Single-parent families are more likely than two-parent families to live in poverty and have fewer opportunities for economic mobility. Many of the participants in MDRC’s evaluations and demonstrations across policy areas are single parents and their families.

The Latest

The Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) project integrates procedural justice (the idea of fairness in processes) into enforcement at six child support agencies. This brief draws on interviews conducted with noncustodial and custodial parents in the study and describes parents’ perspectives on and experiences with the child support program.


Some 10.5 million children in this country live in poverty, yet little is known about how they and their families view their daily experiences of poverty. In this report, children, adolescents, and their parents who participate in social safety net programs discuss their perceptions of poverty, wealth, and economic inequality.

Key Documents

This report from the national Employment Retention and Advancement Project examines the 27,000 single parents who participated in the studied programs to understand the characteristics of those who successfully advanced in the labor market.


As the first major effort to use a behavioral economics lens to examine human services programs that serve poor and vulnerable families in the United States, the BIAS project demonstrated the value of applying behavioral insights to improve the efficacy of human services programs.