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Commentary
September 2021

In this commentary, originally published in District Administration, MDRC’s Michelle Maier and Shira Mattera offer evidenced-backed advice for policymakers and practitioners about how to invest new federal funds to enhance the quality of preschool programs.

Issue Focus
August 2021

Many programs and agencies collect data about their clients and service use but they may not have the time and resources to use those data to inform their decision making. This post shares some simple approaches for how to use data to improve programs.

Issue Focus
July 2021

Financial aid reduces dropout rates, yet college students are unaware of many financial resources available to them. The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act requires colleges to tell students they can apply for more aid. These evidence-based strategies can help schools create effective messages about aid to get positive responses.

Issue Focus
June 2021

Unemployed or underemployed parents have trouble paying child support. In the Families Forward Demonstration, child support agencies sought to help parents get better jobs and increase their earnings by teaching job skills needed by local employers. The questions arising from the project may help other agencies evaluate prospective job training partners.

Issue Focus
May 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic forced leaders of the Male Student Success Initiative at the Community College of Baltimore County to create an entirely online environment for a formerly hands-on program. Here are some measures the program took to deepen its commitment to supporting and mentoring its students.

Issue Focus
April 2021

Lessons from the Pandemic Year for the Future

The InPractice blog is MDRC’s place for sharing resources and tips developed by practitioners, for practitioners. This review of the past year’s posts shows how our program partners adjusted to difficult, uncertain conditions and continued to deliver services during the worst of the pandemic.

Issue Focus
March 2021

A Look at Shifts in Employment Services at Jewish Family Services

The pandemic required service providers to make abrupt, often improvised adjustments to keep working with clients, and some of those changes may become permanent. One Ohio-based social service agency is figuring out which changes it will retain as more normal operations resume.

Issue Focus
February 2021

New approaches to child support enforcement aim to be less punitive and to serve the whole family, not just child support recipients. Lessons from Washington State's Alternative Solutions Program show how this shift in perspective has made a difference during the pandemic.

Issue Focus
January 2021

This post describes the creative adaptations to the COVID-19 pandemic of two employment providers that use the Individual Placement and Support model to help people find and keep jobs despite multiple, serious barriers to employment.

Issue Focus
December 2020

When Washington state’s Division of Child Support closed its offices in March 2020 in response to COVID-19, its employment program—Families Forward Washington—kept running with minimal interruption, because the original design was based on working remotely. Its model may offer useful pointers for other service agencies for adapting to the pandemic.