In October 2016, Third Sector Capital Partners launched a new $3 million partnership with The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI), the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), and the Ballmer Group to build an administrative data framework for evaluating the success of social service programs designed to improve life outcomes of the people they serve. Interested governments in California, Oregon, and Washington state conducting outcomes-oriented projects focused on economic opportunity were invited to apply to receive services of up to $708,000 over the course of a two-and-a-half-year award period. The services provided under this opportunity are designed to assist in the improvement of specific projects for which access to administrative data is required to better estimate program impact and to increase capacity for future outcomes-oriented projects.
County of San Diego (CA) Health and Human Services Agency
In San Diego, the County will use data and technical assistance from this project to support the analysis and improvement of programs and services provided by the County and community-based organizations aimed at addressing homelessness. Two critical County efforts targeting homelessness will be the subject of this effort. The first is Whole Person Wellness, a program funded through California’s Whole Person Care pilot effort under a Medicaid Section 1115 waiver through the state Medi-Cal program. California’s Whole Person Care pilot projects focus on high-utilizers of multiple healthcare systems who continue to have poor health outcomes. Eighteen counties in the state received grants under the pilot (totaling over $3 billion over four years), with most targeting homeless individuals or those at-risk of homelessness. The second program is Project One for All, a County-led project to improve outcomes for an overlapping population of vulnerable County residents through the use of supportive housing and mental health services. The County is interested in enhancing their ability to access data about program participation and outcomes, understand the comparative effectiveness of these programs, and use the flexibility of the local program to further their use of outcomes contracting for providing homelessness services.
Santa Cruz (CA) County Human Services Department
In Santa Cruz, the County will study changes in self-sufficiency for individuals who participate in subsidized employment programs under California’s Welfare-to-Work program, a component of the state’s Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) program (CalWORKS). Through this effort, Santa Cruz County's Human Services Department (HSD) is working to gain access to administrative data in order to (1) support the implementation of outcomes contracts for subsidized employment services, and (2) better understand the short- and long-term effects of subsidized employment programming for CalWORKS recipients. The County is developing data infrastructure that will greatly expand its ability to efficiently and comprehensively provide insights and incentives to service providers based on attainment of various self-sufficiency outcomes, rather than based on caseloads or other traditional metrics. The County also seeks to learn how subsidized employment programs and other Welfare-to-Work activities under CalWORKS affect health, justice, and education outcomes. CalWORKS represents over $5 billion in annual expenditures for the state of California, and Welfare-to-Work remains a program requirement for all TANF programs nationwide.
Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF)
In Washington, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) plans to implement performance standards for several of its early childhood intervention programs (Nurse-Family Partnership, Parents as Teachers, and Early Support for Infants and Toddlers). In order to evaluate the effect of these programs on the health and education outcomes of families served, stakeholders identified data integration as a priority activity. The project aims to leverage newly integrated data to improve contracting, service delivery, and outcomes for children and families. The Washington State Department of Early Learning, an originating agency of DCYF, previously completed a Pay for Success feasibility assessment with Third Sector and has taken tremendous steps to implement resulting recommendations. Work with these early childhood intervention programs is being carried out as a part of a broader effort stemming from state legislation that mandates all contracts for services be performance-based, presenting a unique opportunity for DCYF to be the first state agency to attempt an agency-wide outcomes orientation of this scale.
With new administrative data and outcomes contracting capacity, each agency and its providers will be better equipped with tools to continuously improve their programs. In addition to technical assistance at each site focused on data access, program design, and outcomes contracting, award recipients will join in a thematic learning community spanning the entire West Coast that will provide opportunities to share emerging and best practices from cohort peers. This learning community will include trainings for the ADP agencies from experts at Third Sector and CPI in order to encourage the adoption of an agency-wide move toward an outcomes orientation.