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.
Division of Children and Youth Policy
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.
Division of Economic Support for Families
The Division of Economic Support for Families 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 support and opportunity, welfare-to-work issues, strengthening families and responsible fatherhood, child support enforcement, and domestic violence. Other key priorities include place-based initiatives, immigration and refugees, human trafficking, benefits access, and various human services programs.
Division of Data and Technical Analysis
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.
+Early Childhood and Child Welfare
+Economic Support and Employment
+Place-Based Initiatives and Community/Faith-Based Partnerships
+Social Services Delivery and Implementation
+Poverty and Measurement
New analysis of data from HUD's Family Options Study finds that about 30 percent of sheltered homeless families reported a separation from at least one family member. Family transitions continued in the following 20 months, with 10 percent of families experiencing new child separations and 8 percent reporting reunification with children who had not been with the family in shelter. Formal out-of-home placements were rare for children while families stayed in emergency shelter but grew over time.
Impact of Couples-Based Family Strengthening Services for Incarcerated and Reentering Fathers and Their Partners
This brief summarizes findings on the impact of couples-based family strengthening services in four prison-based programs from the Multi-Site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP) and discusses the implications for policy, programs, and future research. In one of the four grantee programs, the low-dosage healthy relationship retreat had sustained positive effects on multiple partnership and parenting relationship outcomes for a low-income, justice-involved population. This evaluation attempted to isolate the impacts of relatively low-dosage couples programming.
This brief uses a sample of over 1,000 reentering men in five states to examine reentry success. The analysis uses a common measure of recidivism as well as measures of success in other areas, including employment, drug use, and two dimensions of family relationship quality that are very rarely examined in reentry studies: financial support for children and intimate/coparenting relationship quality. The results suggest that most men were successful in at least four of the measured areas and that family contact during incarceration was positively associated with reentry success. Further,
New analysis of data from HUD's Family Options Study shows that twenty months after staying in an emergency shelter with their families, young children scored worse in pre-reading skills and had higher rates of overall behavior problems and early development delays compared to national norms for children their age. However, they displayed only small disadvantages in pre-math skills, and for some types of behavioral challenges their rates were similar to national norms.
In April 2016 the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) contracted with the Center for Policy Research and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence to host a two day roundtable convening of experts to discuss opportunities to build the evidence base for domestic violence (DV) services. This framing paper provided background information for that discussion. This paper: 1) briefly summarizes and critiques the current state of rigorous evidence on core DV victim services; 2) identifies some key challenges that have limited the development of—and eviden
Building the Evidence for Domestic Violence Services & Interventions: Challenges, Areas of Opportunity, and Research Priorities
This document summarizes the findings from the Building Evidence for Domestic Violence Services & Interventions study, including the results of a systematic literature review, interviews with subject matter experts, and the discussions over the course of a two day roundtable convening of experts. The purpose of this paper is to: 1) briefly describe the current state of the evidence for domestic violence services and interventions, and 2) highlight innovative and concrete areas of opportunity, identified by subject matter experts, for building this evidence base.
Exploring the Relationship Between Paid Family Leave and the Well-being of Low-Income Families: Lessons from California
This research report presents the results of a mixed-methods study that drew on California state administrative data and findings from focus groups with low-income working mothers to 1) explore how lower-income parents interact with California's PFL program and 2) better understand the relationship between PFL and key elements of family well-being, especially for economically disadvantaged families.
Factors associated with reduced expulsion in center-based early learning settings: Preliminary findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE)
This brief provides new national estimates of recent early childhood expulsion rates in a range of center-based early learning settings using data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), indicating how characteristics of early care and education (ECE) centers relate to the likelihood that children are denied services due to behavior. The analysis describes how access to comprehensive services, support for professional development for ECE teachers and staff, funding source (e.g., Head Start, public pre-K, private, etc.), and program sponsorship (e.g., non-profit, gover
This report summarizes findings from an ASPE study of the first year of the White House Rural Council/HHS Rural IMPACT demonstration, which aims to reduce poverty through coordinated services for both children and parents.
Report to the Congress Presenting HHS's Response to the Recommendations of the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities
This statutorily mandated report to Congress responds for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the many recommendations contained in the March 2016 final report of the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. Overall, HHS heartily embraces the Commission's vision for a robust response to families in crisis: one that intervenes early to prevent maltreatment and strengthen families whenever possible, but also protects children aggressively as needed.
