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.