Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability Research Consortium, 2012-2018

Project Overview

Much attention has been paid to the changes in policy, structure, and program operations caused by PRWORA, but relatively little attention has been paid to the significant effect that PRWORA had on data, research and program evaluation. Since the emergence of TANF there have been substantial changes in how federal and state governments develop, execute, and fund research and evaluation activities, as well as significant cutbacks in the collection, analysis, and reporting of administrative data.

To fill gaps in federal and state research and data activities and to complement its ongoing research, evaluation, and data analysis and reporting, OPRE is developing a multi-faceted Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability Research Consortium.

The first component of the Research Consortium is the Advancing Welfare and Family Self-Sufficiency Research project. Led by Mathematica Policy Research, this contract provides research support and a flexible research and evaluation mechanism for responding to rapidly emerging policy priorities and research opportunities. These activities will be accomplished using a combination of Mathematica’s expertise and the expertise and engagement of relevant consultants and experts.

The second component of the Consortium is the Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability Research Scholars Network. In the fall of 2013, OPRE awarded 7 grants to Principal Investigators to join a network of scholars who will investigate critical issues in family self-sufficiency and stability research. The Scholars Network is a collaborative enterprise of scholars who undertake research in family self-sufficiency and stability that is both scientifically rigorous and highly relevant to family self-sufficiency programs and research. The 7 Scholars and their research projects are:



Research Topic

Yumiko Aratani

Columbia University

Examining the Impact of Policy Changes on Child Care Subsidy Receipt and Child Care Stability among Low-Income Families with Young Children in Illinois

Gregory A. Fabiano

University at Buffalo, State University of New York

Engaging Fathers to Promote Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability

Colleen Heflin

University of Missouri

Family Stability and Material Hardship

Heather D. Hill

University of Washington

Promoting Economic Stability Amidst Precarious Employment and Complex Family Structure

Marybeth Mattingly

Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire

Understanding Family Stability and the Intergenerational Implications of Work across Place

Jennifer Romich

University of Washington

Income Stability of Families Involved with the Child Welfare System

Jodi Sandfort

University of Minnesota

Studying Family Self-Sufficiency Program and Policy Implementation: A Multi-Level Approach


The members of the Scholars Network will work independently and collectively to undertake a systematic, multi-disciplinary examination of the current gaps in family self-sufficiency and stability policies, programs and existing research; execute research and program evaluation activities in collaboration with state and local human services agencies and community-based organizations; and participate in a multi-disciplinary learning community by collaborating with other members of the Network and affiliated scholars.

The third, and final, component of the Consortium is the Family Self-Sufficiency Data Center. Through a grant awarded to the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, NORC and Chapin Hall, the Data Center will serve as a hub to support the development of state and institutional capacity for data collection, linkage, and where necessary, storage in order to provide access to high quality data to practitioners and policymakers in family self-sufficiency programs and research. The Data Center works independently as well as collaborating with members of the Scholars Network.

The point of contact for the project is Brendan Kelly.