Work Support Strategies

About

Work Support Strategies: Streamlining Access, Strengthening Families (WSS) is a five-year, multistate initiative to help low-income families get and keep the work supports for which they are eligible. Since 2011, WSS has partnered with Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. Through grants and expert technical assistance, the initiative supports states in their efforts to reform and align the systems delivering work support programs that increase families’ well-being and stability—particularly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and child care assistance through the Child Care and Development Fund. Through WSS, states seek to streamline and integrate service delivery, use 21st-century technology, and apply innovative business processes to improve administrative efficiency and reduce burden on states and working families.

Funded by the Ford Foundation, the Open Society FoundationsThe Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., WSS is directed by the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) in partnership with the Urban Institute (evaluation and fiscal management lead) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) (technical assistance lead).

For more information about the initiative’s purpose, funders, phases, grantees, and offerings to states, please see the primary WSS website hosted by CLASP.

The Evaluation

One goal of WSS is to inform state and federal policy by evaluating states’ experiences and outcomes. The WSS evaluation team at the Urban Institute is working toward this goal with state leaders, CLASP and CBPP.  The evaluation has three major goals:

  • to document, understand, and draw lessons from the implementation of WSS activities in the states
  • to identify and track key outcomes that could be affected by the state’s activities and interventions
  • to measure the effect WSS or specific activities under WSS had on key outcomes

The Phase I evaluation documented each state’s planning efforts, including goals, activities, challenges, and approaches to overcome those challenges. This work culminated in reports for each state and a cross-cutting report that discussed key lessons from the states’ experiences. 

The Phase II evaluation includes implementation analyses and data-tracking activities for all six states as well as analyses to provide quantitative causal results. The evaluation takes into account each state’s activities, goals, priorities, and data availability, with the overall evaluation presenting results from across the states.

Results from the WSS evaluation will be presented in a series of reports and documents, including a final cross-cutting report and separate short reports addressing key aspects of the WSS initiative.  Individual report topics include the following:

Reports will be released in 2015 and early 2016, and the final cross-cutting report will be released in summer 2016. See the Evaluation Publications and Resources section of this site for reports that have already been published .