Knowledge

Key Resources and Featured Publications

The Knowledge Center contains reports and presentations authored by the National Assembly and our partners and other sector thought leaders. This information is provided for those engaged in research, practice, and policy on human services and nonprofit leadership. All material prepared by others is provided by permission from the author.


Featured Publications

Beyond Bars: Keeping Young People Safe At Home and Out of Youth Prisons

The report should serve as a handbook for juvenile justice administrators, legislators, judges, the non-profit community and youth advocates for how to end the practice of youth incarceration, promote public safety and restore a sense of belonging for our young people in their homes and neighborhoods. Our collective experiences tell us that communities that are often characterized by intense needs also have extraordinary assets that can be easily overlooked. We advocate for leveraging those assets as one means to meet those intense needs, and providing greater resources for neighborhood-based services and programs. Produced by NHSA's National Collaboration for Youth.

Beyond Bars: Keeping Young People Safe At Home and Out of Youth Prisons »

The Two-Generation Approach Framework: A Closer Look at State-Level Implementation

This report, produced by the National Human Services Assembly, takes a closer look at state-level implementation of Two-Generation (Two-Gen) policy and programming across three states--Colorado, Connecticut, and Utah. The report provides: (1) background and context for the Two-Gen approach taken by each state; (2) an overview of the Two-Gen programs at the state level; and (3) a "policy map" providing a graphic representation of the Two-Gen framework in each state. This work brings to bear salient inflection points from the interviews across three states, which represents the challenges that the three states have faced and, in many cases, the solutions chosen to address them. The report can serve as a resource for stakeholders in other states looking to strategically and intentionally implement Two-Gen solutions in their communities.

Two-Gen Approach Framework - Sept 2016 »

Financial Stability First Discussion Brief

Improving Employee Well-Being Through the Financial Stability First Model - The National Human Services Assembly (NHSA) is pleased to announce the release of a discussion brief on Financial Stability First (FS1), an NHSA initiative generously funded by MetLife Foundation. NHSA conducted a pilot project in three human service agencies to determine whether financial navigators in the workplace could be deployed to assist low-wage employees. The goal was to create a foundation of financial stability through outreach, education and access to a range of financial products and services. Outcomes showed the value of intentional organizational efforts to work with low-wage employees to increase their financial stability has positive effects and increased employee confidence, skills, and well-being.

Financial Stability First Discussion Brief »

NCCP 50-State Policy Tracker

State policy doesn’t always work in favor of the children and families most in need. Even though safety net programs are intended to help low-income working families cover basic needs, a family could still face policies that discourage saving for emergencies or bar them from critical nutrition assistance programs. In fact, earning and saving more money can actually make some families worse off financially when states set very restrictive eligibility requirements for important work supports. It all depends on which state they call home.

To help policymakers and advocates spot innovative approaches to support the neediest families, the National Center for Children in Poverty recently launched its 50-State Policy Tracker, an online analysis tool that compares state economic assistance programs. The Policy Tracker can help identify best practices to alleviate poverty by comparing safety net policies, revealing variation among states, and modeling how policy choices can help low-income working parents succeed in making ends meet.

The NCCP 50-State Policy Tracker makes it easy for policymakers, journalists, social researchers, and advocates to quickly and accurately compare state policies and programs vital to the well-being of low-income families. Using state data for important social policies and programs including the Earned Income Tax Credit; family and medical leave; TANF; SNAP; and Medicaid, the tracker allows users to compare impacts in a single state, states in the Northeast, Midwest, South, and West, or all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Find out more information at www.nccp.org/tools/policy.

NCCP 50-State Policy Tracker »

Reframing Human Services Tools

The National Human Services Assembly is excited to share a new set of online resources and tools that will help to create a new narrative for human services.

Collaborating with our members, partners and funders, the Assembly’s National Reframing Initiative seeks to build public understanding of human services to encourage more vibrant civic participation and deepen support for effective programs. 

As part of this multi-year initiative, generously funded by the Kresge Foundation and Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Assembly engaged the FrameWorks Institute to develop an evidence-based strategy for reframing the work of the sector.  We now have a robust set of tools available to equip our members and partners to integrate this new narrative into their advocacy, communications, and resource development strategies.

Read the MessageMemo below or browse the entire toolkit >>

Reframing Human Services MessageMemo »

Empowering Prosperity: Integrating Asset Building within Human Services

This guidebook serves as a primer on asset building within human service organizations.  It outlines key asset development approaches and explores strategies and efforts already underway in human service agencies throughout the United States. The guide also provides a snapshot of ideas and models to spur discussion about explicitly integrating asset building into human service missions and practices.  These snapshots will help you to:

  • Become familiar with key terms, programs, services, and organizations in the asset building field.
  • Learn how asset building has been integrated into human service agencies, systems, and structures across several sectors.
  • Identify the asset-building needs of diverse populations using human services, including people of various ages, abilities, cultures, races, ethnicities, and genders who face an array of challenges across the life course.
  • Discover how strategic partnerships and collaborations can facilitate the integration of asset building into human service agencies.
  • Identify potential funding sources that support agencies' efforts to incorporate asset-building services.

