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Glossary M - Z

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marginal tax rate A marginal tax rate is an income-dependent benefit loss that has a de facto impact similar to that of an increased income tax rate. Although not really a tax, the concept of a marginal tax rate is useful because it conveys the net value of additional earnings. More information on marginal tax rates can be found in the brief When Work Doesn't Pay .
maternity or paternity leave Leave for new mothers or new fathers around the birth of a child.
Medicaid Medicaid is the U.S. health program for eligible individuals and families with low incomes and resources. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the states and federal government, and is managed by the states. Among the groups of people served by Medicaid are eligible low-income parents, children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Being poor, or even very poor, does not necessarily qualify an individual for Medicaid. It is estimated that approximately 60 percent of poor Americans are not covered by Medicaid. Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with limited income in the US. Because of the aging population, the fastest growing aspect of Medicaid is nursing home coverage.
medical leave Leave used for an individual’s own serious illness.
Medicare Medicare is a social insurance program administered by the U.S. government, providing health insurance coverage to people who are aged 65 and over, or who meet other special criteria. Medicare operates as a single-payer health care system. Medicare is part of the Social Security Act of 1965, and has provided insurance coverage to beneficiaries since then.
minimum wage The minimum wage that can be legally paid to a worker. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. States can adopt minimum wage rates at any level, but only state minimums above the federal are really meaningful (there may be small numbers of people who are covered by state wage laws but not federal, but most are covered by both).   The minimum wage for workers who make a significant portion of their wages from tips is lower at both state and federal levels.
NASMD National Association of State Medicaid Directors. The National Association of State Medicaid Directors (NASMD) is a bipartisan, professional, nonprofit organization of representatives of state Medicaid agencies (including D.C. and the territories). NASMD has been affiliated with the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) since 1979. The NASMD states that its primary purposes are "to serve as a focal point of communication between the states and the federal government, and to provide an information network among the states on issues pertinent to the Medicaid program."
NASMHPD National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.
National Association of State Medicaid Directors (NASMD) The National Association of State Medicaid Directors (NASMD) is a bipartisan, professional, nonprofit organization of representatives of state Medicaid agencies (including D.C. and the territories). NASMD has been affiliated with the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) since 1979. The NASMD states that its primary purposes are "to serve as a focal point of communication between the states and the federal government, and to provide an information network among the states on issues pertinent to the Medicaid program."
National Outcomes Measures (NOM) Content forthcoming.
National Research Institute (NRI) Content forthcoming.
NRI National Research Institute.
OHI Other health impairment (OHI).
paid family leave The concept of taking time off from employment in order to care for a family member during a major life event, including a serious illness or the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. Family leave may be paid, meaning that the person taking time off still receives income, or unpaid, meaning that income stops until the person returns to work. In the United States, unpaid family leave is supported by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
parental leave Time off for new parents (mothers and fathers) around the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child in order to bond with and care for the new child.
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) is a United States federal law considered to be a fundamental shift in both the method and goal of federal cash assistance to the poor. PRWORA was signed into law on August 26, 1996 as part of efforts to reform the welfare system. PRWORA instituted Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which became effective July 1, 1997. TANF replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program which had been in effect since 1935 and also supplanted the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program of 1988. TANF was reauthorized in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.
poor An individual or family is classified as poor if they make less than the federal poverty line ($10,830 for one adult and $22,050 for a family of four in 2009). This measure is widely considered to be flawed, however, with individuals and families routinely needing at least twice the federal poverty line to afford basic necessities of life, such as food, housing, childcare, transportation, and health insurance.
prevention 1) Processes that occur before there is a diagnosable mental illness. 2) Interventions that occur not only before the initial onset of a disorder, "but also to interventions that prevent commodity, relapse, disability and the consequences of severe mental illness for families" (National Institute of Mental Health). Therefore treatment which reduces the likelihood and severity of future mental health problems may also be classified as prevention.
progressive universalism In a public health and policy context, policies and programs that benefit individuals or families at all (or virtually all) income levels, but provide higher levels of benefits to those who need them most.
promotion Within the public health framework, the process of raising awareness of the importance of certain concepts, actions, or ideals; for example children's mental health care or the necessity of work supports for working parents.
