Systems to Family Stability National Policy Academy


These resources relate to the use of assessments to understand client needs, strengths, and barriers in order to deliver appropriate services and effective case management.

The Office of Family Assistance developed this guide to help state TANF agencies recognize the important role they have in identifying and serving families experiencing homelessness and families at risk of homelessness. It is intended to help states better assess for homelessness and housing instability during intake and formulate cohesive strategies with state and local homelessness providers and systems, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-funded Continuums of...
The National Crittenton Foundation, in partnership with Ascend at the Aspen Institute, developed this toolkit to guide use of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) survey in direct service, education, and policy settings. The toolkit is designed to promote healing for individuals impacted by childhood trauma, educate the community about the impact of childhood adversity, and encourage implementation of two-generation policies to prevent ACEs for future generations. Materials provided include...
This toolkit, created through Colorado’s Work Support Strategies (WSS) grant, is designed to help county and community-based organizations define, measure, and use well-being metrics to improve services and achieve outcomes. It includes a “how to” section that organizations can follow to change their practices and measure client outcomes rather than program outputs.

Case Management and Coaching

These resources provide information on effective case management and coaching practices.

Stakeholder Resource
A new study, launched by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation and conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and Abt Associates, will document the design and implementation of coaching interventions and examine their effectiveness of helping low-income individuals work toward economic stability.
Journal Article
Ramsey County, Minnesota’s welfare counselors draft long-term employment plans for their clients. Instead of pushing clients into getting the first available job, they create plans that are broken down into manageable steps. This article from Governing Magazine highlights this innovative approach and its benefits.
In addition to academic, technical, and professional skills, today’s workers also need a set of personal success skills. Personal success skills are skills that allow adults to deal with challenges, relationships, and transitions involved in the workplace. This report from SRI Education and the Joyce Foundation highlights the need for unemployed and underemployed adults to hone these skills in order to build a sustainable career.

Executive Functioning

These resources define principles of executive functioning and provide information on how to use these principles to enhance client services.

This report from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University focuses on “core capabilities,” including executive function, and how they can be impacted by toxic stress, leading to challenges with life skills such as parenting and workplace effectiveness. The report discusses how environmental triggers can impact ability to use core capabilities to maintain emotional balance, and reviews how and when these skills develop. The report also includes examples of how excessive stress can...

This 2012 training module from the Washington State Department of Early Learning provides an overview of executive functioning skills, what they are, how they affect children and provides tips to child care workers.

Fact / Tip Sheet

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) created this guide for writing easy-to-read materials for audiences who have trouble reading or understanding information. The guide offers tips on how to understand your audience, how to write clearly and format materials cleanly, and how to evaluate your materials for readability.

Program Redesign

These resources provide research, tools, and examples to help programs as they engage in redesign efforts.

This report by the Urban Institute describes findings of the Work Support Strategies (WSS) initiative, which helps states improve their service delivery, run programs more effectively, and modernize. Through technical assistance, grants, and peer learning, WSS aids state programs in Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. This report discusses business process redesign efforts undertaken by these states and the outcomes of these efforts.
This short 40-second video from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) shows how Cuyahoga County, Ohio partnered with OPRE and MDRC to explore using behavioral science insights to increase child support collections. The findings suggest that low-cost, low-effort interventions, such as mailings and text messages informed by behavioral science, can improve child support outcomes.
This report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities discusses the concept of “churn,” when the periodic review of public benefits eligibility leaves benefits-eligible households without benefits temporarily, and forces them to reapply. Churn costs benefit recipients and state agencies both time and money, so reducing churn is beneficial for all involved parties. The report uses the experience of states involved in the Work Support Strategies project to discuss lessons learned about...

TANF and WIOA Coordination

These resources identify strategies and benefits for building collaborations between TANF agencies and workforce agencies through the opportunities created by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA).

Peer TA Products (miscellaneous)

The TANF/WIOA Learning Community is an initiative sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance. Developed in response to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which offers an opportunity for significant and improved collaboration between workforce agencies and partners such as TANF, the community brings together seven teams from states across the country to explore strategies for successful integration of TANF and...

Toxic Stress

These resources define toxic stress, provide information on how to adapt programs to meet these needs of those affected by toxic stress, and offer strategies for preventing toxic stress in children.

Stakeholder Resource
The Annie E. Casey Foundation hosted this webinar in October 2016; the webinar recording is available online. The webinar is part of a series discussing lessons learned from the Foundation’s Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP) initiative, which is working with youth, especially those who have been justice system involved, homeless, or in the child welfare system, to address the challenges that make it difficult for them to achieve degrees or maintain jobs. LEAP sites have aimed to make...
Stakeholder Resource
This post from the Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring is part of a series on toxic stress. In this post, the authors highlight what professional staff need to know about toxic stress to best serve vulnerable youth and families.
The Administration for Children and Families, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Administration for Community Living, the Offices of the Assistant Secretary for Health, and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have worked together to develop this Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services. The guide provides an introduction to the topic of trauma, discusses why understanding and addressing trauma is...

Two-Generation Approaches

These resources provide strategies for developing programs that address the needs of multiple generations and offer promising strategies being used throughout the United States.

Stakeholder Resource
This post from the Annie E. Casey Foundation presents data at the state and national level regarding the well-being and economic status of families. The author notes that to achieve financial stability, all available parents will likely need to work. In addition, the post discusses the need for access to affordable child care and paid leave.
Profile / Case Study
Ascend at the Aspen Institute offers a case study on Colorado’s two-generation efforts within their human services system. Some of the strategies implemented by Colorado include: more holistic practice models and policies; broad partnerships between state government, counties, nonprofits, and philanthropies; smart planning and resilient execution; testing and course adjustments; and embedding two-generation approaches into existing efforts, instead of creating separate programs.
In this report from the Urban Institute, the authors identify and discuss 13 building blocks that they deem fundamental to advancing the economic mobility of low-income Americans. The building blocks include: family formation and stability; parenting skills; high-quality child care and early learning; elementary and secondary education; postsecondary education; employment and training; wages, wage supplements, and work supports; cash or near-cash safety net; asset formation and access to...