Linda Houser

Linda Houser, PhD

Assistant Professor
houser.linda@gmail.com

Research Interests

Care-giving related employment disruption, child care subsidies, state and federal workforce policies and supports, and employment and care-giving in families of children with autism spectrum disorders

Courses Taught

Social Welfare Policy, Social Theory, Research Methods, Quantitative Data Analysis; at Widener, Social and Economic Justice I and Organizations and Program Development

Despite the remarkable progress we have made in a number of arenas, the individual concerns and social problems we face are remarkably persistent. If I did not believe, however, in the potential for positive change and in the role of social workers in assisting, facilitating, and initiating such change, my passion for the profession would quickly fade. I began my career in direct practice with the families of young children with chronic or disabling conditions, connecting them with developmental assessments and services. Over three years of this work, I realized that as much as families needed and wanted individual and family supports and services, they were often blocked from getting such things by budget constraints, administrative deterrence, or, simply, lives that were already overly full. Moreover, even if they were among the fortunate few to receive or to be able themselves to afford services such as therapeutic support, skilled in-home care, or high-quality child care, they often remained "in the dark" about the range of services available to them and their children. Whenever my agency brought parents together, we discovered deep veins of frustration that the professionals in their lives to date had been ill-prepared to inform them about concrete services and policies, or even to equip parents to advocate for service and policy changes as a community...a constituency.

Social workers tend to be busy people, asked to be and to do a great many things, at a great many levels of service and expertise. As someone passionate about the value of policy and research knowledge in social work, I see my job as learning about the interests and practice needs of student-practitioners, facilitating interactive knowledge-building around these needs, and equipping student-practitioners to continue to build policy knowledge – not only to apply and share such knowledge with those they serve – but also to critique policy with an eye toward constructive change.

My areas of research and policy interest include federal and state employment policies and supports (particularly earned sick days and family leave legislation), the role of states as "policy laboratories," child care subsidies, and employment and caregiving in families of children with chronic illnesses, particularly autism spectrum disorders.

Education

  • 2010 Ph.D., Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA
  • 2000 M.S.W., School of Social Work and Social Administration, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA (Concentration: Administration, Policy, and Planning)
  • 1996 B.S.W., Eastern University (formerly Eastern College)


Recent Publications

Houser, L., Schram, S. F., Soss, J., & Fording, R. C. (forthcoming May 2014). Child care subsidies and caseworker discretion in the post-welfare reform era. Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy, 35.

Houser, L., & Clouthier, E. (forthcoming Fall 2013). Gender Identity and the Contemporary Workplace. In C. Duffy (Ed.), Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in the Workplace: A Practical Guide. Arlington, VA: Bloomberg Bureau of National Affairs, Inc, (Bloomberg BNA).

Schram, S. F., Soss, J., Houser, L., & Fording, R. C. (2012). The Third Level of U.S. Welfare Reform: Governmentality under Neoliberalism. In J. Pykett (Ed.), Governing through Pedagogy. Routledge Books.

Vartanian, T. P., & Houser, L. (2012). The effects of childhood SNAP use and neighborhood conditions on adult body mass index. Demography, 47. doi: 10.1007/s13524-012-0115-y

Vartanian, T. P., Houser, L., & Harkness, J. (2011). Food Stamps and dependency: Disentangling the short-term and long-term economic effects of Food Stamp receipt and low income for young mothers. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 38, 101-122.

Schram, S. F., Soss, J., Houser, L., & Fording, R. C. (2010). The third level of U.S. welfare reform: Governmentality under neoliberalism. Citizenship Studies, 14, 739-754.

Vartanian, T. P., & Houser, L. (2010). The effects of childhood neighborhood conditions on self-reports of adult health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 51, 291-306.

Schram, S. F., Soss, J., Fording, R. C., & Houser, L. (2009). Deciding to discipline: Race, choice, and punishment at the frontlines of welfare reform. American Sociological Review, 74, 398-422.

Recent Presentations

Policy matters: The relationship between public policy, paid family leave, and economic security for U.S. workers. (with T. P. Vartanian). Paper presented at the 17th Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Work and Social Research (SSWR), January 2013, San Diego.

Policy in action: New research on family leave insurance. Paper presented at the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) conference, December 2012, New Orleans.

A dual degree program in social work and human sexuality: From student and faculty perspectives. (with J. Guigliano and H. Frost). Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), November 2012, Washington DC.

The integration of work and care for parents of children with Autism: A research update. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), November 2012, Washington DC.

The integration of work and care for parents of children with Autism. Paper presented at the National Research Conference for Child and Family Programs and Policies (NRCCFPP), July 2012, Bridgewater Massachusetts.

Giving voice to New Jersey's caregivers: The union experiences of home-based child care providers. (with E. Nisbet). Paper presented at the National Research Conference for Child and Family Programs and Policies (NRCCFPP), July 2012, Bridgewater Massachusetts.

