CIBHS has pursued policy-relevant studies of CalWORKs participants with behavioral health or domestic violence issues since 1999.
The initial effort, called “The CalWORKs Project,” was based on a 1999-2002 collaboration between CIBHS, Children and Family Futures, and the Family Violence Prevention Fund. It included a study in six counties designed to understand and disseminate promising practices for providing MH/SA/DV services. It also included an epidemiological study in Stanislaus County and Kern County. A number of reports and resources for policy-makers and program leaders are available on this site as are three peer-reviewed articles (link to older CalWORKs publications).
Since 2003, CIBHS has had a contract with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to provide evaluations of CalWORKs “supportive services programs.” This is the term preferred by the Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services term for mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence services paid for by welfare funding allocated by the California Legislature but delivered through the county and contract agencies.
CIBHS CalWORKs studies in Los Angeles have concentrated on three areas:
Homeless families on CalWORKs studies. In 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 studies were conducted on programs in each Los Angeles County supervisorial district serving homeless families. A 2010 study looked at the integration of mental health and substance abuse services in the same six programs.
Outcome studies. Five general outcome studies have been conducted. The evaluations in 2003 and 2005 encompassed mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence programs. In 2006 mental health and substance abuse were evaluated but not domestic violence. In 2007 and 2015 the evaluation applied only to CalWORKs mental health programs. In 2011 a peer-reviewed article on mental health outcomes was published. The initial report summarizing outcomes and methodological issues was published in July of 2015.
A research evaluation of the implementation and outcomes of supported employment programs integrated into 54 CalWORKs mental health programs starting in 2012. The effectiveness of the Individual Placement and Support model of employment services is assessed. Phase I of this evaluation was published in June 2014. Phase II is scheduled for June of 2017.
This is the second phase of a study of an evidence-based employment program for Los Angeles County CalWORKs mental health program participants. Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services records of employer-verified earnings showed that 33% of study participants worked during treatment. Forty-seven percent of participants worked in the year following IPS enrollment, 50% worked within 14 months, and 53% worked within 16 months. These figures are supported by interviews with participants and by a system-wide outcome monitoring study.
For several years CIBHS has been working with the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health to design a system for the routine monitoring of CalWORKs Mental Health outcomes. This study evaluates the implementation of the monitoring system between October 2014 and February 2016. It also uses data from the monitoring effort to profile employment and psychiatric outcomes on a quarterly basis. Finally it presents four policy issues that the monitoring data permits DMH to address.
This report, prepared for the Los Angles County Mental Health Department, uses several data sources to profile 54 LA CalWORKs mental health programs. The report sets the context of 15 years of welfare reform and then discusses hurdles to employment experienced by CalWORKs mental health participants. Outcomes of services are shown for Engagement and Disaffiliation, Employment, Mental Health and personal strengths.