New report features Utah as one of the “states leading the way” for lifting up families

Ascend at the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington D.C., released a report today Practical Solutions that Lift Up Children and Families, which featured Utah as one of the states leading the way.

Tracy Gruber, senior advisor of Utah’s intergenerational poverty initiative and director of the Department of Workforce Services’ Office of Child Care, was part of a panel in Washington D.C. to discuss Utah’s progress and solutions that were shared in the report.

The report shared Utah’s work such as supporting incarcerated fathers through a diesel technology certification program, and supporting mothers on public assistance with medical manufacturing training opportunities. Both groups also received life skills and budgeting training. These programs, “Invest in You Too” and “Invest in Dads Too,” were made possible by creating public-private partnerships with the local community college and local employers that had a demand to fill these types of positions.

Utah also improved support for at-risk youth as part of a juvenile justice reform. The end goal was to decrease the number of children being removed from home and closing two juvenile facilities as a result of this work. This was a multi-agency solution that involved corrections, education, human resources and probation to focus on serving at-risk youth and their parents together.

In addition, Utah successfully braided together funding for TANF-eligible families with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding to coordinate supports. Families are able to access health care, child care, and housing, and further their education and careers. The braided funding allows the family to work with one case worker who can help with access to all supports.

In Utah’s demonstration project, two cohorts of families were served in 2017 with varying levels of coordinated supports. The evaluation started with approximately 50 potentially eligible families; half of the families completed the program and 30 families were involved in the evaluations, which were conducted by the Social Research Institute at the University of Utah. The goal of the program is employment at graduation, increased wages at day 90 and 180, and, eventually, the family’s case being closed due to employment. By the end of the second evaluation period, the project achieved the results outlined in the graphic below.

To learn more about Utah’s intergenerational poverty initiative, visit Click here to view the report.