proficiency, and availability of non-English speaking care providers. Paper 3 extends the prior paper by considering predictors of child care subsidy receipt among subsidy-eligible immigrant families. Finally, Paper 4 examines links between federal food stamps and child health, using OLS and instrumental variable models. Moreover,it considers pathways through which food stamps promote child well-being. This panel will strengthen knowledge related to the use and implications of social services aimed at enhancing the health and development of economically disadvantaged immigrant families. In so doing, it will inform federal and state policies, including program outreach and enrollment efforts, with the ultimate goal of promoting the development of children in immigrant families and facilitating their prospects for upward mobility and integration into U.S. society.

Immigrant Access to Health and Human Services: Major Barriers and Promising Practices
Krista Perreira1, Hirokazu Yoshikawa2, Karina Fortuny3, Robert Crosnoe4, Juan Pedroza3, Kelly Purtell5, Kjersti Ulvestad6, Christina Weiland7 and Heather Koball8, (1)University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, (2)New York University, (3)The Urban Institute, (4)University of Texas, Austin, (5)University of Texas, (6)Harvard Graduate School of Education, (7)Harvard University, (8)Urban Institute

Predictors of Preschool Attendance Among Immigrant Families
Portia Miller, University of Pittsburgh and Rebekah Levine Coley, Boston College

Child Care Subsidy Use Among Children of Immigrants
Anna Johnson, Columbia University and Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, University of Pittsburgh

Food Assistance Programs and the Health of Young Children In Low-Income Immigrant Households
Danielle Crosby, UNC-Greensboro and Anurika Ejimofor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro