Bundling Services to Boost the Financial Security of Low-Income Families

Posted January 27, 2020, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Center for Working Families Framework

A new report delves into the evo­lu­tion and effi­ca­cy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Cen­ter for Work­ing Fam­i­lies (CWF) frame­work. The approach, intro­duced by Casey in 2004, aimed to help low-income fam­i­lies to achieve greater finan­cial secu­ri­ty by inten­tion­al­ly inte­grat­ing three core ser­vices areas: 1) work­force devel­op­ment and employ­ment ser­vices; 2) income and work sup­ports; and 3) finan­cial lit­er­a­cy edu­ca­tion and coaching.

The report, enti­tled The Cen­ter for Work­ing Fam­i­lies Frame­work, reviews the adop­tion, adap­ta­tion, assess­ment and repli­ca­tion of CWF in a vari­ety of insti­tu­tion­al and pro­gram­mat­ic set­tings across the coun­try. Read­ers also learn about the Foundation’s role in devel­op­ing and scal­ing the frame­work and how dif­fer­ent orga­ni­za­tions imple­ment­ed, exper­i­ment­ed with and refined the approach over time.

A table near the end of the report sum­ma­rizes high-lev­el find­ings from six key stud­ies on the imple­men­ta­tion of the CWF. This research helped to iden­ti­fy promis­ing prac­tices, such as:

  • uti­liz­ing coach­ing and oth­er forms of one-on-one inten­sive ser­vice delivery;
  • engag­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tive, cus­tomized goal set­ting for each participant;
  • tai­lor­ing ser­vices and ser­vice sequenc­ing for participants;
  • bundling ser­vices across core ser­vice strands; and
  • inte­grat­ing finan­cial coach­ing into the ser­vice pack­age — a move that is par­tic­u­lar­ly effec­tive when offered in com­bi­na­tion with employ­ment counseling.

Beyond high­light­ing what works, the report iden­ti­fies lin­ger­ing ques­tions about imple­ment­ing an inte­grat­ed ser­vice deliv­ery approach. For exam­ple, it calls for addi­tion­al research to iden­ti­fy the best sequenc­ing and dosage of ser­vices and to bet­ter under­stand how these details might change when serv­ing dif­fer­ent pop­u­la­tion groups.

Knowl­edge gaps notwith­stand­ing, the report suc­cess­ful­ly doc­u­ments CWF’s pro­found role in shap­ing ser­vice deliv­ery prac­tices across the fields of sup­port­ive ser­vices, post­sec­ondary edu­ca­tion, work­force devel­op­ment, and finan­cial lit­er­a­cy and coaching.

The Casey Foun­da­tion has also pro­duced a relat­ed set of pro­files that shares the imple­men­ta­tion expe­ri­ences of three CWF sites. The orga­ni­za­tions involved are: Jane Addams Resource Cor­po­ra­tion in Chica­go; Local Ini­tia­tives Sup­port Cor­po­ra­tion Indi­anapo­lis; and Spark­Point at Sky­line Col­lege in San Bruno, California.

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