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Family Employment Program - Two Parent: An Analysis of Utah's Two Parent Program

Welfare policy is in a period of tremendous transition. This study of Utah’s two parent program represents a commitment by Utah’s Department of Workforce Services (DWS) to better understand the participants in this program as changes are initiated at the local and national level. By understanding the composition of this population and their unique needs and attitudes, future programs can be tailored to meet these needs.

Two-parent families are not generally thought of as “typical” welfare recipients. Indeed they are not. A vast majority of those receiving public assistance are single parents (usually women) and their children. Yet two-parent families with dependent children also face health and mental health issues, economic problems and periods of simply bad luck. When such barriers occur, families that have experienced long-term stability and even a degree of prosperity can find themselves in difficult straits, sometimes needing to choose between medical care and feeding the family. Understanding these families and their situations better informs policymakers as to what needs to happen to move the family back toward self-sufficiency.

This study provides a “snapshot” of Utah’s Family Employment Program - Two Parent (FEP-TP) participants from September 2002 to February 2003. All families who participated in this program at anytime during these months qualified for the study. Of the possible 125 families, 91 were ultimately contacted and interviewed. Researchers conducting the study had also gathered years of data with single parent families. From the beginning it was clear FEP-TP families were generally very different. A majority of the couples have been in long term, relatively stable relationships. This stability provides an important element of family life that is not typically found in the single parent family.

Read the final study report

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Last Updated: 12/6/19