Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable individuals, children, and families by building knowledge and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public policy and programs. MEF Associates was founded by Mike Fishman and Mary Farrell in 2009. Our staff members are experts in a wide array of social policy areas and have performed work for federal, state, and private clients.

Current projects include work for the Administration for Children and Families, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Urban Families, and the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. In all of our work, we take pride in our ability to deliver policy relevant solutions based on rigorous research and analysis.


ACF’s Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation recently awarded MEF a contract to conduct the project, Understanding Poverty: Childhood and Family Experiences and TANF Office Culture. MEF, along with its partner MDRC, will conduct qualitative fieldwork in multiple sites to explore the organizational structure and processes of the social safety net and the lives of children and families who are living in poverty.

MEF Associates is working with MDRC on Variations in Implementation of Quality Interventions: Examining the Quality-Child Outcomes Relationship in Child Care and Early Education, a project recently awarded by ACF to rigorously test how different levels and features of classroom quality relate to children’s developmental outcomes.

MEF was recently awarded a contract for the project, Building the Next Generation of Child Support Policy Research and the Benefits and Costs of Child Support Distribution Reform, for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The project will explore key policy questions in the child support field and develop a long-term child support research agenda.

Several MEF staff members participated in the recent Association for Public Policy and Management’s Fall Research Conference. Mary Farrell presented findings from a behavioral intervention in Los Angeles County as part of the BIAS project. Asaph Glosser presented findings from an upcoming report on a test of subsidized employment as part of the STED project. Jan DeCoursey  participated in a roundtable on evaluator and program partnerships to assist youth transitioning from the child welfare and juvenile justice systems to independence. Mike Fishman discussed implementation findings from the H-1B Technical Skills Training Evaluation.

Asaph Glosser co-authored a report, Simplify, Notify, Modify: Using Behavioral Insights to Increase Incarcerated Parents’ Requests for Child Support Modification, for the BIAS project. The study found that behaviorally informed messaging had significant effects on the number of incarcerated parents requesting and receiving modifications to their child support orders.

Asaph Glosser co-authored a report presenting implementation findings and early impacts from the STED test in Los Angeles County. The study tested two subsidized employment approaches for TANF recipients.