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Social Policy Resources

Welcome to the Social Policy Research Guide! Within this guide, you will find information and links to Social Policy related resources that you may find useful for your classwork and research.

Federal: Government Agencies

Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
This HHS agency is responsible for federal programs that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. It oversees numerous programs and administers TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the state-federal welfare program. The ACF has four major bureaus:

  • Children's Bureau
    The oldest federal agency responsible for children, it assists the States in the delivery of child welfare services. Important links include: Laws & Policies and Research, Data, and Technology. The Child Welfare Information Gateway provides access to numerous publications that deal with child abuse, child welfare, and adoption.
  • Child Care Bureau
    This bureau administers federal funds to states, territories, and tribes to assist low-income families in accessing quality child care for children.
  • Family and Youth Services Bureau
    The FYSB supports local communities in providing services and opportunities to young people, particularly runaway and homeless youth.
  • Office of Head Start (formerly Head Start Bureau)
    Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive child development programs that serve children from birth to age 5, pregnant women, and their families with the goal of increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families.

Administration on Ageing (AoA)
Part of HHS, the AoA develops policies, plans, and programs that promote the well-being of older individuals. It also supports a nationwide ageing network that provides services for older individuals and their families.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
This HHS agency conducts scientific research that provides evidence-based information on health care outcomes, access, quality and cost, and use.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
Formerly the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), the CMS administers the Medicare program and works in partnership with state governments to administer Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and health insurance portability standards.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
The mission of HRSA is to improve health outcomes and address health disparities in people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce, and innovative, high-value programs. Key programs include HIV/AIDS sevices, maternal and child health, and rural health policy.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The agency within HHS that focuses on improving the quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitative services in order to reduce illness, death, disability, and the cost to society resulting from substance abuse and mental illness.

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)
The ASPE is the principal advisor to the Secretary of HHS on policy development in health, disability, human services, data, and science; and provides advice and analysis on economic policy. The ASPE is organized into five principal offices:

  • Office of Disability, Aging, and Long-Term Care Policy (DALTCP)
    Provides leadership on HHS policies that support the independence, health and productivity of elderly individuals and people with disabilities. The DALTCP works on long-term care, post-acute care, personal assistance services, family care giving, integrated care, rehabilitative services, employment of people with disabilities, mental health parity, and the direct care workforce.
  • Office of Health Policy (HP)
    Deals with health-related issues, including health care financing. The HP conducts policy, economic and budget analysis, assists in the development and review of regulations, assists in the development and formulation of budgets and legislation, assists in survey design efforts, and conducts and coordinates research, evaluation, and information dissemination on issues related to health policy.
  • Office of Human Services Policy (HSP)
    Focuses on welfare, service delivery issues, and policies affecting children, youth, and families. The HSP conducts policy research, analysis, evaluation, and coordination on issues including poverty and measurement, vulnerable populations, early childhood education and child welfare, family strengthening, economic support for families, and youth development.
  • Office of Science and Data Policy
    Provides advice and analytical support to the ASPE on public health science policy and data policy issues and initiatives, coordinates science and data policy issues of interagency scope within HHS, and manages interagency initiatives in science policy and data policy.

U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)
This federal department oversees and supports community development, access to affordable housing programs, homelessness programs, etc. Useful links include those to homelessness, information by state, and the library.

Social Security Online
This is the official website of the U.S. Social Security Administration. From a policy perspective, the links to the history of the social security program and in particular, its legislative history, are informative.

Texas: Government Agencies

Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)
Established in February 2004 as the first new agency in a major reorganization of the state's health and human services system, this department undertakes five major tasks: adult protective services, child protective services, child care licensing, prevention and early intervention, and statewide intake. See also Reports, Plans, Statistics, and Presentations.

Texas Education Agency (TEA)
TEA oversees public primary and secondary education in the state, involving over 1,000 individual school districts and charter schools; however, it does not have jurisdiction over private or parochial schools (whether or not accredited) nor over home schools. See the Reports & Data tab.

Health and Human Services (HHS)
As of September 2017 Texas Health and Human Services now consists of two agencies: the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). From a policy perspective, useful links include Laws & RegulationsRecords and Statistics and in particular, Data & Statistics.

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA)
TDHCA is the state's lead agency responsible for homeownership, affordable rental housing, community and energy assistance programs, and colonia activities serving primarily low income Texans.