The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued this report, GAO-15-31, on Dec. 19, 2014, which focused on the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program and state agency efforts to support TANF beneficiaries enter or return to employment. Of the 10 programs GAO examined, 9 drew on the expertise of partner organizations— including community college systems, workforce agencies, and nonprofits. The programs also benefitted from decisions by state and local policymakers to dedicate funds—including TANF funds—for the selected programs. However, many program design and funding choices are left to the states, and GAO’s prior work has shown that state use of TANF funds for more costly welfare-to-work approaches can compete with other allowable uses of TANF funds. Second, TANF’s main performance measure does not necessarily encourage agencies to use certain approaches that incorporate longer-term education and training or treatment services. Third, little incentive exists for TANF agencies to evaluate their programs. HHS’s authority over many aspects of TANF is limited and it has not proposed legislative changes to address these areas. Without federal action, adoption and evaluation of promising approaches may continue to be limited to select states and localities, leaving TANF recipients in other locations without access to these promising approaches. To access the full GAO report, please click on View Page Now or go to: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-31
On behalf of the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, you are invited to participate in the National Dialogue on Career Pathways to be held on September 23, 2014. This important event will bring national attention to the critical role career pathways systems play in creating a strong economy where workers can gain the skills needed for good jobs and employers can hire workers with the skills they need. The meeting will be available via live stream broadcast at http://prg.mediasite.com/mediasite/Play/f1574e1999094289ab581d5b834de4d91d. The meeting will feature messages from our federal agency leaders on the importance of career pathways as a job driven training strategy. During the day’s meeting, you will also hear presentations and panel discussions from some of the nation’s leading state and local area career pathways practitioners providing insight into their experiences and promising practices, ranging from cross-agency partnership building to innovative strategies to help students, workers, and businesses. In addition, there will also be thought-provoking discussions with leading policy experts, business leaders, and philanthropists on the future of career pathways. To view the National Dialogue on Career Pathways Agenda please click on View Page Now or go to: NDM Agenda 9-4-14.pdf
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has on-line employment support of for ExOffenders at www.CareerOneStop.org/ExOffender CareerOneStop’s Job Search Help for Ex-Offenders offers information, tips, and resources to help people with criminal convictions overcome barriers they might face in their job search. There is also a wealth of information for counselors and others who work with individuals with criminal records. Through this website, you can find: State Resources – for help with basic needs or getting ready for job search Explore Careers – to learn more about work options Get Training – to improve skills or go back to school Find a Job – to search for and apply for jobs To access the Career One-Stop ExOffender website, please click on View Page Now or go to: http://www.careeronestop.org/ExOffender/index.aspx
MDRC recently released this report about results from the Youth Villages Transitional Living program which is intended to help youth who were formerly in foster care or juvenile justice custody, or who are otherwise unprepared for adult life, to make the transition to independent living. Youth Villages, which serves emotionally and behaviorally troubled young people, operates a number of programs in addition to Transitional Living. All of its programs are based on a set of core principles that emphasize treatment planning, systematic assessment of participating youth, and delivery of only evidence-informed practices within a highly structured supervisory system. To view the full report and findings, please click on View Page Now or go to:
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced the award of $74 million in grants to 37 community service organizations to provide employment, training and support services to successfully re-integrate formerly incarcerated adults and youth involved in the juvenile justice system into their communities. Grantees are expected to provide a range of services that include case management, mentoring, education and training that leads to industry-recognized credentials. Twenty-one grants, totaling more than $44 million, are being awarded for the second round of the Face Forward initiative, which combines the most promising workforce and juvenile justice strategies available to improve participants' chances of success. Funded programs will also help to address the stigma of having a juvenile record by offering services to seal juvenile records and providing opportunities to handle delinquency complaints outside of the juvenile justice system. The remaining funding, totaling $30 million to 17 organizations through the Training to Work — Adult Reentry program, will help men and women participating in state or local work-release programs gain the job skills necessary to succeed in-demand occupations upon reintegrating back into society. The grants also build on the department's commitment to fund sustainable programs through the career pathways initiative, which better coordinates education and training services to enable workers to attain industry-recognized credentials and find jobs. Both grant programs target areas designated as "Promise Zones". Promise Zones partner with local communities and businesses to create jobs, increase economic security, expand educational opportunities, increase access to quality and affordable housing, and improve public safety. To learn more about these grant awards, please go to http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ETA20141195.htm
An independent third-party evaluation of Minnesota Reading Corps, the nation’s largest AmeriCorps tutoring program, has found that elementary students tutored by AmeriCorps members achieved significantly higher literacy levels than students without such tutors, and that the impacts were statistically significant even among students at higher risk for academic failure. The study, released in March 2014 by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) also found that the tutoring model is replicable in multiple school settings using AmeriCorps members with varied backgrounds. Minnesota Reading Corps, a strategic initiative of ServeMinnesota, currently engages more than 1,100 AmeriCorps members at 700 public schools and Head Start centers throughout the state. Last year its AmeriCorps members served 30,000 students in Minnesota. For more information on this report, please go to: http://www.nationalservice.gov/impact-our-nation/research-and-reports/impact-evaluation-minnesota-reading-corps
