Work Support Strategies
Work Support Strategies: Streamlining Access, Strengthening Families (WSS) was a five-year, multistate initiative to help low-income families get and keep the work supports for which they are eligible. Beginning in 2011, WSS partnered with Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. Through grants and expert technical assistance, the initiative supported 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 sought 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 Foundations, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., WSS was 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 income and work supports section of the CLASP website.
One goal of WSS was to inform state and federal policy by evaluating states’ experiences and outcomes. The WSS evaluation team at the Urban Institute worked toward this goal with state leaders, CLASP and CBPP. The evaluation had 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 included implementation analyses and data-tracking activities for all six states as well as analyses to provide quantitative causal results. The evaluation took 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 are 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:
- Improving the Efficiency of Benefit Delivery: Outcomes from the Work Support Strategies Evaluation
- Improving Business Processes for Delivering Work Supports for Low-Income Families
- States’ Use of Technology to Improve Delivery of Benefits
- Changing Policies to Streamline Access to Medicaid, SNAP, and Child Care Assistance
- Addressing Child Care Eligibility
- Observations of Leaders Driving Changes in State Government
- Joint SNAP and Medicaid/CHIP Program Eligibility and Participation
- Context on the Six Work Support Strategies States
See the Evaluation Publications and Resources section of this site for a full list of published reports and blog posts.