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Meeting Needs, Measuring Outcomes

The Self-Sufficiency Standard as a Tool for Policy-Making, Evaluation, and Client Counseling

By Jennifer Brooks & Diana Pearce

Developed by Wider Opportunities for Women, the self-sufficiency standard measures how much income is needed by a family of a given composition in a given place to meet its needs adequately and without public or private assistance. This standard, which differs from the federal poverty measure, can be used as a benchmark to measure welfare and work-force development policy outcomes, to demonstrate the impact of public policy alternatives, to target higher-wage sectors of the economy, and to change how caseworkers counsel clients about jobs and careers.

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