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A Poverty-Informed Approach
to Leadership for Change


Leaders set the tone for prioritizing what we do to improve the well-being of children and families. As part of CalTrin’s poverty-informed training series, we engaged leaders with a deeper understanding of strategies for building services that break poverty barriers.

The discussion and related materials focused on systemic change and building community capacity as well as poverty-informed leadership practices. 

Leading an organization that is responsive and successful in addressing poverty barriers requires a well-considered process and vision. Below you will find resources curated by the CalTrin team intended to stretch how leaders think about poverty and the families you serve as well as the role of the Protective Factors in developing poverty-informed practices.

Community Opportunity Map

The Casey Family Programs’ Community Opportunity Map is an interactive tool that highlights the aspects of communities that are associated with safe children and strong families. This interactive, research-based framework is composed of select U.S. Census Bureau indicators and is available for any community in the nation to use. It was informed by significant evidence of the community factors correlated with child maltreatment and a healthy community framework developed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The tool maps community indicators at geographic levels defined by the user, from the state level down to neighborhoods. Access the Community Opportunity Map online here.


MITM Behavioral Economics at Work

In this brief video from Mind in the Making, Lawrence Aber, PhD, discusses how behavioral economics is being used in program design to address barriers faced by parents and families in supporting child development. Dr. Aber is a Professor of Psychology and Public Policy at New York University.  Mind in the Making is a program of the Bezos Family Foundation that curates the science of children’s brain development and learning, shares it with the general public, families, and professionals, and translates this research into transformational in-depth training and materials. 

Policy Research & Policy Podcast: Sarah Halpern-Meekin on ‘Social Poverty’

Listen to Dr. Sarah Halpern-Meekin from the Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison, discuss the concept of social poverty. In meeting the needs of low-income families, how can we provide information or resources in a way that promotes dignity and human connection? We can be purposeful in designing programs that meet social needs, in addition to economic needs. 

Poor Kids: What Poverty Means to Children in America

When we can’t afford to pay our bills, like, our house bills and stuff, I’m afraid, like, we’ll get homeless. Me and my brother will starve. You never know what’ll happen in your life, so yeah.” –Kaylie (age 10)

The 2017 documentary, Poor Kids, explores what poverty means to children in America through the stories of three families. After watching the film, discover what happened to these families in FRONTLINE’s 2019 follow-up story.

Stanford Center on Poverty & Inequality: America’s Poverty Course

It’s a special moment in U.S. history in which income inequality has reached unprecedented levels, poverty remains extreme, and racial and gender inequalities are intransigent. Why is there so much poverty and inequality? How might they be reduced? Learn the answers to these questions and more from leading experts in the field through Stanford University’s course on poverty and inequality. They offer a free nine-week online course or you can opt to watch the course videos at your own pace (approx. 5 minutes each). Topics include: Income Inequality, The Experience of Poverty, The Causes of Poverty, Educational Access & Outcomes, Social Mobility & Jobs, Gender Inequality, and Race, Ethnicity, & Immigration. Learn more and register for future courses online here.

Extend Your Learning with CalTrin!

CalTrin’s innovative learning model enables child- and family-serving professionals to choose training and educational experiences that work for their schedule, learning style, and career path—all at no cost to learners. It also provides opportunities to extend learning beyond an individual training event by supporting participants with related resources and practical applications. Explore our Calendar for upcoming webinar and workshop opportunities as well as browse our Training Archive for prior CalTrin trainings on this topic.