Research & Kids Count Director
Nancy Wagman is the Research & Kids Count Director at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, supporting MassBudget’s research and overseeing MassBudget’s role as a Kids Count organization. Her own research focus is on children’s issues, health care, and federal funding in the state budget.
Prior to joining MassBudget, Nancy held several positions in the Massachusetts Senate Post Audit and Oversight Bureau; she was also a policy and program analyst at the state Department of Public Health; she was a WIC program director in a community health center; she was the planner and advocacy coordinator at a large community-based human services agency; and has been a special education advocate.
Nancy holds a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.C.P. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
This report traces economic and policy changes since the launch of the Great Society, and how these changes have affected the lives of children and adults at all income levels in Massachusetts.
Over the past several years, Massachusetts has expanded its efforts to improve the emotional well-being of our youngest children. Massachusetts is way ahead of other states in developmental screenings for young low-income children, according to a newly-released report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
To help improve the lives of poor children and their families, Massachusetts provides direct cash assistance through a program known as TAFDC. Over time, the value of this cash assistance has fallen significantly. For every dollar that an eligible family received in 1998, they receive just 58 cents today (adjusted for inflation).
Quality, Cost, and Purpose: Comparisons of Government and Private Sector Payments for Similar Services
We count on government to do many important things–things we can’t do alone–like provide good schools, protect our environment, promote public safety, and offer a safety net for those facing misfortune. In fact, we frequently take these essential functions for granted. Furthermore, we hope and expect that our investments in these shared priorities will be made as efficiently as possible. But are they? Occasional gross misuses of tax dollars often make the news–as they should. We need to hold government to a high standard and demand that waste is attacked and eliminated. But how can we really know whether our government is spending money wisely in general? (Click here to read the report.) And Read the related op-ed in the Boston Globe, “Look at what the state is doing right.”