The feedback on Brief 1 began with general comments about the framing of the documents. Some participants were concerned that the briefs be realistic and accept possibilities like living with debt indefinitely. Additionally, participants agreed it would be helpful to include a resource document.
From a marriage perspective, a commenter was interested in how the program examples were chosen to be included in the brief. It was explained that the programs were highlighted in order to show diversity and give a survey of results. It was not necessarily to show best practices, since the practices highlighted tended to be too new to have substantial evaluation completed. A practitioner suggested that it would be useful to include information on best practices. One possible example is the Marriage Development Account (MDA) pilot program in Washington, DC. As mentioned earlier, MDAs are modeled after IDAs but work with engaged or married couples instead of individuals. Couples participating in the program who earn less than $50,000 combined are eligible to receive a 3:1 match on their savings up to a maximum of $12,000. They can then use their savings and the matched funds to invest in postsecondary education, small business, or a first time home purchase in Washington, DC. Even preliminary evaluation information for MDA is unavailable at this time, so ascertaining whether the program represents a best practice is not currently possible. However, promising practices could likely be identified.
Some participants noticed a need to include information about decision-making, planning, and the ability to follow-up. They described this process as pathways and suggested including a flow chart that shows how individuals make their way through organizations and receive services. Additionally, expanding on the role of extended family was mentioned.