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Evaluation of the New Jersey Substance Abuse Research Demonstration

An Intervention for Welfare Recipients with Substance Abuse Problems

This evaluation is assessing the effectiveness of two contrasting intervention approaches being implemented in New Jersey to treat substance abuse and related problems in welfare recipients. The two interventions are “care coordination” (a limited triage and referral system) and “intensive case management” in which more extensive services are provided to encourage entry and retention in substance abuse treatment. The evaluation is using a random assignment design and outcomes are being assessed related to employment and earnings, substance use, and related family issues (such as involvement with child protective services).

The following reports are available from the study:

  • Intensive Case Management Improves Welfare Clients' Rates of Entry and Retention in Substance Abuse Treatment Executive Summary. (January 2001)
    States are struggling to develop innovative strategies to effectively address substance abuse in the context of welfare reform. This report presents preliminary findings of a study conducted in New Jersey comparing the rates of welfare clients' entry and retention in substance abuse treatment for two contrasting intervention approaches: Care Coordination and Intensive Case management. Preliminary findings clearly indicate the benefits of providing intensive case management services over a more limited triage and referral system.
  • Specialized Screening Approaches Can Substantially Increase the Identification of Substance Abuse Problems Among Welfare Recipients Executive Summary. (January 2001)
    This report describes the results of two approaches to screening for substance abuse among TANF recipients in New Jersey. Results suggest that a generic approach to screening in welfare settings — one that relies primarily on caseworkers administering paper and pencil measures as part of benefit eligibility determination — is useful, but that specialized screening programs can substantially increase case identification rates. Specialized screening programs utilized in two counties are described.
  • Intensive Case Management Improves Substance Abuse and Employment Outcomes of Female Welfare Recipients: Preliminary Findings, (September 2002) [This report is on the ACF web site.]
    This report is based on a study conducted in New Jersey comparing two contrasting intervention approaches for substance abusing women on welfare: Care Coordination and Intensive Case Management. Earlier reports indicated that providing Intensive Case Management services compared to a more limited triage and referral system increased rates of entry and retention in substance abuse treatment during the first 3 months post admission. The purpose of this report is to present treatment entry and retention rates 9 months post admission as well as preliminary substance abuse and employment outcomes.
  • Barriers to Employability Among Women on TANF with a Substance Abuse Problem (in PDF format)
    [This report is on the ACF web site.]
    The purpose of this study was to learn more about the substance abuse problems and other barriers to employment of women on TANF who were identified as being dependent on alcohol or other drugs. The study examined the nature, severity, course, and treatment needs for substance abuse problems in this population. The study also assessed problems in seven other areas thought to be barriers to employment. Because most women on TANF experience some barriers to employment, the study compared women with a substance abuse problem to those without a problem. This comparison allowed us to study and determine whether substance-abusing women were more impaired than other women on welfare across important domains related to employment. Finally, the study examined the well-being of children based on mother's self-report.