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BC Professor Awarded Grant to Examine the Well-Being of Youth in Low-Income Families

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (July 2011) – Boston College Research Professor of Sociology Lisa Dodson, in collaboration with the Center for Social Policy at the University of Massachusetts, has been awarded a grant from the Ford and Annie E. Casey foundations for a research project examining the well-being of youth growing up in low-income families.

Dodson and co-principal investigator UMass Economics Professor Randy Albelda will produce three papers examining connections between the low-wage labor market and the well-being of youth growing up in low-income families, with a focus on young people's educational attainment and positive development. Funding for the project, titled “Linking Youth Development with Parents’ Low-Wage Work,” includes resources for national dissemination of the findings in public policy debates and in the media.

Lisa Dodson

“This research will link two major social issues that have long been treated as separate-- the status of low-income youth and their parents’ jobs. While we already know that, in general, low-wage jobs are very hard on family life, the particular effect on millions of adolescents has received much less attention. This initiative will begin to address this gap by linking parents’ jobs and young people’s lives,” said Dodson.

Dodson’s research interests include poverty, public policy, and low-income work and family life. She is author of the books The Moral Underground: How Ordinary People Subvert an Unfair Economy, which documented middle-class Americans bending workplace rules to assist low-income workers, and Don’t Call Us Out of Name: The Untold Lives of Women and Girls in Poor America, which explored the lives of low-income women raising children after welfare reform. She has presented research findings in US Congressional hearings and to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as in many community organizations, labor groups, schools, and public health forums.

Annie E. Casey Foundation
The Annie E. Casey Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the nation, provides about $190 million in grants each year and is ranked among the top philanthropies for charitable giving. Established in 1948 by Jim Casey, founder of UPS, the Foundation’s primary mission is to foster public policies, human services, and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of vulnerable children and families.

Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

 --Kathleen Sullivan, Office of News & Public Affairs,