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National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies: Guide to Public Use Files

         GUIDE TO USING THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES    NATIONAL EVALUATION OF WELFARE-TO-WORK STRATEGIES (NEWWS) PUBLIC USE FILES   I. Introduction  This memo briefly describes the 6-CD set of public use analysis files and accompanying documentation from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS). The files contain the sample and outcome measures for analyzing the effects of 11 welfare-to-work programs on a comprehensive series of outcomes for adults and children. The 11 programs were operated during the 1990s in seven sites: Atlanta, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Portland, Oregon; and Riverside, California.  Findings based on calculations with these data were presented in five reports published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation and Administration for Children and Families; and U.S. Department of Education, Office of the Under Secretary and Office of Vocational and Adult Education:  Evaluating Alternative Welfare-to-Work Approaches: Two-Year Impacts for Eleven Programs, 2000.  Impacts on Young Children and Their Families Two Years After Enrollment: Findings from the Child Outcomes Study, 2000.  Do Mandatory Welfare-to-Work Programs Affect the Well-Being of Children? A Synthesis of Child Research Conducted as Part of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies, 2000.  Improving Basic Skills: Adult Education in Eleven Welfare-to-Work Programs, 2001.  How Effective Are Different Welfare-to-Work Approaches?  Five-Year Adult and Child Impacts for Eleven Programs. Final Report, 2001.  These reports and public use files were prepared by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) and Child Trends.  MDRC is conducting the NEWWS Evaluation under a contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), funded by HHS under a competitive award, Contract No. HHS-100-89-0030.  HHS is also receiving funding for the evaluation from the U.S. Department of Education.  The study of one of the sites in the evaluation, Riverside County (California), is also conducted under a contract from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). CDSS, in turn, is receiving funding from the California State Job Training Coordinating Council, the California Department of Education, HHS, and the Ford Foundation.  As part of the NEWWS Evaluation, Child Trends is conducting the Child Outcomes Study under subcontract to MDRC.  II. Research Design for the NEWWS Evaluation  To test the effectiveness of welfare-to-work program strategies, the NEWWS Evaluation uses an unusually strong research design: a random assignment experiment. In each evaluation site, individuals who were required to participate in the program were assigned, by chance, to either a program group, which had access to employment and training services and whose members were required to participate in the program or risk a reduction in their monthly welfare grant, or to a control group, which received no services through the program but whose members could seek out such services on their own from the community.  Random assignment took place when welfare applicants and recipients showed up at a welfare office to enroll in the site's welfare-to-work program.  This random assignment design assures that there are no systematic differences between the background characteristics of program and control group members when they enter the study. Thus, any subsequent differences in outcomes between the groups (called impacts) can be attributed with confidence to the effects of the program.  Four sites implemented a three-way random assignment research design in order to test the relative effectiveness of two different program approaches. In the three-way design, an individual is assigned, by chance, to either one of two program groups or a control group. Members of the two program groups and the control group are subject to the same labor market conditions and other environmental factors, assuring that any differences in outcomes between the two program groups, or between either program group and the control group, were caused by the programs' design and implementation.  Three of these four sites (Atlanta, Grand Rapids, and Riverside) operated a Labor Force Attachment (LFA) approach, which emphasized that the workplace is where welfare recipients can best learn work habits and skills and thus tried to place people in jobs quickly, even at low wages; and a Human Capital Development (HCD) approach, which emphasized education and training as a precursor to employment.  In Riverside, existing statewide rules mandated that only individuals who were "in need of basic education"- defined as not having a high school diploma or GED, having low scores on a welfare department math or reading literacy test, or requiring English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) instruction- could be assigned to the HCD group. The LFA group in that site, however, includes both those who were determined to be "in need" and those "not in need."  (See memos that describe ways of estimating program impacts for further discussion of this issue.)  Columbus used a three-way random assignment design to test the relative effectiveness of two different case management models. In the Traditional model the welfare department's employment and training and income maintenance functions are handled by two different workers, both of whom maintain relatively large caseloads. In the Integrated model one worker handles both the employment and training and income maintenance functions.  The integrated worker maintains a smaller caseload than either of the traditional workers and is expected to provide more intensive services.  The remaining three sites in the evaluation (Oklahoma City, Detroit, and Portland) used random assignment to test the effectiveness of established programs. Instead of implementing a program designed to meet research protocols, as in the three-way sites, program administrators determined their welfare-to-work program goals and practices and randomly assigned individuals to either a group that entered the program or a non-program control group.  