Freedman’s research focuses on programs that provide employment services, programs that serve young people, and reforms in the criminal justice system. She is primarily responsible for quantitative analysis design and management; she has also held roles in survey design, random assignment system setup, and visits to research sites to study program implementation. Freedman is the lead author of the report on Breaking Barriers, and co-authored the reports on the Families Forward Demonstration and PACE Center for Girls. Her current projects include Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-Income Families (BEES), the Pretrial Justice Collaborative, and the Roca Baltimore Study. Before coming to MDRC, she worked at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in Washington, DC. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Binghamton University.
MDRC PublicationsIssue FocusNovember, 2022
Risk factors such as housing instability and untreated mental conditions are prevalent among people who come in contact with the criminal justice system, so some jurisdictions are trying to connect them with social services. This blog post provides several examples of these support-oriented pretrial approaches and research on their effectiveness.Brief
Lessons from Breaking BarriersAugust, 2022
This San Diego–based program provided employment services to jobseekers with low incomes and a range of disabilities and health conditions using the IPS model, originally designed for and used successfully with people with serious mental illness. This practitioner brief presents lessons learned from testing the model with a different group.Report
An Individual Placement and Support (IPS) ProgramMarch, 2022
A San Diego program used IPS to help people with a range of disabilities find employment. This report summarizes 15-month evaluation findings from an earlier report and presents new impact findings. Of note, the analysis found the program increased earnings by almost $4,000 over the two-year follow-up period.Report
A Partnership Between Child Support Agencies and Local Service ProvidersApril, 2021
The Families Forward Demonstration examined strategies to help parents with low and middle incomes make reliable child support payments by increasing employment and earnings. The model, which emphasized free occupational training activities, shows promise for helping parents qualify for jobs in their chosen fields and for improving child support compliance.Report
Background and Directions for Future ResearchNovember, 2020
This paper describes the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model, a framework for providing employment services to those facing barriers to work. MDRC, in partnership with MEF Associates and Abt Associates, is studying IPS as part of the Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-Income Families (BEES) project.BriefMarch, 2020
The Breaking Barriers program, based in San Diego, provided employment services to lower-income individuals with disabilities. MDRC carried out a random assignment evaluation of the program. As part of the Building Evidence on Employment Strategies for Low-income Families project, MDRC is collecting additional administrative records to extend the original evaluation.Report
Implementing Individual Placement and Support in a Workforce SettingSeptember, 2019
Breaking Barriers was a San Diego-based program that provided employment services to low-income individuals with a range of disabilities or other health conditions. Preliminary analyses based on a survey found that the program did not have an impact on the primary outcomes measured — employment, length of employment, and total earnings — during a 15-month follow-up period.Report
Results from the Evaluation of PACE Center for GirlsJanuary, 2019
PACE provides academic and extensive social services in a gender-responsive environment to girls at risk of juvenile justice system involvement. Over a one-year period, PACE increased school enrollment and attendance, as well as girls’ likelihood of being “on track” academically.Report
An Implementation Study of the PACE Center for GirlsApril, 2017
To serve at-risk girls, PACE provides academic and social services in a gender-responsive environment, focusing on safety, relationships, and girls’ individual strengths while accounting for the effects of trauma. The program offers low staff-to-student ratios, counseling and case management, and a life skills curriculum targeted to girls.
In recent years, policymakers and other leaders have established new systems intended to divert people experiencing mental health crises away from the criminal legal system before an arrest occurs. While there is some research supporting the effectiveness of police-mental health collaboration models, the evidence is mixed and very little is known about long-term...Megan Millenky, Lily Freedman, Caroline Mage, Douglas Phillips, Kyla Wasserman, Emily Brennan, Susan Scrivener, Viktoriya Syrov, Shelley Rappaport
A variety of organizations have developed a wide range of programs and services tailored towards addressing the health, economic success, and broader well-being of individuals with substance use disorders. Individuals with a substance use disorders often experience barriers that make finding and maintaining stable employment a challenge, a problem that was only...Megan Millenky, Lily Freedman, Caroline Mage, Douglas Phillips, Emily Brennan, Susan Scrivener, Viktoriya Syrov, Johanna Walter, Sally Dai
Individual Placement and Support ( IPS ) is an evidence-based model for delivering employment services originally developed for people with serious mental illness and implemented in community mental health settings. It has since gained interest as a strategy to promote employment for a variety of populations with mental health and substance use disorders seeking jobs....
