0 votes
asked ago by (56.3k points)
Feb 16 -- The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) invites comments to OMB by March 20, 2023 regarding Rapid Cycle Evaluation of Operational Improvements in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment & Training (E&T) Programs.

Section 17 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, as amended in March 2022, authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to contract with private organizations and conduct research to improve the administration and effectiveness of SNAP. In addition to providing nutrition assistance benefits to millions of low-income individuals experiencing economic hardship, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides work supports through Employment and Training (E&T) programs that help SNAP participants gain skills and find work. State agencies are required to operate an E&T program and have considerable flexibility to determine the services they offer and populations they serve. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) seeks to ensure the quality of the services and activities offered through SNAP E&T programs by investing resources and providing technical assistance to help States build capacity, create more robust services, and increase engagement in their programs.

The Rapid Cycle Evaluation of Operational Improvements in SNAP E&T Programs (SNAP E&T RCE) evaluation will use rapid cycle evaluation (RCE) to test small-scale interventions in SNAP E&T operations or service delivery to determine their effectiveness in improving program engagement and service take-up. RCE is an approach that involves cycles of identifying, testing, and refining small scale, low-cost operational interventions to determine their effectiveness.

Study objectives

1.    Describe how RCE can be used to improve SNAP E&T operations, service delivery and program outcomes, including if the use of RCE in SNAP E&T differs from its use in other public assistance programs and whether there are special considerations and challenges FNS should review when using RCE in SNAP E&T.

2.     Design and implement RCEs to obtain estimates of the effectiveness of small-scale interventions on SNAP E&T outcomes, including identifying which States and providers are best suited to implement these changes and how the changes are expected to affect SNAP E&T operations and service delivery.

3.     Conduct an implementation evaluation to identify challenges to implementing programmatic changes; learn about the context in which changes were made; and assess how well staff and participants view, understand, and react to the changes.

4.     Assess the scalability of small-scale interventions to SNAP E&T operations and service delivery to other programs, including identifying what modifications would be needed to scale these changes to other SNAP E&T programs.

5.     Determine and document the costs associated with implementing and maintaining small-scale interventions for both the entities involved in the implementation and the recipients of the programmatic changes.

FNS has partnered with eight sites for this study: (1) Colorado Department of Human Services, (2) Connecticut: Community Colleges, (3) District of Columbia Department of Human Services, (4) Kansas Division of Children and Families, (5) Minnesota Department of Human Services, (6) Minnesota: Hennepin County Department of Human Services, (7) Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, and (8) Rhode Island Department of Human Services. The study team is collaborating with sites to identify their main challenges to recruitment, outreach, participant engagement, and receipt of services, and to design interventions to address these challenges.  
Most interventions will be evaluated using randomized control trials in which individuals eligible for the intervention will be randomly assigned to a treatment group that receives the intervention or a control group that does not. The control group will be offered the existing approach to recruitment, outreach, and engagement, depending on the focus of intervention. Following a short pilot period to ensure interventions operate smoothly, sites will implement their interventions for a period of three to six months, depending on the site.  
SNAP E&T Program: https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap-et
FNS submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202209-0584-004 Click IC List for information collection instrument, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-03273

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

Please log in or register to answer this question.