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 Department of Labor, the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, 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.


Mike Fishman presented, “Applying Behavioral Sciences to Human Service Programs: BIAS Lessons and Next Steps,” to the National Governor’s Association’s Policy Institute for Governors Human Services Advisors on June 21st in Kansas City, Missouri.

Jan DeCoursey led a workshop for the Three Rivers Workforce Board (Allegheny County) focused on evidence based and promising practices in workforce development on June 24th in Pittsburgh, PA.

Several MEF Associates staff presented their research at the Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency. Sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families, this conference highlighted new and innovative research on social welfare programs. Sam Elkin was part of a roundtable discussing his work on MEF’s project on Refugee Cash Assistance Services. Bright Sarfo presented work on the DAD MAP evaluation. Mary Farrell participated in a plenary panel on lessons learned from the BIAS project. Asaph Glosser presented results from two BIAS tests that focused on the child support system.

New findings from a report co-authored by Mary Farrell show that a low-cost, low-effort behavioral intervention in Los Angeles County modestly increased the percentage of TANF recipients who reengaged in the county’s welfare-to-work program within 30 days of their scheduled appointment. The test is part of the Behavioral Interventions to Advance Self-Sufficiency project, sponsored by the federal Administration for Children and Families.