Exploring Measurement of Performance Outcomes and Work Requirements in Programs Promoting Economic Independence (EMPOWERED)

2017-2019
Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Low-income individuals and families frequently qualify for multiple human services programs that are funded, regulated, and administered by different federal agencies, each with its own eligibility criteria, program requirements, and performance priorities and metrics. The purpose of this study, conducted for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is to conduct a crosscutting examination of the use of performance measures, work requirements, and child support requirements among human services programs that include a focus on promoting self-sufficiency.

Through this examination, this study has three main purposes. First, it aims to identify a set of core measures or metrics that may be used to assess the effectiveness of human services programs in promoting work and consider how that information can aid program coordination. Second, the study will document the use of work requirements across human services programs and identify how work requirements could be best incorporated into human services programs that currently do not have them. Finally, the study will examine the use of child support cooperation requirements in assistance programs where they may be implemented as a state option and discuss policy considerations for states considering this option.

The study relies on several data collection efforts to inform findings. These include the following:

  • Environmental scans of publicly available documents describing human services programs and policies related to performance measures, work requirements, and child support cooperation requirements
  • Reviews of federal program administrative data on performance measures and work requirements across relevant programs, and exploratory analyses of available data on child support cooperation requirements and outcomes
  • Interviews with national and federal stakeholders, and state and local program administrators
  • Case studies and site visits to localities for in-depth information on performance measures and work requirements