RE: SOCW6070 – Response to 2 Students: Discussion: Assessing Outcomes (wk10)

Due 08/01/2019 by 4 PM EST

Respond to at least two colleagues in at least one of the following ways:

  • Explain whether you agree with your colleague’s definition of success and method for evaluating success, and why.
  • Critique your colleague’s recommendation for improving the program’s effectiveness.

Response to Nicole

Post an evaluation of the success of the CalWORKs program based on the information presented in the case study. Be sure to define what success would be for the program and how you, as an administrator of the program, might evaluate whether success has been achieved. Finally, make one recommendation for improving the program’s effectiveness.

The success of the CalWORKs Programs

CalWORKs is a public assistance program that provides cash benefits and services to eligible families that have a child/children living in their home. The programs serve all 58 counties in the state of California and are operated locally by the county welfare offices (Plummer, Markis, & Brocksen, 2014). Some of the major changes of the program include limiting new recipients of cash assistance to a maximum of 2 years at a time and to receive no more than 5 years of combined cash assistance with other service programs such as SNAP benefits (food stamps) during their lifetime (Plummer et al., 2014). This goal was put in place as a temporary assistance program, with the hopes of recipients finding employment and being put in a more stable environment to care for their children in every aspect. CalWORKs, the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids program have had some success according to the article.

What is Success as it Relates to the Program

In 1996, the program enrolled approximately 22,000 families in various public assistance programs, and approximately 10,000 elected to participate in one of the education and training programs, 9,000 elected to attend intensive job placement classes, and the remaining 3,000 opted not to comply with the program and accepted reduced benefit sanctions (Plummer et al., 2014). The program carefully tracked the progress of the participants, and compiled quarterly reports: from 1996-2007, the county’s public assistance was reduced by approximately 40% (from 22,000 to 13,000). Unfortunately, in 2007 there were some drastic changes during the national economic downturn (2007-2011). The assistance doubled to about 30,000 during this time, local and state unemployment rate increased from 7% to 12%. The majority of people receiving assistance from the state are unemployed. Since the program started in 1996, there are still no more than 16,000 recipients who were able to obtain employment or other support that eliminated their dependency on cash assistance from the state of California (Plummer et al., 2014. As the Administrator, success is reducing the number of families dependency on the state’s assistance and seeing an increase in educational programs, stable housing, and steady employment for the recipients.

Recommendation to Improve Program

Some recipients may see the new program rules as a threat; if they are eligible for benefits it would only be for 2-5 years and then their benefits would be terminated. In some cases, 2-5 years may not be enough time for an individual to “get on their feet” and get off of welfare assistance. Unfortunately, some circumstances may prevent this from occurring. However, encouraging the recipients to participate in either job training or education/technical programs to prepare them for employment is an excellent idea. Also, providing assistance with childcare for individuals with small children or special needs children would be a great idea as well. From my experience of volunteering with single mothers in various programs in the state of Georgia, the lack of family support and childcare is one of the reasons they are not able to attend job training or school. The state of Georgia has the same programs available to recipients of state benefits. Unfortunately, this “push” is needed in order to get individuals moving in the right direction and doing what is required of them as a parent.

References

Plummer, S.-B., Markis, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014c). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing [Vital Source e-reader].

“Social Work Research: Program Evaluation” (pp. 66-68)

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Response to Kahle,

Evaluation of the Success of the CalWORKs Program

The CalWORKs program aimed to provide educational and vocational training to help reduce the amount of individualizes receiving public assistance. Upon roll out the program invited 22,000 families and all but 3,000 accepted to comply. After 11 years of CALWORKS public assistance reliance reduced by about 40%. However, budgeting barriers and financial downturns reduced the number of resources available and contributed to a gain in public assistance. Education and training amounted to higher success but costed more money, the immediate job search program, although less expensive was only 50% successful. Overall the program helped provide effective long-term relief and empowerment for a significant amount of families that are no longer in need of receiving services.

What success would be for the program and how I, as an Administrator of the Program, Might Evaluate Whether Success has been Achieved

I believe that the success of the program would be associated with a reduced amount of reliance on public assistance and financial stability. Research and surveys of welfare recipients, administration and staff, and other stakeholders could help provide insight into the Program’s Success. According to Lawrence et al. (2013), social and economic climates often impact a program and assessing the impacts could help provide clarity of the CALWORK’s Success and endurance. Also recommending evaluating the barriers for the organizations, consumers, and resources, providing insight of strength and needed improvements.

Recommendation for Improving the Program’s Effectiveness

Benton and Austin (2010) suggested the importance of considering restructuring programs to promote efficiency and success. Adaptability and changing programs that aren’t working or have limited resources help focus on strategies that are more likely to lead to be effective. CalWORKs job search program only has a 50% success rate; eliminating and rerouting funds could benefit the overall plan and success of the consumers.

References

Benton, A. D., & Austin, M. J. (2010). Managing Nonprofit Mergers: The Challenges Facing Human Service Organizations. ADMINISTRATION IN SOCIAL WORK, 34(5), 458–479. doi:10.1080/03643107.2010.518537.

Lawrence, C., Strolin-Goltzman, J., Caringi, J., Claiborne, N., McCarthy, M., Butts, E., & O’Connell, K. (2013). Designing evaluations in child welfare organizations: An approach for administrators. Administration in Social Work, 37(1), 3–13. doi:10.1080/03643107.2011.607887.

Plummer, S.-B., Markis, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014c). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing [Vital Source e-reader].

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