PRWORA Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.
public health framework Content forthcoming.
refundable tax credit Tax credits that offset families’ tax liability and provide a refund to those whose income is too low to owe taxes. More information about refundable tax credits is available in the position paper When Tax Day is a Maze of Inequities .
residential treatment facility In the context of children's mental health, a treatment facility designed to provide individualized, active mental health treatment to children and adolescents with severe emotional disturbances within an intensively staffed residential setting.
resiliency The ability to adapt positively in response to a traumatic or adverse event.
SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
SAPT See substance abuse prevention and treatment.
SBIRT Screening, brief intervention, referral, and treatment initiatives.
SCHIP State Children's Health Insurance Program.
school wide positive behavior support (PBS) A systematic approach used in schools to improve student behavior by reinforcing desired behaviors and eliminating inadvertent reinforcement for problem behaviors. PBS is embedded in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which requires behavioral assessments and appropriate intervention prior to disciplining children with disabilities whose behaviors are a manifestation of their disability.
Section 8 housing vouchers Section 8 housing vouchers help low-income families pay for housing in the private market. Only a small percentage of eligible applicants receive them, with most placed on a waiting list when they apply. Recipients may select any housing with rent at or below the “fair market rent” set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) if the owner agrees to accept the voucher as payment. Section 8 housing vouchers are federal benefits, so the national government makes most key policy decisions and provides funds for vouchers and associated administrative costs. However the vouchers are distributed by local public housing authorities, which retain some control over which applicants are served. Income eligibility limits and fair market rents vary by locality, based on area median income and local rent prices respectively, but they are determined at the federal level by HUD. Section 8 housing vouchers and rental certificates were established by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, and in 1998, the voucher and certificate programs were merged into the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. More information is available at NCCP's Section 8 housing vouchers state profiles.
SED Severe emotional disturbances.
SEL Social and emotional learning.
severe emotional disturbances (SED) According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act "a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree, which adversely affects educational performance: An inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers. Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems."
severe mental illness (SMI) According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "severe mental illness is defined through diagnosis, disability and duration, and includes disorders with psychotic symptoms such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, manic depressive disorder, autism, as well as severe forms of other disorders such as major depression, panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder." Often, people with severe mental illness have difficulty functioning in school, at work, or within their families and communities, and may be a danger to themselves (due to dangerous behavior or the risk of suicide) or others (due to likelihood of causing injury to others, either deliberately or unintentionally).
SMI Severe mental illness.
SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The program that replaced the federal Food Stamp Program. SNAP is a federal-assistance program that provides assistance to low- and no-income people living in the United States. Benefits are distributed at the state level, but the program is administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. SNAP benefits are now distributed using cards, but for most of its history the program had actually used paper denominational stamps/coupons worth US$1, US$5, and US$10. These stamps could be used to purchase any prepackaged edible foods regardless of nutritional value (for example soft drinks and confectionery could be purchased on food stamps). In the late 1990s, the food-stamp program was revamped and actual stamps were phased out in favor of a specialized debit-card system known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) provided by private contractors. Many states merged the use of the EBT card for public-assistance welfare programs as well. The successful replacement over time of all paper food stamps by EBT cards enabled the renaming of the Food Stamp Program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by October 2008, and to the updating of all references in federal law from "stamp" or "coupon" to "card" or "EBT." Recipients must have near-poverty incomes to qualify for benefits.
SOC System of care.
social and emotional learning (SEL) The process of acquiring the skills to recognize and manage emotions, develop caring and concern for others, establish positive relationships, make responsible decisions and handle challenging situations effectively.
SSBG Social Services Block Grant.
SSI Supplemental security income.
