Social Services

State Turns to Data Tools to Root Out Social Services Fraud

Data modeling, analytics and visualizations are helping the Texas HHS inspector general detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse within state programs.

New York to Battle Senior Loneliness With Robot Companions

The state’s Office of Aging plans to distribute voice-activated companions to prompt connections and wellness checks.

A City Seeks to Undo a Legacy of Trauma

A Baltimore law requires agencies that interact with children and families to receive training in trauma-informed care. It's changing how the city engages with residents, with a greater emphasis on healing rather than hardline policies.

How States Can Improve the Customer Experience for Families Seeking Safety Net Supports

COMMENTARY | By making changes to technology systems and prioritizing the customer’s point of view, states can provide faster and more efficient access to benefits and ensure families receive the supports they need.

Democratic Governors Hold Out Hope for Build Back Better Legislation

The state leaders highlighted early childhood care and housing programs as especially important parts of the massive budget bill. But their GOP counterparts are wary of more federal spending.

Cloud Solutions Speed Rental Assistance Payments for Governments

New Mexico quickly launched a portal for residents to submit applications and track their progress, and a North Carolina county developed an integrated customer contact solution to better deliver payments and services.

How Cities Are Addressing Mental Distress

Successful programs include partnerships between social workers and first responders, incorporate data and recognize larger social factors affecting health and well-being, like racism, experts say.

Why States are Expanding Domestic Violence Laws to Include Emotional Abuse

Connecticut is the latest state to do so, updating its laws to provide new protections for people victimized by damaging psychological tactics and controlling behavior.

The States With the Weakest and Strongest Social Safety Nets

New research allows for easy comparisons of how states stack up based on a variety of social welfare and pro-labor policies, and also offers a look at economic outcomes in each place.

He Left a War-Torn Country as a Refugee and Went on to Become a US Mayor

Helena, Montana Mayor Wilmot Collins came to the United States in 1994 from Liberia. His life journey is a true immigrant success story.

Is This the End of Welfare as We Know It?

The overnight success of the new child tax credit has experts and parents taking a hard look at traditional welfare.

Two States Now Offer Free In-home Nurse Visits for New Parents

The visits, offered in Oregon and now New Jersey, include a health and wellness check for both the baby and the parents, an effort to improve maternal mortality rates and boost family well-being.

One State Begins to Grapple With Pandemic’s Toll on Youth Mental Health

A sweeping bill passed by lawmakers in Connecticut would grant minors unlimited counseling sessions without parental consent, among other changes.

Some States Update Child Neglect Laws to Allow 'Reasonable Independence' For Kids

A handful of states have clarified neglect laws to allow parents to permit their children to walk to school and play outside alone without fear of intervention from police or Child Protective Services.

One State’s Plan to Ease the ‘Invisible’ Diaper Gap for Families

A third of families nationwide experience diaper need, regardless of age, race or income, data shows. Washington state will allocate funding for diaper banks in its latest budget to help close that gap.

How One County Helps Low-Income Homeowners Rehab Their Houses

James City County, Virginia tapped federal housing dollars to fund repairs and rebuilding projects that make homes safe and habitable. "Nothing is more affordable than the house you already have," notes a local official.

Federal Support Has Shored up Nonprofits During the Coronavirus Pandemic, But Many Groups Are Still Struggling

COMMENTARY | Organizations that work in areas ranging from social services to arts and culture have had to scale back their operations and cut staff because of inadequate funding.

What the Rise of Digital Handouts on Venmo and Cash App Says about Our Fraying Social Safety Net

COMMENTARY | There's an uptick of people tuning to Twitter, Instagram and TikTok to ask for financial support during the pandemic.

County Program Offers Grants to Help People Pay for Funerals

Residents in Maricopa County, Arizona, can apply for up to $1,200 toward funeral expenses if they've lost a loved one and also suffered financial losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

City Provides Grants to Help Domestic Violence Survivors Move

The pilot program, a collaboration between the New York City mayor's office and a nonprofit service provider, will help survivors with housing and other emergency needs.