Call for Proposals

The Call for Proposals is now closed.

The conference will focus on programs, policies, and services that support low-income and vulnerable families on the path to economic self-sufficiency. The 2018 conference will feature presentations on the following topics:

  • TANF Programs, Policies, and Populations
    • This track will focus on 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 will focus 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 will explore 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 will include studies on promising approaches such as home visiting and strategies that coordinate adult and youth services. This track will also feature work related to youth employment and the transition to adulthood.
  • Strengthening Families, Fatherhood, Marriages, and Relationships
    • This track will feature 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
    • Understanding the effectiveness of programs is crucial so that resources can be spent on programs and services that have the biggest impact on those who need them most. This track will offer 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 will present 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 and for entire conference sessions. OPRE will consider the following criteria for proposals:

  • Relevance to family self-sufficiency policy or program design and administration as outlined in the above track descriptions
  • Methodological rigor, including the use of experimental designs and other approaches relevant and accessible to non-research audiences
  • Innovative approaches or new contributions to the field
  • 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 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 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.

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 2018 conference. Emerging scholars include those who are currently in graduate school or are only a few years past completing a degree. 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 online 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

All proposals must be in English. Proposals should be no more than one page in length (approximately 500 words), exclusive of biographical sketches, and should summarize the content of the presentation. If you are proposing an entire 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 (including the response rate for new survey data)
    • analysis methods
    • findings, including non-significant findings as appropriate
  • Relevance to conference topics (as listed above)
  • Completion date or estimated completion date of the study
  • 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 date funded and stated purpose of the grant or contract as described in the Federal Register or other announcement 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: