Family Development and Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS): Implementation Findings from the Evaluation of Employment Coaching

Family Development and Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS): Implementation Findings from the Evaluation of Employment Coaching

OPRE Report 2020-177
Published: Dec 30, 2020
Publisher: Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Deena Schwartz

Karen Gardiner

Correne Saunders

Key Findings

Overall, FaDSS was implemented as designed. Key findings from the implementation study are:

  • FaDSS staff view home visiting as key to fostering a relationship with the participant and family, but it can be challenging to conduct.
  • FaDSS specialists are highly educated, experienced, and trained in family-centered practices.
  • Family-focused, strengths-based coaching helps families set and achieve goals.
  • Small caseloads enable frequent contact with participants.
  • FaDSS specialists coach within a mandatory work participation environment, which affects the goal-setting process.
  • FaDSS serves a population facing numerous challenges to employment, but specialists reported having limited resources available to address many of those challenges.
  • FaDSS participants described their experiences positively.

This report summarizes the design and implementation of the Family Development and Self-Sufficiency (FaDSS) program. Operated by the Iowa Department of Human Rights for more than 30 years, FaDSS uses a coaching approach during home visits to assist families deemed most at risk of long-term welfare receipt to work toward and attain economic self-sufficiency. Family Development Specialists (“specialists”) work collaboratively with participants to set short-term and long-term goals that reflect participants’ interests, strengths, and current circumstances. It is one of four coaching interventions included in the Evaluation of Employment Coaching for TANF and Related Populations. Sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the evaluation aims to learn more about the potential of different coaching approaches in helping low-income adults become more economically secure. The evaluation includes an implementation study and an impact study.

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