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has developed an extensive Transition Plan Toolkit for state Medicaid agencies and other stakeholders to assist states as they develop transition plans to comply with the new home and community-based settings rule. The toolkit includes exploratory questions to assist states in assessment of residential settings and technical guidance on settings that isolate people from the broader community. To access the Toolkit, please "Download" or cut and paste the following in your web address bar: http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Long-Term-Services-and-Support/Home-and-Community-Based-Services/Home-and-Community-Based-Services.html
Webinar: Ending Youth Homelessness: Preliminary Intervention Model Webinar March 18, 2014 from 3:30 - 5:00 pm EST. Ending youth homelessness requires partnership and coordinated efforts in communities and at every level of government. USICH's Federal Framework to End Youth Homelessness is a resource text for dialogue and action toward ending youth homelessness together. The framework includes a Preliminary Intervention Model, designed to help communities identify the systems and capacity necessary to meet the needs of all youth experiencing homelessness. Learn more about the intervention model and how we can work together to end youth homelessness.To register for this webinar, please go to: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/846445951
Assets for Independence Demonstration Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Community Services. The AFI program awards grants to organizations seeking to improve the lives of low-income communities through accumulation of assets using a matched savings program, provision of financial education, and other asset-building services. HHS has developed a guide that provides comprehensive instructions and guidelines on how to successfully plan, implement and request an Assets for Independence (AFI) award for individual development account (IDA). ADI projects help low-income and working families build their assets, increase their economic security and plan and save for the future.Asset building means change. It offers new tools to reduce poverty including matching savings, financial education, and asset attainment – all change behavior that diversify the resources needed to handle life’s emergencies for low-income families.To access this guide, please go to: http://idaresources.acf.hhs.gov/servlet/servlet.FileDownload?file=015700000025fH4
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced funding to prevent homelessness and institutionalization of people with disabilities. HUD will provide $120 million in rental assistance to prevent thousands of people with disabilities from becoming homeless or having to live in institutions instead of integrated settings in their own communities. The funding will go to state housing agencies to develop long-term rental assistance programs for extremely low-income people with disabilities. The deadline for housing agencies to apply for this funding is May 5, 2014. To learn more about this funding opportunity, please go to: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/press/press_releases_media_advisories/2014/HUDNo.14-018
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low- and moderate-income workers encourages and rewards work, offsets federal payroll and income taxes, and raises living standards. The Child Tax Credit (CTC) also helps low-income working families by offsetting part of the cost of child rearing. Next to Social Security, the EITC combined with the refundable portion of the CTC constitutes the nation's most powerful anti-poverty program. These fact sheets provide state-by-state data on how the EITC and CTC reduce poverty, who benefits, how state EITCs can supplement the federal credit, and who benefits from two proposals to strengthen the credits, including an expansion of the EITC for childless workers.
The Corporation for National and Community Service is seeks to prioritize the investment of national service resources in economic opportunity, education, veterans and military families, and disaster services in Native American communities. Only federally-recognized Indian Tribes and tribal organizations are eligible to apply. Awardees may receive grans of up to $75,000. To obtain additional information and an application, visit: http://www.nationalservice.gov/build-your-capacity/grants/funding-opportunities/2014/americorps-indian-tribes-grants-fy-2014. Deadline: April 30.
To understand how best to help TANF recipients with disabilities, the Administration for Children and Families and the Social Security Administration, the parent agencies of TANF and SSI, contracted with MDRC and its partners to conduct the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project. The following publications were all produced as part of that research effort. Both Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) serve low-income individuals with disabilities. Yet the two programs’ differences in approach and structure pose challenges to coordinating services. Overall, the project found that the overlap in populations between TANF and SSI is not large, suggesting that the interaction between the two programs has little to do with TANF recipients being pushed toward SSI due to changes in TANF policy, as some had thought. This new understanding of the interaction between welfare and disability may better position policymakers to address other important questions, including how best to provide services to meet the special employment and support needs of low-income adults with disabilities. "Connections Between TANF and SSI: Lessons from the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project" summarizes the project’s findings overall. "Examining the Interaction Between Welfare and Disability: Lessons from an In-Depth Data Analysis" includes MDRC’s analysis of merged national-level TANF and SSI data — two rich data sources that have never before been linked — to better understand the extent of the two programs’ overlap. These and other briefs from the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project are available at: http://www.mdrc.org/project/tanfssi-disability-transition-project#related_content
Call for Presentations: Putting the Pieces Together: Using Research and Analysis to Improve Program Effectiveness and Reduce Poverty, February 2014 The National Association for Welfare Research and Statistics (NAWRS) has put out a Call for Presentations for the 54th annual workshop to be held on August 17-20, 2014. The theme of this year's workshop is "Putting the Pieces Together: Using Research and Analysis to Improve Program Effectiveness and Reduce Poverty." Researchers and practitioners from the public, private, and non-profit sector will have the opportunity to come together to share their ideas at this year's NAWRS Workshop. For more information, please see: http://origin.library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1104796466705-11/NAWRS 2014 Call for Presentations - Final2.pdf
