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Office of Human Services Policy (HSP)

The Office of Human Services Policy (HSP) conducts policy research, analysis, evaluation, and coordination on various issues across the Department, including but not limited to, poverty and measurement, vulnerable populations, early childhood education and child welfare, family strengthening, economic support for families, and youth development. HSP serves as a liaison with other agencies on broad economic matters and is the Department’s lead on poverty research and analysis.

The Division of Children and Youth Policy focuses on policies related to the well-being of children and youth. Projects range from quick-turnaround policy analyses to large-scale experimental studies, and major policy initiatives. Key areas include early childhood, early care and education, home visiting, youth development and risky behaviors, parenting and family support, child welfare and foster care, linkages with physical and mental health, methods for evaluating what works, and strategies for improving research and data in these areas.

The Division of Family and Community Policy focuses on policies affecting various low-income populations. This includes policy development around major initiatives such as homelessness and reentry. It also includes conducting and coordinating analysis, research, and evaluation on the safety net, economic mobility and opportunity, welfare-to-work issues, strengthening families and responsible fatherhood, child support enforcement, and domestic violence. Other key priorities include place-based initiatives, the role of social capital in human services, human trafficking, benefits coordination.

The Division of Data and Technical Analysis focuses on policies and programs concerning low-income and otherwise disadvantaged populations. The Division provides data analytic capacity for policy development through data collection activities, secondary data analysis, modeling, and cost analyses. The Division focuses on cross-cutting human services policy issues such as income, poverty, cash and non-cash supports for low-income families, employment, fertility, and child welfare. The Division also issues annual updates to the poverty guidelines and reports to Congress on indicators of welfare dependence.

Topic Areas:

Reports

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ASPE Issue Brief

Child and Adolescent Mental Health During COVID-19: Considerations for Schools and Early Childhood Providers

September 24, 2021
COVID-19 pandemic’s social restrictions have prompted a surge in the mental health needs of children of all ages. Nationwide 4.3 million children/adolescents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of August 2021, and many of them will be returning to early childhood and school settings. Schools and early childhood programs have long been essential settings for delivery of mental health services.
Research Brief

The Initial Impact of COVID-19 on Children and Youth (Birth to 24 years)

September 21, 2021
This brief provides a high level overview of the impact of COVID-19 on the development, emotional and behavioral health, social, and economic well-being of children and youth (ages birth to 24).
Research Brief

The Impact of the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Recession on Families With Low Incomes

September 20, 2021
The COVID-19 crisis has disparately harmed low-income households. Across the United States, systemic inequalities in employment, wage-earning, health, and well-being have been strained for sub-populations facing poverty or near-poverty conditions.
ASPE Data Point

Infographic: A Framework for Father Engagement in Services

September 16, 2021
This infographic visualizes a framework for father engagement in human services, detailing key approaches and strategies used by programs, organizations, and systems.  Related Products:
ASPE Data Point

Infographic: What is Father Engagement?

September 16, 2021
This infographic defines "father engagement" and highlights ways programs, organizations, and systems play a role in promoting father engagement in services.  Related Products:
ASPE Issue Brief

Issue Brief: Father Engagement in Human Services

September 16, 2021
Fathers want to and can play an important role in their children’s lives, but too often human services programs have not focused on supporting dads. This brief identifies approaches and strategies at the program, organization, and system levels to strengthen engagement of fathers by human services programs. 
Research Brief

Complex Rules and Barriers to Self-Sufficiency in Safety Net Programs: Perspectives of Working Parents

September 14, 2021
This brief discusses the perspectives of a group of working parents on receipt of federal benefits. Based on focus groups, it examines program design and implementation, participation barriers, and factors that could help working parents more readily reach financial independence. Highlights are:
Research Brief

Risks that Come with Increasing Earnings for Low-Income Workers Receiving Safety Net Programs: Perspectives of Working Parents

September 14, 2021
In focus group discussions with 44 working parents receiving assistance from one or more federal programs, many parents shared the view that increasing earnings involves a number of risks. Participants described the sequence of possible risk events as follows:
Research Brief

How Some States Use Title IV-E Foster Care Funding for Family-Based Facilities that Treat Substance Use Disorders

September 13, 2021
The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) permits states to use title IV-E foster care funding for children placed in foster care with their parent in a licensed residential family-based treatment facility for substance abuse. However, few states currently use this funding, due to barriers such as competing priorities and lack of facilities.
Research Brief

Equity Considerations for Delivering Human Services Virtually

August 30, 2021
Virtual human services delivery has the potential to improve long-standing disparities in service access and outcomes. This brief highlights emerging lessons from the field, identifying considerations for programs to advance equity across all elements of service delivery. Related Products