The success of state and federal human services programs depends largely on the ability to adapt to changing regulations and expectations, while effectively improving outcomes for program participants, many of whom are low-income, children, and from disadvantaged populations.
On the national level, programs are stopping or preventing fraud, waste, and misuse of program funds. States are leveraging agency administrative data and technology to continuously increase efficiency, accuracy, and timeliness.
While human services programs strive to improve their services in the face of declining budgets, we have also seen a greater commitment to incorporation of evidence-based practices in program functioning and services.
Will human services agencies be successful in improving the quality of services while lowering costs? We believe so, but technical assistance, enhanced data systems, and evaluative efforts will be needed to ensure that client needs can be met with less resources.
Hands-on and Responsive, with a “Can Do” Approach
IMPAQ’s work in human services ranges from testing and redesigning complex government data management processes, to providing technical assistance to community organizations, to helping schools implement nutrition policy.
We offer expertise in economics, statistics, psychometrics, public health, nutrition, public policy, social work, business administration, information technology, survey research, and industrial and organizational psychology.
Our clients’ needs and challenges are always central to our project planning, be it for technical assistance, business process re-engineering, or policy recommendations. In addition, a proven project management philosophy guides the success of our human services projects:
Listen, then plan: Building on a foundation of cultural competence, clear communication, and evaluation design expertise, we deliver hands-on customer-focused, flexible, and custom tailored project plans.
Structure and refine: We strengthen projects and programs through ongoing, hands-on needs assessments and continuous integration of IMPAQ subject matter experts. We utilize (and develop, when necessary) state-of-the-art tools that allow us to leverage the power of big data.
Assess and apply: Current budget constraints necessitate innovative program ideas, and we work to ensure all activities have relevant, impactful results.
We provide solutions that are integral to planning, developing, managing, and implementing your human services programs. You can view our services here or read below about our service offerings and human services-related projects.
IMPAQ’s industry leading researchers have conducted groundbreaking impact, outcome, and descriptive evaluations of human services programs and policies.
For example, IMPAQ teamed with academic scholars to examine relationships between the provision of cash child support and in-kind support by nonresident fathers, assistance program participation by resident mothers, and food security outcomes for the children of these parents. Study results underscore the importance of nonresident fathers’ involvement outside of the provision of formal child support in positively impacting children, a critical factor that should be considered in policy discussions.
Using descriptive analytical techniques, IMPAQ has helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture understand the purchasing patterns of SNAP participants using large sales and marketing databases.
Our in-house survey center brings cutting-edge software and communication modalities together with rigorous methodology. This approach helps achieve high responses rates and ensure that data collected in the field maintains integrity.
We strive to craft solutions that demonstrate program effectiveness and value, including benefit-cost analysis, assessment of social impacts, and estimations of return-on-investment.
IMPAQ policy analyses help clients fully understand the potential impact of proposed policy changes, refine and revise existing policies, and establish new policies, with the aim of improving outcomes, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Multiple IMPAQ projects have cataloged the policies and practices that govern USDA nutrition assistance programs to help clients determine the feasibility and implications of various program changes.
Our analysts have deep experience in conducting structured policy and program reviews through analyses of economic and administrative data, surveys, literature, and benchmarking studies that often explore cross-cultural or cross-organizational comparisons.
We also value the insights gained from qualitative research. Experts with decades of experience in the field lead individual and group interviews, focus groups, content analysis, and case studies to identify best practices and lessons learned from government organizations and the private sector.
IMPAQ provides expert technical assistance and consulting in human services for federal, state, and local government agencies, multilateral organizations, and the private sector.
For example, we are helping state and SNAP offices in Colorado, Tennessee, and Nebraska improve the way they deliver nutrition assistance. Support includes predictive analytics, communication improvements, application processing, and re-engineering business processes – activities that improve critical performance measures such as timeliness and accuracy. In addition, the IMPAQ team convenes state leadership along with national and regional offices, for group training sessions, discussions of lessons learned, and knowledge-sharing.
IMPAQ technical assistance includes a wide range of support, such as program design and start-up, developing data collection systems, establishing procedures and building capacity for program evaluation, and improving program efficiency.
IMPAQ augments policy and subject matter expertise with technology and database management competence to craft technical solutions that are responsive to today’s information technology needs, while being useful in achieving public policy goals.
Our teams proactively identify, design, and deliver high-quality, secure technology solutions that enable governments and industry to monitor costs, improve quality, and drive value from administrative, clinical, and other data.
IMPAQ is working with the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) on several data-centric technology projects that will improve program performance and help provide children and low-income families with better access to food and a more healthful diet.
IMPAQ is studying the feasibility of and approaches for collecting item-level data on food purchases, to help FNS better understand the food purchasing patterns of SNAP households as it strives to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its food assistance programs.
IMPAQ also developed a searchable online database for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to assist dissemination of curricula it validated on healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood. ACF grantees and practitioners use the website and database to quickly compare curricula side-by-side. Practitioners can select the curriculum that best suits their participants’ needs, program context, and budget.
IMPAQ conducts studies that objectively qualify and quantify the feasibility of proposed large-scale ventures. Relying on our rigorous methodologies, subject matter experts, and world-class survey center, we are able to uncover opportunities and threats, identify resources required, and assess prospects for success.
IMPAQ determined the feasibility of a national data capture system to collect SNAP food purchase data from electronic cash registers (point of sale terminals). While supporting the SNAP National Research Database Feasibility Study, IMPAQ helped determine the technological, cost, and policy requirements necessary to develop a national SNAP caseload database.
The Feasibility of Capturing SNAP Purchases at the Point of Sale project required proof of concept and feature testing, data security and capacity reviews, and issue logs in a laboratory setting. The goal was to determine the most promising approach to capture SNAP purchase data from 40 million recipients through a network of hundreds of thousands of retailers.
Similarly, as part of the Tribal Feasibility Study, IMPAQ is currently identifying the technological resources of Indian Tribal Organizations, and the systems they use to manage social service provision.
Business Process Reengineering
As budgets shrink and demand for public services grows, IMPAQ is helping local, county, state, federal, and international governments face major challenges in meeting statutory and regulatory requirements, and growing case management workloads.
The USDA, for example, has asked IMPAQ to provide Business Process Reengineering services to SNAP in multiple states. Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is a fundamental rethinking and redesigning of an organization’s existing business process at the macro-level. IMPAQ’s four steps – Understand, Analyze, Engage and Enact -- helps our clients build sustainable in-house capacity.
Contact us, or call (443) 259-5500.