Hard-to-Employ Parents

Research Report

Hard-to-Employ Parents

A Review of Their Characteristics and the Programs Designed to Serve Their Needs

Abstract

Many low-income parents with personal challenges that make work difficult (sometimes called the "hard to employ") seek help from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, but many do not. The most effective TANF programs offer cash assistance along with services that alleviate barriers and help clients find jobs. Other federal-state programs offer help by providing either generic employment services or specialized services that address particular challenges. Hard-to-employ parents probably fare best when they enroll in TANF and receive a holistic set of supports. A redesigned system should marshal all program resources to provide an integrated system that addresses barriers and supports work simultaneously.

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