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Work Support Strategies: Streamlining Access, Strengthening Families


Work Support Strategies: Streamlining Access, Strengthening Families provides a select group of states with the opportunity to design, test, and implement more effective, streamlined, and integrated approaches to delivering key supports for low-income working families, including health coverage, nutrition benefits, and child care subsidies. The Ford Foundation, the project’s lead funder, has committed $21 million over five years, and the Open Society Foundations, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation have provided crucial additional support.  The combined resources will be invested over a five-year period to build on recent state and federal innovations by providing states with expert technical assistance, peer support, and financial backing to take their efforts to the next level. The initiative consists of two phases: a one-year planning phase and a three-year implementation phase.  An in-depth evaluation will describe state activities and lessons learned, track results, and analyze impacts of the initiative.

In early 2012, six states were chosen to receive reinvigorated support in three-year grants as they take up the challenge of implementing their innovative strategies to streamline services aiding low-income working families.

The Work Support Strategies project is led by a partnership of three national organizations: the Urban Institute, CLASP (the Center for Law and Social Policy), and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Olivia Golden, the Project Director for Work Support Strategies, is the Executive Director of CLASP.


Joint SNAP and Medicaid/CHIP Program Eligibility and Participation in 2011 (Research Report)
More than one-third of all children were eligible for both Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) benefits in 2011, the most recent year of data available. Far fewer adults were jointly eligible. Reasons for the difference include children’s high poverty rates and state eligibility policies. However, joint participation rates (the percent of eligibles receiving benefits) suggest that many eligibles were not participating. In four out of five of states with available data, less than three-quarters of those jointly eligible (adults and children) were receiving both benefits. Efforts to streamline and integrate application systems have the potential to improve program reach to families in need. Read more

Confronting the Child Care Eligibility Maze: Simplifying and Aligning With Other Work Supports (Research Report)
This report, a product of the Work Support Strategies (WSS) initiative, helps states confront burdensome administrative processes that make it difficult for low-income families to get and keep child care benefits, and the cumulative challenges eligible clients face in trying to access other benefits (i.e. SNAP/Medicaid). Read more

New Perspectives on Transforming States' Health and Human Services: Practical Commentaries on the First Year of the Work Support Strategies Initiative (Commentary)
In this commentary collection, twelve authors - national, state, and county leaders along with research and policy experts -- offer perspectives on lessons from the first year of Work Support Strategies (WSS). Read more

Transforming States' Health and Human Services Programs While Implementing the ACA (Event)
Monday, June 24, 2013

Contributors to “New Perspectives on Transforming States’ Health and Human Services” discuss important advances and practical lessons for federal, state, and local leaders from WSS’s debut year. Register Now

Lessons from the Work Support Strategies Initiative: Phase I State-specific and Cross-cutting reports (Research Report)
Despite tight budgets and different perspectives about the role of Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), and other safety net programs, state agencies participating in the Work Support Strategies (WSS) project, funded largely by the Ford Foundation with three other funders, reported numerous early gains in its debut year. Read more

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Work Support Strategies is a project of the Ford Foundation, the Urban Institute, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Open Society Foundations, The Annie E. Casey Foundation and The Kresge Foundation.

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