Roca, Inc . delivers services to young men between the ages of 16 and 25 who are involved in the justice system and who are at a high risk of being incarcerated or reincarcerated. Roca uses a cognitive behavioral intervention model that aims to create behavioral change in such young men. Its four-year program starts with two years of intensive interaction with a young...Bret Barden, Melanie Skemer, Chloe Anderson Golub, Brit Henderson, Lily Freedman, Emily Brennan, Sarah Picard, Rae Walker
Jurisdictions across the United States are taking steps to reduce the number of people who are detained in jail unnecessarily while awaiting trial. These reforms include the use of risk-assessment tools to inform release decisions and supervision programs during the pretrial period (before a case is adjudicated) to maintain court appearance and arrest...
The Bridging Access to Benefits and Care ( BABC ) project is a partnership among three organizations: Acacia Network (Acacia), St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction ( SACHR ), and Seedco. It is designed to address the social determinants of health for a vulnerable and disenfranchised, opioid-dependent population in the Bronx. The theory is that activities increasing...Sarah Picard, Melanie Skemer, Bret Barden, Chloe Anderson Golub, Brit Henderson, Lily Freedman, Rae Walker, Michelle S. Manno, Raul Armenta, Emily Brennan, Kyla Wasserman
MDRC ’s Center for Criminal Justice Research is dedicated to developing, evaluating, and disseminating actionable models for justice reform that improve efficacy, mitigate harm, and center those directly impacted by the criminal legal system.
We are committed to advancing evidence-based, equitable, and accessible solutions, sharing research findings with...
Many jurisdictions across the United States are rethinking the “front end” of the criminal justice system — the pretrial period between an arrest and the disposition of a criminal case. Often these reforms focus on the initial decisions that judges and other court stakeholders make about whether to detain individuals in jail while they are awaiting trial, and on the...Megan Millenky, Dan Bloom, Susan Scrivener, Charles Michalopoulos, Dina A. R. Israel, Johanna Walter, Lauren Cates, Sally Dai, Caroline Mage, Emily Marano, Viktoriya Syrov, Douglas Phillips, Kyla Wasserman, Lily Freedman, Osvaldo Avila, Emily Brennan, Jillian Verrillo, Gilda Azurdia, Frieda Molina, Shelley Rappaport, Clinton Key, Nandita Verma, Cynthia Miller, Jared Smith, Shawna Anderson, Kelsey Schaberg, Caitlin Anzelone, James A. Riccio, Keri West, Caroline Schultz, Ethan Feldman
Many Americans struggle in the labor market even when overall economic conditions are good. Unemployment is persistently high for some demographic groups and in certain geographic areas, and a large proportion of working-age adults — about two in five in 2019 — tend to be out of the labor force. Factors such as systemic racism embedded in the economy and...Dan Bloom, Carolyn Hill, Caroline Schultz, Kyla Wasserman, Lily Freedman, Bret Barden, Jennifer (Jenny) Hausler
More than one-third of all children under 18 — about 24 million children — live in single-parent families, the vast majority headed by single mothers. Although there have been improvements (such as automatic deductions from paychecks) in collecting and distributing child support from noncustodial parents (those who do not have physical custody of their children), more...
Adults with disabilities and recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ( TANF ) often struggle to find stable and meaningful employment, while state TANF agencies struggle to provide effective employment services in a timely and cost-effective manner. In 2013, MDRC , in collaboration with MEF Associates, completed an evaluation of Families Achieving Success...Megan Millenky, Jean Grossman, Louisa Treskon, Melanie Skemer, Sally Dai, Lily Freedman, Caroline Mage
Young girls and women make up an increasing share of the youth in the juvenile justice system, despite a national decline in the overall rate of juvenile incarceration in this country. In 2011, girls made up nearly 30 percent of all juvenile arrests, up from 20 percent in 1980. However, girls account for a very small share of the juvenile arrests for violent crimes and...