Social service access, poverty, bureaucracy


There has been considerable concern about systemic factors that serve as access barriers for vulnerable groups in need of services, but conceptual and empirical work related to such issues have been limited. This article presents a new conceptual approach for considering and assessing access, which we call the “Funnel Framework”. The framework is explicated abstractly, and is illustrated with use of the U.S. child care subsidy system. We argue that the framework can usefully guide the analysis of access to any social benefit system, and can be helpful to administrators and program developers as they design and implement benefit systems.

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