Thursday January 16, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM CST
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University of Chicago Gleacher Center 
450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive
6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611

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Christopher Jones 
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago 

How Do We Promote Stability and Self-Sufficiency for Low-Income Families with Safety Net Programs? 

Low-income families must overcome a number of obstacles in order to achieve economic self-sufficiency--they may have unmet needs for financial stability, nutrition, child care, health care access, education, or employment supports. Since the Great Recession, many low-income families have struggled with sustaining self-sufficiency and achieving economic mobility. At the same time, there has been a resurgence in interest at the federal level in family self-sufficiency research. Yet, in addition to their duties of promoting stability and increasing the safety net for low-income families, describing the nature of "self-sufficiency" presents its own challenge for policymakers. The idea of family self-sufficiency is broad, and success can be defined differently amongst policymakers. For example, is success achieved when families are able to make ends meet, are self-reliant, or no longer require the support of government programs?

In this forum we will discuss the nature of self-sufficiency and the ways different systems view economic instability. We will also discuss the present challenges and opportunities for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners who work to understand the ways that federal policies can affect income instability, and the relationship between employment supports and poverty.  


  • Ajay Chaudry, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Services Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services  
  • Robert Goerge, Senior Research Fellow, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago 
  • Heather Hill, Assistant Professor, The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration   
  • Bryan Samuels, Executive Director, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

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