Report

This report, by Crittenton Women’s Union (CWU) is based on evidence of the effects of poverty on the brain and a series of specific brain science-informed social policy and program approaches that target low-income families. It covers best practices for intensive coaching to improve individuals’ decision-making processes and other executive function (EF) skills that are critical to holding a job, pursuing education and maintaining personal finances.

This report applies what we are learning about brain development and the effects of chronic stress on tangible new approaches to combatting entrenched poverty and moving families to economic independence.  It includes recommendations for policy and program changes that can be easily adopted to help build the skills adults need to both attain economic stability and create an environment that helps their children to develop their own adaptive skills. 

 

January 24, 2014

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    Why moving out of poverty is no longer a short process of following a simple road map to a good job.

  2. 2

    Why social bias, persistent poverty and trauma can directly undermine brain development and the skills most needed for success.

  3. 3

    The areas of the brain affected by adverse experiences

  4. 4

    Improvements in executive functioning are likely to positively impact outcomes in all areas of life

  1. 5

    Why new learning from brain science can be used to strengthen policy and program design.

  2. 6

    Recommendations on ways this science may be used to improve policy and program design and participant outcomes.

Key Takeaway

Improving executive functioning skills can lead to positive life-changes for people living in poverty

This report applies what has been learned about brain development and the effects of chronic stress on tangible new approaches to combatting entrenched poverty and moving families to economic independence. It shares ideas on how to build the skills that adults need to attain economic stability and create an environment that helps their children to develop their own adaptive skills. Recommendations include:

  • Improving the quality of tools and processes to address executive-function-related challenges with personal organization, remembering deadlines, adhering to schedules and following multi-step processes. 
  • Coaching program participants for sustained executive function improvements.
  • Reducing the time needed to apply for, maintain, travel to, or participate in programs to increase the likelihood of improved outcomes.

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations