The non-monetary benefits of work - July 2023
* Nonfinancial Benefits of Work

 Angela Rachidi, Senior Fellow and Rowe Scholar in Poverty Studies, American Enterprise Institute
​ * Why Work Matters: Refocusing the Safety Net on Work and Opportunity
   Leslie Ford, Adjunct Fellow, Center on Opportunity and Social Mobility, American Enterprise Institute

  • With our obsession over poverty (which is merely an income measure) as an indicator of family and social well-being, we overlook the more important aspects of work - - and we don’t just mean work as role modeling for children. Work is society’s organized method of gift-giving to other members of our human social organism. By providing useful goods and services to others, work is as central to personal thriving as it is to society itself. We will look at what the research and experience shows about the non- monetary benefits to individuals of this essential human activity.

Is “full engagement” in work activity as a condition of benefits dead? And what about those not ready to work for health reasons? - July 2023
* Full Engagement: Just “Process” from the Past?

   Grant Collins, President, FedCap 

  • Former HHS (ACF) official, NYC contractor and program manager Grant Collins will argue that adopting WIOA employment metrics are not the best measures for determining state level of effort at engaging those residing on the couch into activities leading to employment. WIOA measures capture people already working and count them in the numerator, leaving the rest Grant Collins, FedCap alone, a fact few non-specialists recognize. Perhaps counter-intuitively, a better overall system for TANF and food stamps is to count “engagement”, or the level of work related attendance andactivity, especially for those underprepared for work.

Overview of the situation after the election on the Hill and on the ground - November 2022 
* Welfare, Marriage and Abortions
   Robert Rector, Heritage Foundation 

  • We have the top right-of-center thinkers, researchers and congressional subcommittee directors to join us for a comprehensive look at where we are now and what we should focus on post-election. Polls look good - - Republicans to sweep all before us!

Overview of the Situation on the Ground - June 2022
* Safety Net Benefits in the Pandemic and Beyond
   Matt Weidinger, American Enterprise Institute​
* The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Quick Hits and Updates
   Jennifer Tiller, House Committee on Agriculture   
* Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Reauthorization Expanded Waiver and Demonstration                Authority to Spur Innovation
   Mason Bishop, WorkEd
* Amending WIOA
   Erik Randolph, Director of Research, Georgia Center for Opportunity
   Les Ford
* The Impact of Welfare Reform and Work-based Welfare on: Marriage, Non-Marital Births and Abortion
   Robert Rector, Heritage Foundation
* Child Poverty Has Been Cut in Half Since 1996 Welfare Reform
   Jamie Hall, Heritage Foundation

  • With trillions of new dollars spent and unpaid for, new and expanded benefits at the same time we are fighting a labor shortage, what does it mean for society and our agencies to manage through these shoals?  This session will review the evidence - - what has happened to the budget, the extent of new welfare and child credit distributions to lower middle class, and how we can advance our objectives of work, self-reliance and healthy families under the current environment.

The Pandemic and its Aftermath - November 2021
​* Adjusting TANF to the Social “Infrastructure” Bill
   Doug Besharov, University of Maryland
Largest Welfare Increase in U.S. History Will Boost Government Support to $76,400 per Poor Family
   Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
   Jennifer Tiller, House Nutrition Committee

  • Today social security pays monthly checks to 55 million retirees. President Biden  and the Congress have exceeded this number in one fell swoop by adding 65 million  children in 39 million families to a new state of dependency equaling 30 percent of  ALL households in America through the child tax credit. Previously the non working income available via average national benefit levels (TANF and Food  Stamps) was about $11,500 per year; now to $19,500 with the new tax credit. Our country is facing an acute labor shortage at the same time tens of millions are facing  work as merely an option. 
    How will the retreat from the idea of mutual obligation, e.g. work in exchange for  benefits, affect individuals making life choices and the body politic? How will the explosion of new entitlements in all areas of the welfare state affect the  responsibility of Americans to act as productive economic units and supportive  family members? We will discuss the current national state of affairs with  conservative’s top thinkers in program and budget matters spanning all human  services and workforce programs.

Tennessee Requests Guidance - August 2021

* TANF Opportunity Act Overview

   Clarence Carter, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Human Services

  • Longtime SIG secretary member from AZ and later Deputy Assistant Secretary for ACF at HHS, Clarence is newly in the position of TN Commissioner. When he showed up for work his first day he was told the state was in possession of $700 MILLION in unexpended TANF funds. To productively use this windfall, Clarence intends to authorize seven pilots around the state, paying for outcomes not process, with an emphasis on growing healthy families and economic self-reliance and independence from government programs. Here is the fun part for SIG secretaries - - he has asked all of us to brainstorm with him on how to best use these funds to achieve his objectives via the seven pilots, nothing is off the table. This will be the subject of the session.

Misused Poverty Statistics - December 2019

Measuring Poverty and Deep Poverty in the United States

Examining Extreme and Deep Poverty in the United States

Five Myths About Welfare and Child Poverty

   Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation

  • ​​Recently published research asserts that rates of extreme poverty, commonly defined as living on less than $2/person/day, are high and rising, amounting to 3.6 million non-homeless households. This absurdity is disproven by common sense. Two dollars a day is barely enough to provide calories to survive. So from where did this commonly asserted misinformation make its way into common academic discourse?
    In another mis-used statistic, critics of American prosperity often attempt to tarnish that title by claiming income is distributed less equally in the U.S. than in other developed countries.
    These critics point to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which ranks the U.S. as the least equal of the seven largest developed countries. But the OECD income-distribution comparison is biased because the U.S. underreports its income transfers in comparison to other nations. When the data are adjusted to account for all government programs that transfer income, the U.S. is shown to have an income distribution that aligns closely with its peers.

