Panel: Measuring the Effects of Multi-Modal Efforts to Strengthen Connections Between Parents and Social Support Services
(Family and Child Policy)

Friday, November 3, 2017: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Stetson G (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Zoelene Hill, New York University
Panel Chairs:  Lisa Gennetian, New York University
Discussants:  Julia Henly, University of Chicago and Jennifer Wagner, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Using Behavioral Insights to Improve Connections Between Parents and Parenting Support Programs in NYC Public Preschools
Lisa Gennetian, Zoelene Hill, Michelle Spiegel and Caroline Friedman Levy, New York University

Low-income parents face a variety of administrative, logistic, and cognitive barriers that impede their access to social support services that can improve the health and well-being of their families.  State and local programs are working to address these barriers and improve program accessibility.  The three papers in this panel describe the effects of large- and mid-scale initiatives to measure and improve program accessibility, user experience, and program outcomes across a variety of state and local parent support programs.  These papers highlight the importance of integrating multiple sources of data, especially user experience data, to evaluate and improve program performance.  

The first study provides a user experience assessment of the effects of the Work Support Strategies (WWS).  The WSS was a five year, multi-state initiative to modernize and streamline the systems delivering work support services (i.e., Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and child care assistance).  The goal of WWS was to help low-income families access and maintain the full package of work supports for which they are eligible by addressing administrative and logistic barriers to program access.  This study integrates data from two waves of user surveys, focus groups with users, interviews with state and local workers, and administrative data to evaluate user experience and user perspectives on program accessibility and changes in the state-level work support programs over time.

 The second paper examines the effects of outreach strategies aimed at addressing cognitive barriers to participation in parenting support programs in NYC preschools.  Researchers partnered with a parenting support program that operates in over 20 NYC preschools and use a randomized design to integrate behaviorally informed messages into existing parent outreach strategies, delivered via print and digital platforms. This study integrates program attendance data with parent surveys and interviews to assess the effect of behaviorally-informed outreach on program attendance and to assess parents’ perspectives on the outreach strategies and program accessibility.  

The third paper describes the process, challenges, and efficiencies associated with developing and using program data to efficiently connect new parents with social support services in their community.  This paper is informed by practitioners’ experiences in the development of Durham Connects, a county-level universal nurse home-visiting program for parents of newborns that connects new parents with community support services – and the expansion of this program into seven urban and rural communities across the country. 

The panel includes discussants who will provide expert practitioner and academic reviews of the lessons learned from these state and local initiatives to improve parents’ connections to social support programs, and of the applicability of these lessons to other program contexts.

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