Human Services

SPR’s commitment to improving the well-being of families, individuals and communities is evident in our work evaluating and providing capacity-building assistance to numerous human services initiatives.

For a full list of SPR’s workforce projects, please see the Workforce and Human Services Division project page.

Project Spotlight: Evaluation of Alternatives to Improve Elderly Access to SNAP

Evaluation of Alternatives to Improve Elderly Access to SNAP

Historically, approximately a third of the eligible elderly population has participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the largest of the domestic nutrition assistance programs administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In response to the low participation levels and unique economic circumstances of elderly households, FNS has implemented specific eligibility criteria for elderly households, and has developed several demonstration projects and opportunities to waive federal regulations that seek to address elderly access to SNAP. This evaluation focused on how nine states implemented five demonstration projects and waivers that are specifically targeted to increase elderly access to the program: Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP); Combined Application Project (CAP); Standard Medical Deduction (SMD); Elderly and Disabled Recertification Interview Waiver; and 36-Month Certification Demonstration. .

Full Report

Executive Summary

Appendix A – State Profiles

Project Snapshot by Subject Area

SPR’s work related to this content area includes studies of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and its Employment & Training (E&T) program, and evaluations of initiatives by national non-profit organizations to increase access to SNAP.

Highlighted Projects

  • Alternatives to Improve Elderly Access to SNAP: Evaluation. SPR, along with our subcontractor Mathematica Policy Research, conducted this evaluation on behalf of the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to enable FNS to better understand how to maximize elder (60+) access to SNAP.
    Full Report Executive Summary Appendix A – State Profiles
  • SNAP E&T Best Practices: Evaluation. A key component of SNAP is the E&T program, which helps SNAP recipients find employment to reduce their need for SNAP benefits. For this evaluation, conducted for Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), SPR conducted an extensive review of the relevant research literature on participant outcomes from the SNAP E&T program and other workforce development programs. For more information, please see the evaluation’s Final Report.
  • Senior SNAP Enrollment Initiative: Evaluation. The National Conference on Aging’s (NCOA) Senior SNAP Enrollment Initiative aimed to increase awareness of SNAP benefits and support the SNAP application and approval process for low-income seniors. To surface best practices for increasing the enrollment of seniors, SPR conducted an evaluation that resulted in a Promising Practices Brief.

Other Key Projects

  • Analysis of Fiscal Year 2013 SNAP E&T State Plans and Program Data: Evaluation
  • Benefits Access Change Initiative: Evaluation
  • Benefits Enrollment Center Promising Practices: Evaluation

SPR’s portfolio of aging and elder services work includes projects that focus on how older Americans navigate the job market and how those eligible for public benefits can connect to those services.

Highlighted Older Worker Projects

  • AARP Foundation, Back to Work 50+: Women’s Economic Stability Initiative: Evaluation. AARP Foundation’s Back to Work 50+: Women’s Economic Stability Initiative, which received a Social Innovation Fund grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, offers individual coaching and training to women between the ages of 50 and 64. SPR is currently conducting a multi-year implementation and quasi-experimental net-impact evaluation of the program.
  • Aging Worker Initiative Demonstration Projects: Evaluation. In the Aging Worker Initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor funded ten grantees to develop effective models for serving older workers through the public workforce system. SPR’s multi-year implementation and outcome evaluation of this program resulted in both an Interim Report and Final Report.
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program: Evaluation. The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, is the only employment and training program targeted specifically to older workers. SPR conducted a national process and outcomes study of this program for the U.S. Department of Labor that resulted in a Final Report.

Highlighted Elder Economic Security and Benefits Access Projects

  • National Council on Aging, Economic Security Initiative’s Use of Online Tools Evaluation. In this project, local agencies serving older Americans provided ongoing economic casework services and coordinated available community services to address the financial crises faced by project participants. SPR conducted this process study on behalf of NCOA to assess the effectiveness of two technology tools piloted by local community organizations.
  • Benefits Access Change Initiative: Evaluation. These grants were aimed at promoting both system-level changes (e.g. changes in SNAP eligibility rules) and improved outreach efforts to increase enrollment by seniors in public benefits programs, including SNAP. SPR conducted a process and impact evaluation for NCOA of its grants to states through the Benefits Access Change Initiative, funded by Atlantic Philanthropies.

Other Key Projects

  • Senior SNAP Enrollment Initiative: Evaluation
  • Benefits Enrollment Center Promising Practices: Evaluation
  • AARP Foundation, Senior Community Service Employment Program: Evaluation

SPR has an extensive portfolio of projects aimed at examining and supporting programs designed to reduce individuals’ involvement in the criminal justice system.