Download the entire guidebook below, or browse sections on the IASP website.

Empowering Prosperity Guidebook »

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Young Families (Issue Brief)

Over 1.4 million youth ages 15–24 are out-of-school and out-of-work (OSOW) and raising dependent children. When youth are out of the education system, lack early work experience, and cannot find employment, the likelihood is poor that they will have the means to support themselves and the needs of their children. Too often, this traps their family in the cycle of poverty for generations. Unless communities offer alternative pathways to connect with ladders of opportunity, many of these young families will be unable to achieve financial independence. To meet the needs of young families, many human service organizations have begun utilizing two-generation approaches for working with OSOW youth and their families. These programs use strategies that address the developmental needs of young parents and their children.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Young Families (Issue Brief) »

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Young Families (Research Report)

The National Human Services Assembly (NHSA), an association of America’s leading nonprofit human service providers, conducted an exploratory study of two-generation programs already in place within its member organizations. The Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) supported this effort, which sought to document quality two-generation programs and identify program elements that strengthen young families. The study eventually engaged 32 NHSA members and affiliates in sharing their knowledge about two-generation approaches and providing connections to programs that re-engage young parents in education and/or work, nurture parent-child bonds, improve children’s wellbeing, and connect families with economic, social, and other supports.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Young Families (Research Report) »

Keeping Kids on Track in the Middle School Years

Ensuring youth in the middle school years are connected to the community can prevent them from later disconnecting from school and work. Youth development staff, volunteers, and mentors can play a pivotal role in building healthy, sustained connections for young people. According to a new National Assembly brief, the key is making sure that youth-serving adults have certain competencies to get and keep kids on track toward high school, college, and careers.

Keeping Kids on Track in the Middle School Years »

Increasing Financial Stability for Frontline Nonprofit Workers

Frontline human services workers are the lifeblood of the caring infrastructure in communities across the United States. They care for millions of Americans across the lifespan and help American families overcome challenges and move toward stability and wellbeing. Nonprofit human services employers are limited by funding cuts and capped reimbursement rates in their efforts to offer this workforce family-sustaining wages. Might "work support services" that connect low-paid employees to government benefits and income supports enable nonprofit human services organizations to help their staff bridge the gap between earnings and their families’ living expenses, contributing to greater financial stability?

Increasing Financial Stability for Frontline Nonprofit Workers »

Employer Toolkit: Financial and Work Stability for Low Wage Workers

This toolkit, deemed Bridging the Gap, is designed to help employers assist their low-wage workers increase their financial stability through access to work supports. Aside from helping employees make ends meet, enrollment in work supports also has a positive effect on employee attendance, retention and performance. The supports that this toolkit refers to are resources employers can help employees access, from government programs that help working families make ends meet, such as medical assistance and child care, to caring workplace practices like flexible schedules and paid leave. The findings, recommendations and conclusions from this work are applicable to increasing low-wage workers' financial stability in any industry or sector.

Employer Toolkit: Financial and Work Stability for Low Wage Workers »

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: Two-Generation Solutions (Policy Recommendations)

The recent economic downturn has tremendously impacted communities and families in the United States, especially young families. There is a growing chorus of voices calling for new models and solutions that meet the needs of both young parents and their children collectively. Two-generation programming provides an important poverty reduction roadmap for young families, making service providers, policy makers, and government officials critical stakeholders in moving this strategy forward. We are pleased to release our policy report, Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Young Families: Two-Generation Policy Recommendations, thanks to generous support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and ASCEND at the Aspen Institute.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: Two-Generation Solutions (Policy Recommendations) »

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: Two-Generation Solutions (Infographic)

The recent economic downturn has tremendously impacted communities and families in the United States, especially young families. There is a growing chorus of voices calling for new models and solutions that meet the needs of both young parents and their children collectively. Two-generation programming provides an important poverty reduction roadmap for young families, making service providers, policy makers, and government officials critical stakeholders in moving this strategy forward. We are pleased to release our policy report, Breaking the Cycle of Poverty in Young Families: Two-Generation Policy Recommendations, thanks to generous support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and ASCEND at the Aspen Institute.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: Two-Generation Solutions (Infographic) »

Retaining and Developing High Potential Talent

Despite the economic downturn, in 2012 organizations across the United States still find themselves in a war for top talent – and successful organizations do not stop with just attracting and hiring efforts, but utilize their resources to retain employees by providing a supportive environment. Given the increasing diversity of our nation, attracting, retaining employees from diverse backgrounds is a competitive advantage. For national nonprofit human services employers, recent (2011) research, distilled from the panoply of Talent Management practices in which to invest, suggests three that would offer the most value at the lowest cost: Onboarding; Employee Mentoring; and Succession Planning. NHSA’s Retaining and Developing High Potential Talent toolkit is built on those recommendations, and offers readers best practices information and mini-cases from within our membership on these 3 areas of talent management and development work.

Retaining and Developing High Potential Talent »