I have published numerous publications investigating the structural lag between contemporary grandparent-headed households (GPHHs) and public policies and their differential incorporation into American society owing to their non-heteronormative families. I explore where and how structural lag and differential incorporation exists, and how when faced with these and other challenges, grandmothers strategize to fulfill their caregiving demands. When the Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences invited papers for consideration in its inaugural issue on “Severe Deprivation in America” I was one of nine scholars (out of 76 submission) selected for possible inclusion. As a Faculty Affiliate, I presented earlier drafts of the paper at the West Coast Poverty Center Seminar Series (2014) and Relational Poverty Network Annual Conference (2014), before presenting it at the Russell Sage Foundation Conference on Severe Deprivation in America (2014). “How Well Does the “Safety Net” Work for Family Safety Nets? Economic Survival Strategies Among Grandmother Caregivers in Severe Deprivation” (Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 2015), increases understanding of survival strategies and social welfare programs among low-income grandparent caregivers. I was interviewed by the NY Times columnist Eduardo Porter about my contribution to the inaugural issue. The UW’s media department and several media outlets reported on the paper’s findings.
Media attention received for “How Well Does the Safety Net Work” led to the solicitation of a related manuscript for inclusion in a forthcoming volume (Relational Poverty Politics! Edited by Vicky Lawson and Sarah Elwood, University of Georgia Press, 2016). In the peer-reviewed book chapter, “Safety Net Politics: Economic Survival Strategies Among Impoverished Grandmother Caregivers,” I use a relational poverty and intersectional framework to explicate the ways in which African American grandparent caregivers navigate the safety net from a position of vulnerability. In addition to public policies, my work examines the influence of interfamilial dynamics and non-profit organizations on grandparent caregivers (see “Doing What’s Right for the Baby: Parental Responses and Custodial Grandmothers Institutional Decision-Making” Women, Gender, & Families of Color, 2014 and "Grandparents as Caregivers for Grandchildren with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Health Care for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Across the Lifespan edited by Leslie Rubin, Joav Merrick, Donald E Greydanus and Dilip R Patel, 2016). Manuscripts in progress examine grandparent caregivers experiences of child care, child welfare, and housing policies, as well as the health implications of grandparent caregiving.