States Strengthen Work Support Strategies in First Year of Initiative

Apr 03, 2013

By Christine Johnson-Staub

In the midst of tighter budgets and cuts in benefits spending, some states are focusing on more effective administration of public benefits that support working families. They're doing so because they know that these benefits, which include programs focused on nutrition, health care and child care, help families become and stay employed and promote children's success in school and life. By streamlining eligibility processes and cutting red tape for these programs, states can reduce administrative costs and make it less daunting for working families to get the help they need.

For example, states involved in the Work Support Strategies (WSS) project are making administrative and programmatic decisions that help families more easily acquire benefits for which they're eligible. Reports on the initial planning year of the project (2010-2011), released by the Urban Institute today, indicate that participating states have made progress in simplifying application processes, streamlining eligibility policies, and coordinating the administration of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP - formerly Food Stamps), Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and child care assistance.

As a partner in the WSS project, CLASP provides technical assistance to states to strengthen the administration of their child care assistance programs in the context of the broader WSS focus on coordinating across multiple programs. In the first year of the project, WSS states took steps to reduce barriers to families' enrollment in child care assistance programs and to improve continuity of care for children.


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