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Policy Portfolio

The experiences of people in poverty show, and research increasingly confirms, that mental health matters. In order to effectively break the cycle of poverty and advance social and economic mobility for families, government policies must incorporate effective family mental health solutions.

Through rigorous research and analysis and drawing upon both clinical and policy expertise, Elevate helps research, develop, support, and advocate for innovative family mental health policies that governments across the U.S. can implement to improve mental health.

Elevate makes an impact by:

  • Evaluating existing public policies on mental health as well as social and economic mobility — and estimating the impact of policies under consideration,
  • Recommending high-return, evidence-based interventions, including the MOMS Partnership®, for public funding
  • Identifying federal funding streams that can be utilized to fund innovative mental health strategies
  • Developing policy briefs with best practices for federal and state family mental health policies
  • Evaluating the impact of a “two-gen” policy change to improve the lives of families receiving TANF in Washington, D.C.
  • Evaluating an innovative project of the CT Office of Early Childhood (OEC), called the Outcomes Rate Card, to incentivize positive outcomes for early childhood, and
  • Conducting a first-of-its kind assessment of National Beneficiary Survey (NBS) data to generate knowledge about the relationship between mental health and employment among disabled beneficiaries of public insurance programs like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Current Initiatives

Triple Bottom Line Justice

Triple Bottom Line Justice (TBLJ), a policy approach that involves simultaneously tackling health, economic, and environmental challenges facing overburdened and under-resourced populations to address the root causes of health disparities and improve outcomes, will be a key focus of the Elevate 2020 policy agency. TBL Justice builds on the MOMS Partnership® model to advance behavioral wellness while supporting economic stability and environmental sustainability through an integrated policy and place-based practices methodology.

TBL Justice is premised on the experience that meaningful engagement of underserved, overburdened, and underrepresented individuals in environmental, economic and health decisions at the local, state and national government levels improves the health of these individuals and communities, and increases the effectiveness of government policies. Under the leadership of our new Policy Director, Ms. Suzi Ruhl, JD, MPH, Elevate looks forward to applying the MOMS Partnership® model to increase the capacity of overburdened and under-resourced individuals to meaningfully engage in government decisions that affect their lives.

Perinatal and Maternal Mental Health Initiative with the Perigee Fund

Elevate is excited to announce the receipt of a policy-focused grant award. The Perigee Fund is a national philanthropic organization that is focused on improving perinatal and early childhood mental health prioritizing families affected by poverty, racism, and trauma. With support from the Perigee Fund, Elevate will convene two forums at Yale, bringing together national experts and stakeholders in the fields of maternal mental health policy and practice. These convenings will take place in May 2022 and May 2023. Publications emerging from these convenings are expected to drive decision-making amongst both practitioners and policymakers. Additionally, the Perigee will support Elevate’s engagement with Medicaid providers to scale and replicate the MOMS Partnership model.

Reports & Briefs


Embracing 2-Gen: Findings from the District of Columbia’s TANF Survey

Elevate partnered with the DC Department of Human Services (DHS) to evaluate the impact of a policy change designed to improve the wellbeing of families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). In April 2018, a new Two-Generation (2-Gen) Policy took effect, ushering in a set of reforms intended to better serve both parents and children. This survey of 565 DC customers receiving TANF provides insights that can help DHS and MOMS best meet the needs of families.

You can read the full report, including the specifics of the policy here.

Assets, Goals & Challenges of Families Receiving Reach Up in Vermont

Elevate partnered with the VT Department for Children and Families, Economic Services Division (ESD) to investigate factors that distinguish families who receive Reach Up (Vermont’s TANF system) for 9 years or longer from those who receive it for less time. Elevate received survey data from ESD on 170 long-term families as well as data on 510 families who have received Reach Up for less than 9 years. The report builds on existing work detailing prior life experiences of long-term families and provides more insight into what, if anything, distinguishes their life experiences from those of others.

Click here to read the full report.

Report on the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood Outcomes Rate Card Pilot: Evaluation of Stakeholder Perspectives

In 2018, the CT Office of Early Childhood (OEC), launched the Outcomes Rate Card Pilot to provide bonus payments to federally-funded providers of home visiting services whose families show improved outcomes. Elevate evaluated perspectives on this innovative initiative and conducted interviews with key stakeholders from multiple sectors. This report includes an overview of Outcomes Rate Cards—as a “pay for success” tool, their genesis in Connecticut, an evaluation of stakeholder impressions, and lessons learned.

Click here to read the full report.


Brief on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and COVID-19

Recently, the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) within the Office of Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued new program instruction guidance to state and territories administering TANF programs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Elevate has summarized the new federal TANF COVID-19 guidelines with additional state-by-state summaries for each MOMS scaling site.

Click here to read the brief.