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

2.
WHAT'S AT STAKE

The ultimate goal of the LTFSS Plan is long-term self-sufficiency among low-income families in Los Angeles. In keeping with the transformation of welfare policy (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF] and CalWORKs) to requiring temporary assistance and the TANF/CalWORKs-based funding for the Plan, a narrow view of self-sufficiency might focus only on economic self-sufficiency. By this definition, families would be self-reliant if they did not depend on the government for monetary, health, or other forms of support. This narrow definition is related to two of the five outcomes the LTFSS Plan is designed to achieve: economic well-being; and education and workforce readiness. (See Chapter 3.)

However, economic well-being, as opposed to economic self-sufficiency, implies that families are doing better than simply not relying on government aid. In fact, the County chose three additional outcomes—good health, safety and survival, and social and emotional well-being—which, together with economic well-being and education and workforce readiness, point toward a broader agenda for children and families. As a whole, the five outcomes speak to a more generous vision of family self-sufficiency, one that promotes stable families and a nurturing environment for children.

The benefits of improving these outcomes are twofold. First, there is the savings achieved by reducing bad outcomes. For example, in the good health outcome area, children born with a low birth weight are known to face a higher risk of health and developmental problems throughout their childhood. These problems can be very costly, both for the family and for the community. An increased need for medical care across the life span represents the most significant cost associated with low birth weight. As evidence, one study has calculated that the incremental cost of low birth weight was $5.4 billion per year nationally in 1988 ($5.9 billion in 2000 dollars), with more than 75 percent of these costs attributed to medical care (Lewit et al., 1995). The remainder of the costs includes special education costs, costs of grade repetition, and child care costs. These estimates, however, do not include the costs of relatively rare but extremely costly needs, such as long-term care or institutionalization; thus, they may represent a lower bound. In Chapter 4, we show that the rate of low birth

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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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