Making research useful for public policy. (with V. Shabo). Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN) Conference, June 2012, New York City.

Unionized home-based child care providers in New Jersey. (with E. Nisbet and K. White). Paper presented at the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA) Conference, January 2012, Chicago, Illinois.

Child care subsidies & caseworker discretion in Florida's post-reform era. Poster presented at the 14th Annual Administration on Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (ACF/OPRE) conference, June, 2011, Washington DC.

Employment challenges connected to caring for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. (with D. Mandell, M. McCarthy, L. Lawer, and K. Branch). Paper presented at the International Labour Process Conference (ILPC), March 2010, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Focusing a gender lens on New Jersey employment in challenging economic times. Paper presented at the International Labour Process Conference (ILPC), March 2010, New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Caseworker discretion and child care subsidies in the post-reform era. (with S. Schram, J. Soss, and R. C. Fording). Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Work and Social Research (SSWR), January 2010, San Francisco, California.

Caseworker discretion and child care subsidies in the post-TANF era. (with S. Schram, J. Soss, and R. C. Fording). Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), November 2009, San Antonio, Texas.

The recovery model comes to welfare: Success stories, oblates, advanced marginalization, and the medicalization of welfare reform. (with S. Schram, J. Soss, and R. C. Fording). Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA), September 2009, Toronto, Canada.

The effects of food stamp program participation and childhood neighborhood conditions on adult BMI and health outcomes. (with T. P. Vartanian). Paper presented at the 49th Annual Workshop of the National Association for Welfare Research and Statistics (NAWRS), July 2009, Albany, NY.

Deciding to discipline: A multi-method study of race, choice, and punishment at the frontlines of welfare reform. (with S. Schram, J. Soss, and R. C. Fording). Presentation at the 11th Annual Administration on Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (ACF/OPRE) conference, May 28th, 2008, Washington DC.

Deciding to discipline: A multi-method study of race, choice, and punishment at the frontlines of welfare reform. (with S. Schram, J. Soss, and R. C. Fording). Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, September 1, 2007, Chicago, IL.

Policy Briefs and Non-Refereed Publications

White, K., Houser, L., & Nisbet, E. (2013, January). Policy in action: New Jersey's Family Leave Insurance Program at age 3. Center for Women and Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Houser, L., & White, K. (2012, October). Awareness of New Jersey's Family Leave Insurance Program is low, even as public support remains high and need persists. Center for Women and Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Houser, L. (2012, August). Shifting focus: Employment trends for men both nationally and in New Jersey. A report of the New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission Council on Gender Parity in Labor and Education.

Houser, L., Nisbet, E., & White, K. (2012, May). Giving voice to New Jersey's caregivers: The union experiences of home-based child care providers. Center for Women and Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Houser, L., & Vartanian, T. P. (2012, April). Policy matters: Public policy, paid leave for new parents, and economic security for U.S. workers. Center for Women and Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Houser, L., & Vartanian, T. P. (2012, January). Pay matters: The positive economic impacts of paid family leave for families, businesses and the public. Center for Women and Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Houser, L. (2011). Bridging gaps, forging alliances: Fifth Annual Women in New Jersey's Science and Technology Workforce Summit. A Report of the New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission Council on Gender Parity in Labor and Education.

Houser, L. (2010). Taking initiative: Re-tooling for an economy that can handle curves: Fourth Annual Women in New Jersey's Science and Technology Workforce Summit. A Report of the New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission Council on Gender Parity in Labor and Education.

Houser, L., & Eng, S. (2009). Green now! Women leading the way in science and technology: Third Annual Women in New Jersey's Science and Technology Workforce Summit. A Report of the New Jersey State Employment and Training Commission Council on Gender Parity in Labor and Education.

Schram, S. F., Soss, J., Fording, R. C., & Houser, L. (2009). Experimental evidence on the influence of race and ethnicity on TANF sanctioning. Insights on Southern Poverty, 6(2), 1, 10.

 

Awards

  • Award for Best Article of 2011 for ""Food Stamps and Dependency: Disentangling the Short-term and Long-term Economic Effects of Food Stamp Receipt and Low Income for Young Mothers," presented by the Editorial Board of the Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare and the Social Welfare Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP).
  • Best Paper on Public Policy (2008), for "Deciding to Discipline: A Multi-Method Study of Race, Choice, and Punishment at the Frontlines of Welfare Reform," a paper presented at the 2007 annual conference of the American Political Science Association (APSA).
  • Rivitz Fellowship (2007), awarded by Bryn Mawr College for dissertation proposal

 

Professional Memberships and Community Service

  • Society for Social Work and Social Research (SSWR)
  • Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN)
  • Employment Instability, Family WellBeing and Social Policy Network (EINet)
  • Society for the Study of Social Problems (SSSP)
  • Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Elections Inspector, Ridley Township Board of Elections, Fall 2004 to Present
  • Member of the Immigration Justice Group affiliated with the New Sanctuary Movement, Philadelphia