Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Human Services Analysis Execution Project

2018 - 2022

This project builds on the earlier OPRE Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Human Services (RED) project. RED helped build a base of knowledge to inform the Administration for Children and Families (ACF)’s identification and understanding of ethnic and racial differences across the service delivery system. More specifically,

  • in access to and take-up of human services;
  • in the nature and quality of services received;
  • and in the outcomes of services.

To help us better understand how racial and ethnic disparities might affect ACF programs, RED accomplished a number of activities including:

  • a conceptual framework and literature review -
    • the conceptual framework provides a definition of disparities for human services, outlines where along the social service delivery system racial and ethnic disparities might be found, and facilitates the distinction of racial and ethnic differences from disparities.
    • the literature review synthesizes the existing research on racial and ethnic disparities in relation to the service delivery system of six programs operated under the auspices of ACF.
  • preliminary data analyses to identify racial and ethnic differences between eligibility and participation within and across four ACF programs.
  • a research design plan for potential future research activities to reliably identify racial and ethnic disparities across the service delivery system of a range of ACF programs and services.
    • the design plan outlines research questions and proposes approaches to addressing those questions, including recommended data sources, analytic strategies and data collection activities.

This current project, the Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Human Services Analysis Execution Project (or RED-X), is implementing aspects of RED’s research design plan for two (2) ACF programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF). 

For TANF, the project is exploring the following questions — using a combination of family-level survey data, data generated by microsimulation, and TANF program administrative and policy data:

  1. Racial and ethnic differences in the level of underlying financial need for TANF cash assistance,
  2. The stringency of TANF policies that people of different race and ethnicities face based on where they live, and
  3. The use of a multivariate approach to better understand racial and ethnic differences in participation rates.

For CCDF, the project is exploring the following questions - using a combination of family-level survey data, data generated by microsimulation, and CCDF program administrative and policy data:

  1. Racial and ethnic differences in the level of underlying financial need for child care subsidies, 
  2. Understanding differences by race and ethnicity in CCDF participation rates among program-eligible families, and
  3. Potential differences in participation rates, by race and ethnicity, across different parts of the country.

The goal of this project is to improve ACF program delivery for all racial and ethnic groups. The project will use the results of the analyses to develop briefing papers.

The contractor is the Urban Institute with NORC.

Point(s) of contact: Kim Clum and Amelie Hecht.