Call for Proposals

The deadline for proposal submissions is August 30, 2019.

Learn more and submit

The conference focuses on programs, policies, and services that support low-income and vulnerable families on the path to economic self-sufficiency. The 2020 conference will feature presentations on the following topics:

  • TANF Programs, Policies, and Populations
    • This track focuses on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and TANF-related programs, including innovative practices and strategies for promoting employment and serving populations eligible for and/or served by TANF programs. It will feature studies that further our knowledge of state, local, and tribal TANF programs and how TANF populations are served by and access related programs.
  • Employment and Mobility in the Labor Market
    • This track focuses on stable employment as a pathway out of poverty and will address a variety of topics related to job placement, retention and training strategies that promote upward mobility in the labor market for vulnerable populations, including career pathways initiatives and other innovative approaches.
  • Youth Well-Being and the Transition to Adulthood
    • This track explores ways to support youth well-being, the integral relationship between youth well-being and family economic security, and the promotion of self-sufficiency for young adults. This includes studies on promising approaches such as home visiting and strategies that coordinate adult and youth services. This track also features work related to youth employment and the transition to adulthood.
  • Strengthening Families, Fatherhood, Marriages, and Relationships
    • This track features studies examining strategies to strengthen relationships within families, support father involvement, and promote healthy relationships. This includes studies related to healthy marriage, responsible fatherhood, and teen pregnancy prevention.
  • Evaluating Social Programs, Building Evidence, and Using Data
    • This track features a range of presentations focused on how to build, replicate, and use evidence in social service programs. It will also include sessions relevant to practitioners and non-research audiences, such as program approaches to using data to support continuous quality improvement and alternatives to randomized controlled trials.
  • Approaches to Alleviate Poverty and Expand Opportunity
    • This track presents a broad range of research on poverty, stability, and approaches to assisting low-income families become employed as they receive federal safety net benefits (e.g., Medicaid, food assistance, EITC, housing subsidies, child support, etc.). This track will feature studies on poverty reduction programs aimed at supporting family economic self-sufficiency among low-income and vulnerable populations.

Conference presentations will feature both basic and applied research with an audience that includes researchers, practitioners, state and local administrators, and policymakers.

OPRE invites proposals for individual presentations, full conference sessions, and roundtables. OPRE will consider the following criteria for proposals:

  • Relevance to family self-sufficiency policy or program design and administration as outlined in the track descriptions
  • Methodological rigor, including the use of experimental and quasi-experimental designs, strong qualitative work, innovative uses of data, or well-designed alternative research methods
  • Innovative approaches or new contributions to the field
  • Accessibility to a range of attendees, including non-researchers
  • Clarity of description

OPRE has a strong preference for presentations that highlight recent findings in empirical research, particularly research based on rigorous, experimental designs. OPRE also welcomes studies using other innovative methodologies that do not use traditional randomized controlled trials. Presentations that feature or combine research findings with input from state and local practitioners are especially welcome. OPRE encourages session organizers to broaden their networks and familiarize themselves with other work in their topic area in order to submit full conference proposals when possible.

OPRE may request a draft presentation or paper prior to making a final decision.

Session Structure

Conference sessions will be 75 minutes in length, and may consist of up to three presentations, two presentations and one prepared commentary, or some other format. All sessions should reserve 15 minutes at the end for audience questions and discussion.

Roundtables will be 75 minutes in length, and may consist of up to two facilitators. This discussion-based format is intended to be an opportunity for attendees to participate in interactive conversations on topics relevant to the research highlighted at the conference.

Emerging Scholars

OPRE is particularly interested in fostering the work of new and emerging scholars in the family self-sufficiency field. To support this effort, OPRE will once again feature work from emerging scholars at the 2020 conference. Emerging scholars are early in their research careers, and can include recent PhD and Master’s graduates (2015 and later), as well as individuals who are currently in graduate school. OPRE will host specific opportunities to feature the work of emerging scholars during the conference, which may include paper presentations or a special poster session. Individuals who are early in their careers are strongly encouraged to submit proposals for the conference. You will be asked to denote whether you are an emerging scholar on the proposal submission form.

Speaker Travel

OPRE may be able to support travel and lodging for a limited number of speakers, including emerging scholars. The proposal submission site includes an application for travel support. You MUST complete this application to be considered for travel support. OPRE cannot consider requests for travel support without a completed application. OPRE has limited travel funds and will not be able to cover travel costs for all speakers.

Scheduling Requests

If your proposal is accepted, you will be expected to be available to present during any of the conference sessions. If you have scheduling limitations, please email them to Please limit scheduling requests to reasons of great importance including religious observances, medical needs, or international travel limitations. OPRE does not guarantee that we will be able to honor all scheduling requests.

Proposal Guidelines

Google Chrome is the preferred browser for the proposal submission system. All proposals must be in English. Proposals must adhere to the word limit for each section (approximately 500 words in total, exclusive of biographical sketches) and should summarize the content of the presentation. If you are proposing a full conference session, please include a title for the session along with a general description/rationale and then submit a separate proposal for each presentation to be included in the session (limit three presentations per conference session).

Proposals should include:

  • Presentation title
  • As appropriate, detail on research, such as:
    • research questions addressed
    • research design implemented (e.g. experimental, quasi-experimental, econometric analysis)
    • data sources used
    • analysis methods
    • findings, including non-significant findings as appropriate
  • Relevance to conference tracks
  • When and where else the presentation has been or will be presented
  • A biographical sketch for each of the proposed presenters/discussants (no more than 250 words each)
  • Contact information for each of the proposed presenters/discussants
  • Funding source for the project or study

Please note: If research was conducted under a grant or contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or another part of the Federal government, then proposals must include the name of the project under which the research was funded.

You may include co-authors in your proposal. However, please note that we typically invite only one speaker to present and can only list that speaker in the program book due to space constraints. If selected, you are encouraged to recognize co-authors’ contributions during your presentation.


Please direct questions about conference content to:
Amelia Popham at or
Victoria Kabak at

Please direct questions about conference logistics to: