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This case study describes New Moms, a nonprofit organization serving the west side of Chicago and its near western suburbs. New Moms provides job training, housing, and family support programs to pregnant and parenting young women and their children. Participants in New Moms’ job training program work toward self-determined goals and practice work readiness skills through hands-on employment experience in New Moms’ social enterprise, a candle company called Bright Endeavors. The housing program offers both transitional and permanent supportive housing. The family support program supports young mothers through individualized home visits and group meetings, and provides doulas for pregnant women. Across all three programs, New Moms partners with community-based organizations to support participants facing mental health issues, intimate partner violence, and other barriers to stability and well-being. This case study highlights New Moms’ job training program and describes the housing and family support programs.
This case study is part of the State TANF Case Studies project, which is designed to expand the knowledge base on innovative approaches to help people with low incomes, including TANF recipients, prepare for and engage in work and increase their overall stability. Mathematica and its subcontractor, MEF Associates, were contracted by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to develop descriptive case studies of nine innovative state and local programs. The programs were chosen through a scan of the field and discussions with stakeholders. TANF practitioners and staff of other programs can learn about innovative practices through the case studies. The studies also can expand policymakers’ and researchers’ understanding of programs that support people’s success in work and highlight innovative practices to explore in future research.
The purpose of this case study is to describe New Moms in detail and highlight its key features: where it operates; whom it serves; what services it offers; how it is organized, staffed, and funded; how it measures program participation and outcomes; and its promising practices, challenges, and lessons learned.
Key Findings and Highlights
- New Moms’ main approach is to help people with low incomes find jobs through its employment-based intervention and connect them with wraparound services.
- New Moms’ primary job-related services include job training and hands-on employment experience through a 16-week job training program in the program’s social enterprise (Bright Endeavors).
- Other available services are transitional and permanent supportive housing, family support, domestic violence support, mental health services, child care, transportation assistance, and connections to food pantries and other resources.
- Promising practices include incorporating executive skills coaching throughout the program; providing hands-on employment experience in a social enterprise; and designing services that respond to the community’s need for housing, job training, and family support.
To select programs for case studies, the study team, in collaboration with ACF, first identified approaches that showed promise in providing employment-related services to individuals and linking them to wraparound supports, such as child care and transportation. The next step was to hold initial discussions with program leaders to learn more about their programs and gauge their interest in being featured in one of the case studies. Once the list of programs was narrowed, the project team, in collaboration with ACF, selected the final set of case study programs to reflect diversity in geography and focus population.
Two members of the research team visited New Moms’ Austin location and Bright Endeavors in January 2020. The team spent two-and-a-half days there. They conducted semi-structured interviews with 12 New Moms staff, including leadership staff and specialists from all three program areas, and two staff of community partner agencies. The team also conducted in-depth interviews with two participants in the job training program, reviewed anonymized case files for two participants, observed production training and career readiness activities at Bright Endeavors, and saw classroom-based components of the job training program. In July 2020, the team had a follow-up telephone call with a program leader to learn how New Moms responded to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Putnam, M., and L. Rodler (2021). “Case study of a program offering job training, housing, and family support for young mothers: New Moms.” OPRE Report #2021-69, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.