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Nov 29 -- The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing a new data collection activity as part of the Understanding the Value of Centralized Services study. The objective of this descriptive study is to understand the advantages, disadvantages, and costs of centralizing services for individuals and families with low incomes.  The public is invited to comment to OMB by December 30, 2021.
 
The Understanding the Value of Centralized Services (VOCS) project will explore whether and how centralized community resource centers, which allow individuals and families to apply for federal, state, and local social services in a single location, can reduce burden and ensure the cost-effective allocation of federal resources. The project will summarize the findings from existing research on this topic. Building on this knowledge base, VOCS will identify approximately three state and local social services providers or networks of providers that have undertaken efforts to centralize and coordinate services and, using qualitative methods, will document client and staff experiences receiving and providing services at these sites. A final report will synthesize findings from the literature review and descriptive studies.

OPRE has contracted with MEF Associates and its subcontractor Mathematica to complete the project. This descriptive study aims to provide insight into the models that have been used to centralize services; organizations' history of and impetus for centralizing services; the benefits, challenges, and costs of centralizing services from the perspectives of staff and clients; and how organizations have coordinated their centralized services virtually. This project will include site visits to three centralized community resource centers (CCRCs). The proposed information collection activities include interviews with staff, including leadership and administrative staff, frontline staff, finance staff, and IT/data staff, and focus groups with clients. The research team will also conduct observations of program activities.

Respondents will include leadership and administrative staff at the CCRC, staff who manage finances at the CCRC, staff who manage data and/or technology at the CCRC, staff who provide services directly to clients at the CCRC, and clients who have accessed services at the CCRC.  
 
ACF Understanding the Value of Centralized Services (VOCS) - Overview: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/project/understanding-value-centralized-services-vocs-overview
Submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202111-0970-006 Click on IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this site.  
FR notice inviting comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/11/29/2021-25946/submission-for-omb-review-understanding-the-value-of-centralized-services-study-new-collection
  
For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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