Highlighted Prisoner Reentry Programs Projects

Highlighted Juvenile Justice and Court-involved Youth Projects

  • Grants Serving Youth Offenders: Evaluation. The U.S. Department of Labor is funding a number of programs, such as Face Forward, to serve youth who have been involved in the juvenile justice system. SPR and its partner, Mathematica Policy Research, are currently conducting a process evaluation of these grants.
  • Justice Assistance Grant, City of San Francisco, Department of Children, Youth, and their Families: Evaluation. San Francisco’s Young Adult Court (YAC) is a collaborative court model designed to reduce recidivism and promote positive life outcomes among San Francisco’s transitional aged youth. SPR is currently conducting a mixed-method evaluation of YAC. Interim findings from the evaluation can be found in the Interim Report.
  • School District-Based Strategies for Reducing Youth Involvement in Gangs and Violent Crime: Evaluation. Five urban school districts received Federal grants to carry out school-based interventions and district-wide strategies to reduce violence and crime among gang-involved youth. SPR conducted a three-year mixed method evaluation of these grants, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. See the Final Report for evaluation findings.

Highlighted Adults and Youth at Risk of Justice Involvement Projects

  • Evaluation of San José’s Bringing Everyone’s Strengths Together (BEST) Program. SPR provides program evaluation services to the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department which supports non-profit operated youth violence and gang-prevention and intervention programs in San José, CA, under the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force. The evaluation collects qualitative, program and administrative data to analyze program and individual-level crime and education outcomes for participants, following SPR’s prior study of impacts of BEST on crime for the city as a whole.
  • Second Chance Act, Adult Demonstration Impact Evaluation. To help reduce rates of recidivism, the U.S. Department of Justice funded state and local government agencies to create evidence-based services to the currently and formerly incarcerated. Funded by the National Institute of Justice at the U.S. Department of Justice, SPR—together with its partners, MDRC and NORC at the University of Chicago—are conducting an experimental impact study of seven Second Chance Act grantees. See the Interim Report for findings on the program’s implementation.

Beyond the explicitly-focused health equity advocacy work featured on the “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” section of our website, SPR has experience with a number of county and place-based health access evaluations of programmatic strategies to promote the health and well-being of communities.

Highlighted Projects

  • Solano County Department of Health and Social Services Master Settlement Agreement Health Access Strategic Plan: Evaluation. The Solano County Board of Supervisors approved a Health Strategic Plan to use Master Settlement Agreement funds achieve two goals: improve access to health care and reduce the rates of use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. SPR conducted a countywide evaluation to determine how effective the funded strategies were in achieving those goals. Based on this evaluation, SPR produced an evaluation report for 2006-2007, 2007-2008, and 2008-2009.
  • San Pablo Area Revitalization Collaborative (SPARC): Evaluation. Formed in 2014, the San Pablo Area Revitalization Collaborative (SPARC) is working to improve the health and wellness of residents living near and along the San Pablo Avenue Corridor and two surrounding neighborhoods in West Oakland. SPR’s evaluation of SPARC included assessing the capacity building of key partners, conducting a community survey, and creating a dashboard.
  • Healthy Richmond: Evaluation. Healthy Richmond (HR), one of 14 Building Healthy Communities sites supported by The California Endowment, is working over a 10-year period to improve health systems and the physical, social, economic, and service structures that support the wellness of Richmond residents. Serving as the Learning and Evaluation Specialist for this initiative, SPR supports community-wide learning and documents HR’s progress toward meeting its goals.

SPR has expertise in assessing local, state, and national initiatives designed to increase access to quality childcare services by low and moderate-income households.

Highlighted Projects

  • Quality Child Care Initiative (QCCI) Consortium of Funders: Evaluation. Over 22 foundations in the ten-county San Francisco Bay Area, led by the San Francisco Foundation, created a pooled fund to make grants to improve access to quality child care by low-income working families. SPR conducted an evaluation of QCCI’s efforts that included a retrospective study of the first round of funders and grantees that resulted in a phase I report; and an overall assessment of QCCI activities and accomplishments that led to a final report.
  • Centralized Eligibility List (CEL) Pilot Project: Evaluation. The California Department of Education piloted a centralized eligibility list (CEL) for subsidized child care in 10 counties. SPR conducted a process and outcomes study of the implementation of these pilots using administrative data, interview data, and surveys. Major deliverables from this evaluation included an interim report and a final report.
  • Child Care Apprenticeship Initiative: Evaluation. The goal of this federally-funded project was to develop apprenticeships in the child care field with the aim of increasing wages and retention of child care workers and improving the quality of care. SPR conducted an evaluation of this initiative and provided technical assistance to five states. Deliverables from the project included a statistical portrait of participants, a report on the sustainability of projects, and a final report on implementation of pilot projects in western states.

For more information, or to discuss potential projects, please contact:

Kate Dunham

Kate Dunham

Principal, Director of the Workforce and Human Services Division, and Director of Research and Project Operations