Working Papers

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in Newark, New Jersey: An Economic Development Strategy

This work paper examines the use of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in Newark, New Jersey. The EITC enjoys broad support across party divisions, by government at all levels, in philanthropy, and among those in the nonprofit world concerned about alleviating poverty. Cities such as San Antonio, Chicago, New York City, Baltimore, and San Francisco have created campaigns to aid families with the tools necessary to benefit from low-cost bank accounts, EITC, and financial counseling. Despite public and private support for the program, the current New Jersey credit rate of 20 percent (set in 2010) reflects a reduction from the 25 percent rate set in 2009. When compared to the rest of the state, Newark benefits disproportionately from the EITC program both in terms of dollar benefits and in terms of the proportion of working poor receiving assistance.  As such, policy decisions to increase or reduce spending on programs that target low- and moderate-income individuals will disproportionately affect Newark.

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Alternative Education Opportunities for Vulnerable Populations in New Jersey

Increasingly, educators are reframing alternative education measures in terms of creating multiple pathways to ensure the success of disconnected youth. Many educators advocate the creation of a portfolio of options to assist those who have not fared well in traditional classroom settings. At no other time in history has the importance of ensuring educational success of young people been as pressing as it is today. The goal of creating multiple pathways to student success involves meeting students where they are in terms of their academic preparation, emotional well being, cultural orientation, and social condition. The Cornwall Center developed a white paper to explore opportunities within the state to develop multiple educational pathways for student success. This white paper will be used to inform YouthBuild programs on promising experiential learning opportunities for disconnected young people.

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New Jersey’s Juvenile Justice System: Striving to Meet the Needs of New Jersey’s At-Risk Youth

New Jersey’s juvenile justice system reflects more than a century of progress in recognizing the special needs of juvenile offenders when facing the court, serving sentences, and following through with aftercare services. The current system organization dates to 1995 with the inception of the Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC), a statewide controlling agency. Prior to the inception of the JJC, it gained a significant policy head in 1976 with the formation of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Committee, a steering group originating from the Governor’s Office. Today, moving through the juvenile justice system involves several steps that can divert youth from facing court trials and detention in secure facilities. Most delinquent youth who are detained serve sentences in Residential Group Centers that more closely resemble rehabilitation boarding schools than prisons. Many of these centers are designed to address the specific needs of at-risk youth, such as drug abuse, mental health problems, and teenage pregnancies. New Jersey recognizes that, despite statistical evidence of reduced delinquency statewide over the past decade, significant challenges still exist: drug abuse, gang involvement, overrepresentation of minorities, and recidivism, among others. To address these problems, the JJDP Committee, in conjunction with the JJC, issued a three-year plan (2009–2011) to provide specific goals, funding, and compliance monitoring for these and other issues.

 

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