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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

Practice Guide: Strengthening Partnerships Between Fatherhood and Human Services Programs to Improve Father Engagement

May 10, 2022
This practice guide is a resource for a broad range of human services and fatherhood programs aiming to be more inclusive of and responsive to fathers. Building on literature from the field and interviews with human services providers that engage fathers in services, this guide outlines the benefits of developing community partnerships between father-focused and other human services programs.
ASPE Issue Brief

Connecting Youth During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 9, 2022
This infographic explores the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on programs that support young people, ages 16-24, who experience disconnection from school and work, often referred to as "opportunity youth." It provides an overview of which education, job training, and supportive services, in addition to enrollment and implementation practices were added or ended during the first year (spring 20
Report, Report to Congress

Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors, 21st Report to Congress

April 26, 2022
This report provides welfare dependence indicators through 2019 for most indicators and through 2020 for other indicators, reflecting changes that have taken place since enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996.
Research Summary

Identifying and Supporting Human Services Participants with Substance Use Disorder: Roundtable Summary

March 28, 2022
This brief summarizes discussions among experts participating in a roundtable. The discussions focused on promising strategies to identify substance use disorder (SUD) among human services participants and refer them to treatment and recovery supports. The roundtable concentrated on four programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, child welfare, domestic violence, and Head Start.
Research Brief

Program Integrity and Effectiveness through Data and Analysis for the Family First Prevention Services Act

March 14, 2022
Program Integrity and Effectiveness through Data and Analysis (PIEDA) aims to enhance the capacity to share and link data between state child welfare and Medicaid agencies on issues at the nexus of the two systems. PIEDA intends to sustainably improve the data infrastructure of states to increase their ability to analyze challenges experienced by families involved in child welfare systems.
Report

Peer Support as a Social Capital Strategy for Programs Serving Individuals Reentering from Incarceration and Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence or Human Sex Trafficking

February 18, 2022
Many human services programs recognize the power of “social capital,” or the value that arises from relationships. This report offers insight into how programs use peer supports to help build social capital with participants who are reentering the community after incarceration or are survivors of intimate partner violence or sex trafficking.
Research Brief

Federal Economic Stimulus Projected to Cut Poverty in 2021, Though Poverty May Rise as Benefits Expire

February 10, 2022
To get a clear picture of how federal economic stimulus in 2021 supported people struggling economically, we projected how many people are in poverty in 2021 compared with 2019, before the pandemic. We also project the reduction in poverty related to stimulus efforts in 2021.
Research Brief

Methods and Emerging Strategies to Engage People with Lived Experience

January 4, 2022
This brief identifies methods and emerging strategies to engage people with lived experience in federal research, programming, and policymaking. It draws on lessons learned from federal initiatives across a range of human services areas to identify ways that federal staff can meaningfully and effectively engage people with lived experience. Related Products:
ASPE Issue Brief

Child and Caregiver Outcomes Using Linked Data: Project Overview

December 17, 2021
The Child and Caregiver Outcomes Using Linked Data project provides technical assistance to states to develop state-specific datasets linking the Medicaid administrative claims of parents with the records of their children from the child welfare system. The data will be combined into a multi-state, de-identified data sets for secondary data analysis.
Research Brief

Towards an Analytic Framework to Address Economic-Related Risk Factors in Child Welfare: Event Summary

December 15, 2021
Many child welfare systems have begun to provide prevention services to mitigate economic-related factors that place children at risk of entering foster care. Transforming child welfare systems to prevent child maltreatment and child welfare system involvement requires adequate information and analytic approaches.