Assisting Special Populations to Improve Readiness and Engagement Among TANF Recipients

Project Overview

This project sought to develop evidence-informed or innovative strategies to improve engagement in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) services and readiness for customers’ current and future employment. The goal was to assist the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Family Assistance (OFA) in its efforts to understand the unique circumstances and needs of subgroups of TANF customers.

With the abbreviated name of ASPIRE, the study focused on the engagement  barriers and challenges and best practices associated with four diverse population groups: (1) two-parent families, (2) child-only cases, (3) noncustodial parents in the TANF program, and (4) disconnected youth funded by TANF programs. Insight conducted a nationwide needs assessment and low-, medium-, and high-intensity technical assistance (TA) to state and local TANF agencies.

Insight’s specific activities follow:

  • Needs assessment and environmental scan of the literature to assess and categorize the needs of special populations within the TANF community
  • Synthesis of promising practices in service delivery
  • Consultations with subject matter experts and TANF agencies to better understand the  service recipients, the barriers agencies face when serving them, and best practices for engaging and serving these populations
  • Site visits to state agencies with promising practices
  • Informative webinars
  • Roundtable discussions
  • Series of products for dissemination on the OFA website and OFA Peer TA website


  • Reports, presentations, infographics, informational one-pagers, podcast