Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability Research Consortium, 2012-2013

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 will provide 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 Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability Research Network. OPRE plans to invite applications for Principal Investigators to join a network of scholars who will investigate critical issues in family self-sufficiency and stability research. The Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability Research Network (the Network) will be 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. This project would support cooperative agreements with scholars who 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. OPRE plans to invite applications to support the development, implementation, and ongoing operations of a Data Center to support family self-sufficiency research and activities (Center). This Center would 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 center would work independently, but would also collaborate with an affiliated Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability Research Network.

The point of contact for the project is Brendan Kelly.