Conclusions and Next Steps
As noted in Section 1, this is the first of two reports on the impact of CalWORKs. It describes outcomes under CalWORKs through the summer of 2000 and begins the process of explaining the observed variation in outcomes—through time, between California and other states, and among California's counties. This concluding section summarizes the findings to date and discusses directions for additional analyses for the second and final impact analysis.
The impact analysis addresses three questions: (1) What has happened to the outcomes of interest? (2) Why do outcomes vary across time, between California and the other states, and among California's counties? and (3) Were the program changes made worth the cost? This report addresses the first and part of the second question (but does not consider intercounty variations). Here, we review our findings.
In the conceptual model of Section 1 (Figure 1.1), we argued that CalWORKs legislation could indirectly affect the outcomes of interest through the county welfare programs themselves and, in particular, through the process of implementing the CalWORKs model. We find (as shown in Section 2) that rates of participation in WTW activities—and, in particular, work—are rising. Absolute levels of participation, however, are low. Less than a third of all adults in single-parent cases are participating even at the federally required number of hours per week (25 hours, 20 for those with a child under six years of age). The corresponding fraction at the required state number of hours per week (32 hours) is less than a quarter. Among those not working, the corresponding fraction is much lower. It appears that as of the period described by the available data, county programs had had only limited success in involving those not yet ready for unsubsidized employment. Developing more-effective programs is an ongoing area of CWD activity.
When we look at how the caseload and outcomes for welfare leavers have changed over the past decade, we see (as shown in Sections 3 and 4) that the