New CDE Affiliate Profile: Marci Ybarra

Marci Ybarra, Associate Professor of Social Work

Dr. Ybarra’s research focuses on the overall impacts of social policies and programs as well as place-based variations in their designs in service to enhancing the social safety net and, in turn, family well-being.

What piece of your research you are most excited about at the moment?
I am really excited about an upcoming project on equity in the Unemployment Insurance system in Wisconsin. This is a multi-method collaborative project with lots of great folks at IRP in partnership with the state of Wisconsin. I am on the qualitative team for the study. The project will help to shed light on reasons workers do not take up UI benefits and, in turn, hopefully offer recommendations to improve equitable UI takeup and processing.

Is there any unfolding project, research conference/event, or upcoming speaking event you would like to highlight?
I am a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Addressing the Long-term Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Children and Families. Several of us from the committee will participate in a plenary session at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies this spring to discuss the committee’s recommendations for policies and programs to assist marginalized families and children in recovering from the pandemic period. We hope to do more public events on this in the near future to help facilitate conversation and action.

Are there any recent publications you would like to highlight for the CDE community?
I have an upcoming paper in RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences with Frania Lua that draws on qualitative interviews with low-income Latina citizen, immigrants, and undocumented women with children directly before and after the pandemic in Chicago. We find that low-income Latina women with children struggled to make ends meet prior to the pandemic, which dramatically increased in the wake of COVID-19, especially among women who were also undocumented and ineligible for federal-level pandemic provisions. The exclusion of the citizen children of immigrants from early pandemic provisions, among our sample, contributed to further alienation from and less trust in government and other public institutions, which has important implications for policymakers, researchers, and advocates’ efforts to attenuate the pandemic’s deleterious effects.

We’ve made it to spring, but what is one thing you love about winter in Madison?
I am a lifelong Midwesterner so you would think Madison winters would feel like ‘home’ but I can tell you not all midwestern winters are created equally! I remember arriving on campus as a PhD student years ago, and realizing this, which forced me to learn how to go about having a life during and ultimately enjoying Madison winters. Now, my favorite thing to do during winter in Madison, is a nice, snowy walk either when it’s sunny or by moonlight in the evening, dressed appropriately for winter weather of course.