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Publication Title

Children and Youth Services Review





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Elsevier, Ltd.


This study examines the use of emergency management laws as a policy response to fiscal emergencies in urban areas. Focusing on one Midwestern Rust Belt state, we use a mixed methods approach – integrating chronology of legislative history, analysis of Census data, and an ethnographic case study – to examine the dynamics of emer- gency management laws from a social justice perspective. Analysis of Census data showed that emergency man- agement policies disproportionately affected African Americans and poor families. Analysis indicated that in one state, 51% of African American residents and 16.6% of Hispanic or Latinos residents had lived in cities that were under the governance of an emergency manager at some time during 2008–2013, whereas only 2.4% of the White population similarly had lived in cities under emergency management. An ethnographic case study high- lights the mechanisms by which an emergency manager hindered the ability of residents in one urban neighbor- hood, expected to host a large public works project, to obtain a Community Benefits Agreement intended to provide assistance to residents, most of whom were poor families with young children. We conclude with a dis- cussion of how emergency management laws may impact social service practice and policy practice in urban communities, framed from a social justice perspective. We argue that these are not race neutral policies, given clear evidence of race and ethnic disparities in their implementation.


Author Posting © Elsevier, Ltd. 2016. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier, Ltd. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 70, August, 2016.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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