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Family Development and Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS): Implementation Findings from the Evaluation of Employment Coaching

Deena Schwartz, Karen Gardiner, and Correne Saunders: Abt Associates; Kristen Joyce and Sheena McConnell: Mathematica Policy Research

Report

January 12, 2022

Poverty and other chronic stresses can hinder the development and full use of the self-regulation skills needed to find and maintain employment. Research finds that goal setting and developing action steps to meet goals can help develop self-regulation skills. This project for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families assesses the implementation of four coaching interventions, including FaDSS, and their impacts on study participants’ self-regulation skills, employment, earnings, self-sufficiency, and other measures of well-being. Abt Associates is a subcontractor to Mathematica.

The implementation study of FaDSS found that:

  • Staff view home visiting as key to fostering a relationship with the participant and family, but it can be challenging to conduct
  • Coaches (“specialists”) are highly educated, experienced, and trained in family-centered practices
  • Family-focused, strengths-based coaching helps families set and achieve goals
  • Small caseloads enable frequent coach contact with participants
  • Coaching within the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families mandatory work-participation environment restricts goal setting
  • Participants face numerous challenges to employment, but coaches reported having limited resources available to address many of those challenges
  • Participants described their program experiences positively.

A  future report will discuss FaDSS’s impact on participants’ self-regulation skills, employment, earnings, receipt of public assistance, and other measures of personal and family well-being.