2011 Conference

Note that the Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS) was formerly called the Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference (WREC).

The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, held the 14th Annual Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference on June 1–3, 2011 in Washington, DC.

Goals of the Conference

For more than a decade, this conference has been a leading forum for welfare and poverty researchers, State and local administrators, practitioners and program operators, and Federal officials and policymakers to discuss the latest findings in evaluations of welfare and related programs and policies, ways to incorporate findings into the design and implementation of programs and policies, and strategies for future evaluations. The 2011 conference once again provided a forum for discussing expert and cutting-edge research on welfare and related programs and policies.

The conference centered on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, with significant attention also provided to related programs, policies, and services that support low-income and vulnerable families on the path to economic self-sufficiency. This year’s conference centered on six broad, overarching topical areas:

  • TANF and the Social Safety Net
  • Employment and Success in the Labor Market
  • Child and Youth Well-Being
  • Fatherhood, Relationships, and Strengthening Families
  • Family Economic Stability and Self-Sufficiency
  • Innovations in Post-Secondary Education and Training

Within these topical areas, we brought particular issues into focus, including: linkages to other service programs (e.g., Earned Income Tax Credit, Supplemental Security Income, SNAP, Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance Program), the use of behavioral approaches, incorporating evidence-based practices, international comparative perspectives, fostering inter-agency collaboration, and responses to the economic downturn.

Conference presentations featured both basic and applied research and addressed both researchers and practitioners. The conference emphasized recent findings in empirical research, particularly research based on rigorous, experimental designs, rather than descriptions of research in progress, although discussions of work in progress were not excluded.