Something Clever

We’re Asking

The first step in finding the best solutions is asking the right questions.
Together with our partners and funders, we make sure we’re in a position
to answer the questions that matter most to policymakers and practitioners.



  1. Testimony

    Rethinking Welfare in the Great Recession

    Issues in the Reauthorization of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

    In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, MDRC President Gordon Berlin describes recent trends in TANF, particularly during the economic downturn, and discusses what research and experience have to tell say about moving forward with the reauthorization of the federal welfare program.

  2. Brief

    Improving Employment and Earnings for TANF Recipients

    This policy brief, developed by the Urban Institute for the federal Administration for Children and Families, describes how strategies have helped welfare recipients enter employment and increase their earnings. However, more remains to be learned about how best to substantially increase their self-sufficiency and financial well-being.

  3. Report

    Welfare-to-Work Program Benefits and Costs

    A Synthesis of Research

    Most welfare programs seek to ensure that poor families have adequate income while at the same time encouraging self-sufficiency. Based on studies of 28 programs involving more than 100,000 sample members, this synthesis compares the costs, benefits, and returns on investment of six welfare program strategies -- from the perspectives of participants, government budgets, and society as a whole.

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