Many programs and agencies collect data about their clients and service use but they may not have the time and resources to use those data to inform their decision making. This post shares some simple approaches for how to use data to improve programs.
A Review of the Literature
More than 5 million American children under the age of 18, a disproportionate number of whom are Black or Latino, have had a parent incarcerated. This report reviews studies about promising programs that seek to maintain and build healthy relationships between parents who are incarcerated and their children.
Next Steps for Research
The paper summarizes past and ongoing research, identifies gaps in knowledge, and presents four categories of potential questions to help define future research in employment and training programs serving low-income people.
The Breaking Barriers program, based in San Diego, provided employment services to lower-income individuals with disabilities. MDRC carried out a random assignment evaluation of the program. As part of the Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-income Families project, MDRC is collecting additional administrative records to extend the original evaluation.
Findings from the B3 Study
This brief describes an early analysis of Just Beginning (JB), a five-session, one-on-one program that uses videos and father-child play activities to build parenting skills. While JB was implemented successfully, only 55 percent of fathers completed at least one JB session, though those fathers typically completed most of the curriculum.
Findings from the B3 Study
This brief presents an early analysis of a program incorporating interactive cognitive-behavioral techniques with job-readiness services for fathers recently involved in the justice system. Implementation succeeded, but about 30 percent of fathers did not engage in the program or in existing fatherhood services, suggesting similar participation challenges in both.
Data from management information systems, direct observations, and the reactions of staff members can help programs understand themselves, identify areas for improvement, and set goals. This infographic presents examples of how programs in the Building Bridges and Bonds study used data from different sources to gain insights.
Implementing Individual Placement and Support in a Workforce Setting
Breaking Barriers was a San Diego-based program that provided employment services to low-income individuals with a range of disabilities or other health conditions. Preliminary analyses based on a survey found that the program did not have an impact on the primary outcomes measured — employment, length of employment, and total earnings — during a 15-month follow-up period.
Developing a Smartphone Application with Fathers, for Fathers
Fathers in Responsible Fatherhood programs can face numerous barriers to remaining involved with their children. This brief describes how MDRC collaborated with fathers to develop DadTime, one of the first smartphone applications designed specifically to help fathers improve their engagement with and attendance at parenting programs.
Welfare rolls declined after Temporary Assistance for Needy Families became law in 1996, and there was widespread consensus that its reforms were a bipartisan success story. But the onslaught of the Great Recession exposed serious flaws in the law. This memo describes a two-part solution based on experience and evidence.