Administration for Children and Families - July 2019

An ACF/State Initiative Moving the Disengaged to Work

   Steve Wagner, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children & Families 

   Clarence Carter, Director, Office of Family Assistance

  • Roundtable all matters ACF, including TANF, child welfare, child care, child support, and more. Clarence Carter has asked SIG for time to present his vision for a future welfare system wholly constructed around healthy family self-reliance. Time will also be devoted to new opportunities for state implementation of at-risk alternatives to disability with funding from SSA and demonstrations approved by ACF.

ACF and TANF - November 2018

Up … Not Off: Moving from Medicaid to Self-Sufficiency

   Steve Wagner, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Administration for Children & Families          

   Clarence Carter, Director, Office of Family Assistance

  • ​We will cover all other topics including TANF, child support and child welfare. 


When and how to fight spurious studies from the poverty industry - November 2018

Kansas Model for Welfare Reform

   Steve Greene, Kansas Department of Children and Families

  • We have all experienced written reports from academia or think tanks from the Left claiming that state efforts to improve parental responsibility and obligations for employment will harm both children and the parents themselves.  Now the University of Kansas claims that work programs and time limits are throwing children into foster care (see excerpt below). The published report gained lots of publicity but the state did not take it lying down. Instead, they contracted for a more credible academic study of their own.
  • From a KS NPR report - - A University of Kansas study supports the suspicions of lawmakers and advocates who believe there’s a link between additional restrictions on welfare benefits and an increase in foster care cases.  The researchers say their initial findings show that while Kansas was reducing the amount of time families could receive cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and increasing the requirements they needed to meet for that assistance, the number of child abuse and neglect cases went up. Abuse and neglect are the leading reasons why Kansas kids enter foster care.

Administration for Children and Families - June 2018

   Remaking the Safety Net (RSN) Demos Welfare to Work Projects

   Clarence Carter, Director, Office of Family Assistance

  • Round table all matters ACF, including TANF, child welfare, child care, child support, and more.  Clarence Carter has asked SIG for time to present his vision for a future welfare system wholly constructed around healthy family self-reliance.   Jerry Milner will share his concept as to how child welfare systems can make prevention a priority, even before first contact with the agency. Angela Green will ask SIG states for help in identifying implementation issues under the new law so as to help ACF understand and support the federal responses necessary.

Full Work Engagement in TANF​​ - December 2017

Maine TANF Breaking the Cycle Achieving Targets and Outcomes: First 8 Months
   Grant Collins, Senior Vice-President, Fedcap

  • Welfare to work vendor, Fedcap, has increased Maine’s work participation rate since they began there only nine months ago, from 16% to 50% - - and have boosted exits due to employment fourfold over the same period. 

The Five Myths of Welfare Reform - July 2017

Are We Still Married? Family Structure and Family Policy in the Emerging Age of the Unformed Family
   Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation    

  • Public discussion of welfare is often misdirected because it is informed by faulty assumptions.  For example one myth is that the welfare state in the U.S. is small, particularly compared to Europe.  This and four other faulty commonplaces will be debunked.   

TANF Reauthorization -  November 2016

Lessons from Welfare-to-Work Experiments and Related Studies
   Jim Riccio, Director, Manpower Demonstration Research Corp.​

  • On the year of the twentieth anniversary of TANF, a lookback and discussion of changes as proposed by Ways and Means and other options to the program in light of reauthorization. Grant Collins will describe thinking behind the Bush Administration’s TANF 2006 changes which were codified into current law. Jim Riccio of MDRC was part of the team that conducted the seminal experimental studies on the net impacts of various approaches to welfare and work, and will describe the results.   Ohio Director Cynthia Dungey will help facilitate discussion among secretaries of the pros and cons of prospective changes to federal requirements.  

Kansas Ho!​ - June 2016

Kansas 2015 Session Welfare Reform Bill, HOPE Act

Kansas HOPE Act

  • Information on Kansas welfare policy reform and the HOPE Act

Kansas New Welfare Work Requirements

  • Statistics on the new Kansas welfare reform policies

Family Income and the Welfare Effect - June 2015​          

The Income Effect of Welfare
   Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow, DeVos Center for Religion and Domestic Policy Studies, The Heritage Foundation
Modeling Potential Income and Welfare Assistance Benefits in Illinois: Findings and Recommendations
   Erik Randolph, Senior Fellow, Illinois Policy Institute

  • Stacked welfare benefits with phase outs make it very difficult to increase family income as a result of wage increases.  

November 2014
A Tale of Two Decades: Post-Welfare Reform Progress Reversed
   Robert Doar, Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies, American Enterprise Institute

Important Research Findings - June 2014
America's Entitlement Epidemic: Dimensions and Implications
   Nicholas Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy, American Enterprise Institute

Conference Materials: Requiring and Supporting Work

**To view power point presentations and supporting materials, click on * bold, underlined title.

Secretaries' Innovation Group