On March 11, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. ET, "The Implications of State-Wide Job Losses on Child Well-Being" Webinar will feature Dr. Anna Gassman-Pines, the current Self-Sufficiency Research Clearinghouse (SSRC) Emerging Scholar. The United States is still recovering from the major economic downturn, and many men and women who lost jobs remain under- or unemployed. Researchers have long-documented that children suffer when their parents experience unemployment. The discussion will include how do adults' job losses specifically impact a child's academic achievement, mental health, and risk-taking behaviors. Registration for this webinar is at: https://events-na7.adobeconnect.com/content/connect/c1/1166535402/en/events/event/shared/1336676896/event_registration.html?sco-id=1336612924
The General Accountability Office (GAO) issued GAO-14-176: "Demographics and Service Usage of Certain High-Expenditure Beneficiaries" on Feb 19, 2014. GAO found that in fiscal year 2009, states spent nearly a third (31.6 percent) of all Medicaid expenditures on the most expensive Medicaid-only beneficiaries, who were 4.3 percent of total Medicaid beneficiaries. States spent another third (33.1 percent) on all other Medicaid-only beneficiaries, who represented 81.2 percent of total Medicaid beneficiaries. Among dual eligible beneficiaries, a similar pattern existed, with a small proportion of the population accounting for a disproportionate share of expenditures. Certain characteristics significantly increased the probability of being a high-expenditure Medicaid-only beneficiary. Specifically, the results of GAO's analyses indicate that the probability of being a high-expenditure Medicaid-only beneficiary was: •24.4 percent for those residing in a long-term care facility, •20.8 percent for those with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, •18.3 percent for those with disabilities, and •13.3 percent for new mothers or infants. Highlights of the report are at: http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661010.pdf A PDF version of the full report is at: http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661011.pdf
The Administration on Children and Families issued this February 2014 brief which provides an overall summary of the lessons learned from the TANF-SSI Disability Transition Project. It brings together material spread across other documents in a concise format, and it also offers new insights from state-level data analyses that largely back up the conclusions drawn from federal data. This brief summarizes findings from these research activities. • Analysis of merged TANF and SSI data. The analysis of national-level data found that the overlap between the TANF and SSI populations is not large. Field assessments at seven sites found that TANF recipients who are exempt from requirements to participate in work activities due to a disability generally have access to few targeted services designed to increase their self-sufficiency; there is little coordination between TANF programs and SSA during TANF recipients’ SSI application periods; and, at most sites, TANF agencies rely largely on medical professionals to determine TANF recipients’ ability to participate in work activities. •Pilot interventions. Ramsey County, Minnesota, developed a pilot program that targeted employment services to individuals with disabilities, which increased participants’ earnings by 75 percent in its first year. Los Angeles County aimed to facilitate coordination and communication with SSA and improve the quality of SSI applications submitted by TANF recipients in order to increase their initial approval rate. Muskegan County, Michigan, developed an intervention designed to improve the identification of disabilities among TANF recipients and provide enhanced services to TANF clients with disabilities.
TANF recipients with disabilities represent a sizable portion of the adult TANF population, but identifying the needs of clients with disabilities and offering them appropriate services can prove difficult for TANF programs and their staffs. Previous research estimates that around one in four adult TANF recipients has a disability, commonly defined as a physical, mental, or emotional issue that keeps a person from working or limits the kind or amount of work that person can do. TANF programs employ many different types of assessments to identify disabilities among recipients, including disability screenings, psychosocial and psychological assessments, clinical assessments, functional needs assessments, and vocational assessments. This practice brief describes different assessment strategies used by local agencies and organizations participating in the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project, discusses strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to assessment, and offers some points for program administrators and practitioners to consider in choosing methods of assessment. iii
National Disability Institute's LEAD Center is hosting the Webinar, "Innovative Strategies for Using Medicaid State Plan and Waiver Options to Promote Integrated Employment of People with Disabilities," on February 20, 2014 / 2:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern Time The Webinar is provided on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, in collaboration with the Disability and Elderly Public Health Group within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to discuss recent Federal policy guidance from CMS with state policy-makers and disability policy stakeholders. The Webinar is intended to be an interactive dialogue to address questions on the impact of these Federal policy developments on state systems-change efforts related to improving integrated employment and community-based engagement of citizens with significant disabilities. To register for this Webinar, please go to: http://www.leadcenter.org/webinars
The U. S, Department of Education announces the name change for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) to the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). Vocational education was recognized as a national priority with the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. “Career and Technical Education” has now replaced “vocational education” as a more accurate term to describe what and how students are studying to be career ready. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said, “The president and I believe that high-quality CTE programs are a vital strategy for helping our diverse students complete their secondary and postsecondary studies.” He acknowledged that those on a CTE track are helping our nation meet our economic and workforce challenges. “In fact, by implementing dual enrollment and early college models, a growing number of CTE pathways are helping students to fast-track their college degrees.”