This report provides welfare indicators through 2013 for most indicators and through 2014 for some indicators, reflecting changes that have taken place since enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996. The report analyzes the proportion of individuals who receive more than half of their total family income in one year from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and defines these individuals as “welfare dependent.”
This brief presents findings on family life during and after a father’s incarceration based on qualitative interviews conducted as part of the Multi-site Family Study on Incarceration, Parenting and Partnering (MFS-IP). Qualitative and mixed-method analysis of pre- and post-release interview data from 170 participants found that reentering men and their partners reported overwhelming, unmet needs for support to maintain family relationships during incarceration, overcome trauma, meet families’ material needs, and find housing and employment after the father’s release.
Family conflict is a key driver of youth homelessness, and most programs serving youth experiencing homelessness use some form of family intervention to address conflict and help reconnect youth when appropriate. This report summarizes existing evidence on family intervention strategies for youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness gathered through a literature review and supplemented with conversations with a small set of key informants. It also includes a summary of common elements of effective interventions and a discussion of gaps in the evidence base.
New analysis of data from HUD's Family Options Study of adolescents’ experiences in shelter with their families and 20 months later shows that most adolescents continued to live with their families, and some continued to experience housing instability or live in overcrowded situations. These adolescents were more likely to have changed schools or been absent from schools than their peers nationally, and school mobility was associated with persistent homelessness or doubling up.
Differential Response and the Safety of Children Reported to Child Protective Services: A Tale of Six States
Differential response (DR) is an increasingly common model for how child protective services agencies address reports of child maltreatment. Differential response systems seek to be less adversarial than traditional child protective services by separating incoming referrals into two (or more) tracks. Families with low to moderate risk and safety threats (variously defined) are encouraged to accept and use prevention services, an approach referred to as alternative response (AR).
Children Living Apart from Their Parents: Highlights from the National Survey of Children in Nonparental Care
This paper highlights the characteristics and experiences of the approximately 2.3 million U.S. children who live with neither biological nor adoptive parents, but instead live with relatives or non-relatives in foster care or less formal arrangements outside the foster care system. It presents an overview of descriptive results from the 2013 National Survey of Children in Nonparental Care (NSCNC), the first large-scale, population-based, nationally-representative survey to focus on issues specific to this group of children.
The Importance of Medicaid Coverage for Criminal Justice Involved Individuals Reentering Their Communities
The purpose of this issue brief is to highlight the importance of health insurance coverage for criminal justice involved individuals, particularly the importance of the expansion in Medicaid coverage made available through the Affordable Care Act. This issue brief explains why Medicaid and access to the health benefits the program covers can play a key role in improving the health not only of justice involved individuals, but also of their communities.
Many community-based organizations serving men coming out of the criminal justice system recognize that their clients have serious physical, mental, and behavioral health needs. They also recognize that the Affordable Care Act and the Medicaid expansion have created new opportunities for their clients to get access to affordable health care, however many organizations do not know what those opportunities are or how to connect their clients to them.
This fact sheet explores eligibility for health care coverage, including through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), for youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness. It provides information on subpopulations of youth who are likely to be eligible for health care coverage, which services are covered, and how to enroll. In addition, the fact sheet includes Medicaid and CHIP income eligibility levels for each state.
New analysis of data from HUD's Family Options Study of families' experiences in shelter and 20 months later shows that families experiencing homelessness are generally connected to public benefits at similar rates to other families in deep poverty. This non-experimental analysis finds that homeless families receive TANF, publicly funded health insurance (including Medicaid, CHIP, and state-funded insurance), and SNAP at equal or greater rates than other families in their communities who are also living in deep poverty.
This research brief examines program coordination between the child SSI and TANF programs, drawing upon analysis of administrative data and site visits to Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas. It finds limited coordination between the programs, and that TANF programs play a limited role in child SSI screening and referrals, due to changes in TANF administrative processes and the declining caseload.
This research brief examines pathways to the child SSI program, drawing upon analysis of administrative data and site visits to Kentucky, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas. It finds that informal referrals appear to be most common, though schools, health care providers, and legal services staff also play a role.
This brief will help community-based organizations serving low-income fathers better understand the new opportunities offered under the Affordable Care Act, why it is important information for their clients, and how they can help their clients get connected to health coverage and care.