Countywide Evaluation of the Long-Term Family Self-Sufficiency Plan: Countywide Evaluation Report

By Elaine Reardon; Robert F. Schoeni et al. | Go to book overview

1.
INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND
The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Act of 1997 (CalWORKs) provided Los Angeles County (hereafter, the County) with considerable new funding for social services. A combination of federal funding through block grants with a State Maintenance of Effort requirement and rapid caseload decline resulted in generous funding for State and County welfare operations. The CalWORKs legislation also provided that all the savings resulting from any decline in aid payments were to be returned to the counties in the form of “Performance Incentive Payments. ” The robust economy and the rapidly dropping caseload led to the accumulation of such PIF monies well in excess of any initial expectation. By early 1999, the County had “earned” about $400 million in PIF monies (later raised to about $460 million).Rather than allocate all the funds to a single department, the Board of Supervisors (hereafter, the Board) used this opportunity to develop a unified plan to stabilize families “by building their capacity to become self-sustaining” (Board Minutes, April 13, 1999). At the Board's direction, the County's New Directions Task Force (NDTF) implemented a process to develop such a plan.Specifically, the NDTF adopted Mark Friedman's Results-Based Decision Making Framework (hereafter, the RBDM Framework) to organize their planning (Friedman, 2001). The RBDM Framework led the County to begin by identifying the outcome area(s) it wanted to improve, the means by which it would measure progress toward the outcomes, and only then consider which projects and services would contribute toward achieving the desired results. The NDTF effort resulted in 46 projects known collectively as the Long Term Family SelfSufficiency (LTFSS) Plan that was approved by the Board in November 1999. The final Plan formally expresses its vision with the following common themes:
“Where possible, services to families should support the family as a unit, rather than focusing on individual family members in isolation.

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Countywide Evaluation of the Long-Term Family Self-Sufficiency Plan: Countywide Evaluation Report
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Preface iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables ix
  • Figures xi
  • Executive Summary xiii
  • Acknowledgments xxv
  • Acronyms xxvii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - What's at Stake 5
  • 3 - Result and Outcomes 11
  • 4 - Baseline Data and the Story Behind the Baselines 15
  • 5 - The Projects and Their Partners 39
  • 6 - Assessment of the Ltfss Plan Framework 55
  • 7 - Assessment of the Evaluation Framework 91
  • 8 - Quality Improvement Steps 105
  • Appendix A - Data Sources 109
  • References 139
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