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

How do Head Start programs coordinate family support services and are their practices aligned with each family’s needs and well-being? This report presents case studies of six programs across the country and explores service coordination from multiple perspectives—Head Start staff members, families, and local community service providers.


The Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt project integrated procedural justice (the idea of fairness in processes) into enforcement at six child support agencies. After the study ended, the agencies could determine how they wished to continue to use procedural justice principles. This brief describes how they did so.

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.