State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Formerly the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), CHIP is the program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services to provide matching funds to states for health insurance to families with children. The program was designed with the intent to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) The U.S. Federal agency charged with improving the quality and availability of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitative services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illnesses. SAMHSA is a branch of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
SUD Substance use disorders.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) The program that replaced the federal Food Stamp Program. SNAP is a federal-assistance program that provides assistance to low- and no-income people living in the United States. Benefits are distributed at the state level, but the program is administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. SNAP benefits are now distributed using cards, but for most of its history the program had actually used paper denominational stamps/coupons worth US$1, US$5, and US$10. These stamps could be used to purchase any prepackaged edible foods regardless of nutritional value (for example soft drinks and confectionery could be purchased on food stamps). In the late 1990s, the food-stamp program was revamped and actual stamps were phased out in favor of a specialized debit-card system known as Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) provided by private contractors. Many states merged the use of the EBT card for public-assistance welfare programs as well. The successful replacement over time of all paper food stamps by EBT cards enabled the renaming of the Food Stamp Program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by October 2008, and to the updating of all references in federal law from "stamp" or "coupon" to "card" or "EBT." Recipients must have near-poverty incomes to qualify for benefits.
supplemental security income (SSI) A federal income supplement program, funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income, and provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
system of care In the children's mental health context, a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that are organized to meet the challenges of children and youth with serious mental health needs and their families.
targeted In health or other service provision settings, selective based on biological or social factors of individuals or subgroups.
Tax Equity and Financial Responsibility Act (TEFRA) Option A less frequently used Medicaid option. Also known as the Katie Beckett Law, this act permits a higher income level threshold for Medicaid coverage.
TEFRA Option Tax Equity and Financial Responsibility Act Option.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) The United States of America's federal assistance program, informally known as “welfare,” though only a portion of TANF funds are used for cash benefits, and states also use TANF funds for a variety of programs that do not provide cash benefits but are designed to meet the TANF goals. TANF began on July 1, 1997, and succeeded the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, providing cash assistance to American families with dependent children through the United States Department of Health and Human Services. TANF cash assistance benefits have work requirements and timelines which must be followed for benefits to be received. Also, state rules and regulations surrounding initial eligibility, the amount of benefits received, and ongoing eligibility vary widely, with a third of states setting the maximum income at 50 percent of the poverty line, which economic researchers agree is only about a quarter of the minimum income needed for most families to afford basic necessities for survival. (See also federal poverty measure and low-income.)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA or the Buckley Amendment) is a United States federal law whose regulations provide that educational agencies and institutions that receive funding under a program administered by the U. S. Department of Education must provide students with access to their education records, an opportunity to seek to have the records amended, and some control over the disclosure of information from the records. With several exceptions, schools must have a student's consent prior to the disclosure of education records. Examples of situations affected by FERPA include school employees divulging information to someone other than a child's guardians about a child's grades or behavior, and school work posted on a bulletin board with a grade.
transition-age youth Content forthcoming.
trauma-informed practices This privacy policy also governs how state agencies transmit testing data to federal agencies.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) A Cabinet department in the Executive branch of the United States federal government charged with developing and executing policy on housing and cities.
universal In a public health and policy context, policies and programs that benefit individuals or families at all (or virtually all) income levels. See "progressive universalism" for more.
welfare Either the now-defunct cash assistance programs that existed in the United States prior to the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 or (more commonly) an unofficial or informal term used to refer to the cash assistance provided by the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. The TANF program, however, offers both cash benefits programs and other programs.
work supports Federal and state benefit programs that can help families make up the difference between low earnings and basic expenses. They include, child care assistance, public health insurance, earned income tax credits, SNAP/food stamps, and housing assistance.
wraparound An established method for delivery of services and supports to children and families with severe and multiple needs and risks being served by multiple agencies. Wraparound services are an individually designed set of services and supports provided to children with serious emotional disturbances or serious mental illness, and their families, that includes treatment services, personal support services or any other supports necessary to maintain the child in the family home. Wraparound services are generally developed through a team approach that includes the child or youth, parents or guardians, other services providers and agencies, schools, extended family and friends, and others that the child or family identifies, with those included working together to develop and implement the solution(s) identified.
youth driven In public health and overlapping fields and contexts, this term denotes programs and practices designed with the needs of youth in mind.

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