This practice brief introduces three foundations for improving services for children and families in a human services environment that has become more complex and challenging. Investments in reducing complexity and bureaucracy, building skills of supervisors and staff, and putting humans back at the center of human service delivery can help programs meet the needs of families facing challenges like low educational attainment, unemployment, criminal records, mental and physical health issues, and children with special needs.
This practice brief shares strategies human services programs can use to improve customers’ experience and make their engagement in programming more meaningful. Drawing on Mathematica’s experience working with Philadelphia Works, Inc., the administering workforce development board for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)-funded services in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this brief provides a step-by-step guide to reduce the burden of paperwork and procedures for customers and staff while continuing to meet program environments.
Policy Announcement / Memoranda
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is soliciting invitations from ACF program offices, state- or county-administered human services programs, and local ACF grantees for participation in a pilot study under the Human Centered Design for Human Services (HCD4HS) project. Human-centered design (HCD) is a means to generate innovative solutions to complex problems through new, creative ways of thinking about a problem, and through intentional engagement with the beneficiaries of the solution.
Reports / Testimony to Congress
This updated and expanded report from the Congressional Research Service provides a summary of TANF block grant information and addresses frequently asked questions. The report covers TANF funding and expenditures, TANF caseload data, level of TANF cash benefits, and TANF work participation standards.
Policy Announcement / Memoranda
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) requests caseload data for October 2019 on the number of foster children supported with public funds and the number of children in families receiving TANF payments in excess of the poverty income level under the 2019 HHS Poverty Guidelines. The data will be used as part of a formula to allocate FY 2020 U.S. Department of Education, Title I, Part A of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funds.
This Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation brief and the accompanying presentation introduce rapid learning methods designed to advance rapid program improvement and support program effectiveness. The brief also seeks to address the considerations and criteria used to design an optimal rapid learning approach and offers recommendations on how federal agencies can promote the use of rapid learning methods.
Question / Response(s)
A representative from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services is interested in learning how other states utilize third-party MOE, specifically: what MOE do they use (other than Pre-K), how do they set up the third-party MOE, and do they use Boys and Girls Clubs of America for MOE and if so, please describe that agreement and process.
The Larimer County Works Program has implemented a goal achievement coaching model (Goal4 It!) hand-in-glove with a technology-based coaching platform, TuaPath. The combined approach, referred to as My Journey to Success, has redirected TANF staff and participants’ time and energy toward employment outcomes. With online and in-person tools to plan and track action steps with coaches, this approach supports participants in building executive function skills, goal setting capacity, and accountability to reach employment and life goals.
This MDRC set of videos identifies how implementation research is used to evaluate and improve program performance in real time, rather than identifying findings at the conclusion of a long-term longitudinal study. Profiles of three programs that have used implementation research are featured in the videos and include Communities in Schools, Detroit Promise Path, and Madison Strategies.
The Administration for Children and Families, is accepting nominations (including self-nominations) of state, territory, and county TANF agencies to become TANF agency pilots under the TANF Data Collaborative and receive support in becoming more data-driven in their program delivery. Up to eight pilot sites will be selected for a period of 30 months and will receive direct funding, targeted and hands-on technical assistance and training, individual support from TANF and data analytic experts, and peer learning opportunities on data use in program design and administration.