Individuals were randomly assigned to programs over approximately a two-year period in each site.  The random assignment period for all sites includes the years 1991 through 1994.   III. Data Files  The data are stored in six ASCII files.  The documentation for each file describes the types of data collected, the sample included, and the key outcome measures.  The documentation also includes suggestions on how to use the data to estimate program effects.  CD #1: Five-Year Full Impact Sample File: contains background characteristics data and outcomes calculated with administrative records for all members of the impact sample in 7 sites (N=44,569). The file is organized into 6 records:  RECORD 1: RESEARCH SITE, RANDOM ASSIGNMENT YEAR, AND SAMPLE INDICATORS  RECORD 2: BACKGROUND CHARACTERISTICS AND BASELINE TEST SCORES  RECORD 3: PRIVATE OPINION SURVEY (ADMINISTERED AT RANDOM ASSIGNMENT)  RECORD 4: WELFARE AND FOOD STAMP PAYMENTS  RECORD 5: EMPLOYMENT AND EARNINGS  RECORD 6: INCOME  CD #2: Two-Year Client Survey File: contains responses to a survey administered in 7 sites around the 2-year anniversary of the respondent's random assignment date  (N=9,675).  All respondents were selected from the Full Impact Sample. The file is organized into 18 records:  RECORD 1:  INTERVIEW DATE, LENGTH, MODE  RECORD 2:  PARTICIPATION: JOB SEARCH, ABE, GED, AND HIGH SCHOOL  RECORD 3:  PARTICIPATION: POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL TRAINING,            WORK EXPERIENCE, OJT, ANY ACTIVITY  RECORD 4:  PARTICIPATION: DATE AND HOURS MISSING DATA FLAGS  RECORD 5:  ADDITIONAL BASIC EDUCATION VARIABLES  RECORD 6:  DEGREE RECEIPT  RECORD 7:  EMPLOYMENT: SOURCE VARIABLES  RECORD 8:  EMPLOYMENT: CREATED VARIABLES  RECORD 9:  EMPLOYMENT: DATA PROBLEM FLAGS  RECORD 10: CHILD CARE FOR EMPLOYMENT  RECORD 11: HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION  RECORD 12: INCOME FOR HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS 1-9 YES/NO VARIABLES  RECORD 13: INCOME AMOUNTS FOR HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS 1-9 DOLLAR VARIABLES  RECORD 14: INCOME SUMMARY VARIABLES  RECORD 15: INCOME PROBLEM FLAGS  RECORD 16: TRANSITIONAL AND NON-CASH BENEFITS AND HEALTH CARE COVERAGE  RECORD 17: CHILD OUTCOMES (ALL CHILDREN)  RECORD 18: ATTITUDES TOWARD WORK AND WELFARE AND INFORMATION ON SANCTIONS   CD #3: Two-Year Child Outcomes Study (COS) Survey File: contains information concerning the health, social, behavioral, and intellectual development of the respondent's "focal child," a child aged 3 to 5 years as of the date of random assignment. Data were recorded in 3 sites around the two-year anniversary of random assignment from the mother's survey responses, interviewer observations, and standardized tests administered to the focal child (N=3,018). The file is organized into 14 records:  RECORD 1: OUTCOMES  RECORD 2: TARGETED INTERVENING MECHANISMS  RECORD 3: NON-TARGETED INTERVENING MECHANISMS  RECORD 4: HISTORY OF CHILD CARE ARRANGEMENTS FOR FOCAL CHILD (SECTION AA)  RECORD 5: CURRENT CHILD CARE ARRANGEMENTS FOR FOCAL CHILD (SECTION BB)  RECORD 6: CHILD SUPPORT FOR FOCAL CHILD (SECTION CC)  RECORD 7: FOCAL CHILD'S HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE (SECTION DD)  RECORD 8: PARENTING OF FOCAL CHILD (SECTION EE)  RECORD 9: SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE, PARTS 1 AND 2, PARENTING (SECTION FF)  RECORD 10: SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE, PART 3 DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS            (SECTION GG)  RECORD 11: SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE, PART 4, CHILD POSITIVE AND            PROBLEM BEHAVIOR (SECTION: HH)  RECORD 12: INTERVIEWER ASSESSMENT  RECORD 13: SUBGROUPS  RECORD 14: COVARIATES  Note: the Child Outcomes Study sample is nested within the Two-Year Client Survey and Full Impact samples.   CD #4: Two-Year Literacy and Math Test Score File: contains one record and a total of 2,923 sample members in 3 sites. The key outcome measures are the scores from the TALS Document Literacy test and the CASAS Math test. Respondents took one or both tests after completing a Two-Year Client Survey interview.  CD #5: Five-Year Client Survey File: contains responses recorded from survey interviews administered in 4 sites around the 5-year anniversary of random assignment (N=5,463). Respondents were selected from the Full Impact Sample.  Most Five-Year Survey respondents also responded to the Two-Year Client Survey. The survey file covers the following subjects:  RECORD 1: INTERVIEW DATE, LENGTH, MODE AND OTHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION  RECORD 2: PARTICIPATION IN EMPLOYMENT-RELATED ACTIVITIES AND ATTITUDES           TOWARD WORK AND WELFARE  RECORD 3: DEGREE ATTAINMENT  RECORD 4: EMPLOYMENT AND EARNINGS  RECORD 5: CHILD CARE  RECORD 6: WELFARE RECEIPT  RECORD 7: MEDICAL COVERAGE  RECORD 8: HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION  RECORD 9: INCOME  RECORD 10: OUTCOMES FOR ALL OF RESPONDENTS' CHILDREN   CD #6: Five-Year Child Outcomes Study (COS) Survey File: contains survey-based measures of the focal child's developmental outcomes, child care, and child activities. The Five-Year COS includes a total of 2,332 respondents in 3 sites; 1,472 of these respondents also have survey data available from the teachers of their focal child.  All COS sample members were selected from the Full Impact Sample. Each COS sample member also responded to the Five-Year Client Survey. Most also responded to the Two-Year Client- and COS Surveys.  The file contains 14 records of data for each COS sample member:  RECORD 1:  OUTCOMES FOR FOCAL CHILD: SUMMARY MEASURES  RECORD 2:  FOCAL CHILD'S ACTIVITIES AND CHILD CARE ARRANGEMENTS: SUMMARY MEASURES  RECORD 3:  FOCAL CHILD'S ACTIVITIES AND CHILD CARE ARRANGEMENTS: SOURCE            DATA (SECTION A)  RECORD 4:  FATHER OF FOCAL CHILD'S INVOLVEMENT AND CHILD SUPPORT            (SECTION B)  RECORD 5:  RESPONDENT'S SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE: NEIGHBORHOOD            (SECTION AA)  RECORD 6:  RESPONDENT'S SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE: DEPRESSIVE            SYMPTOMS (SECTION BB)  RECORD 7:  RESPONDENT'S SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE: PARENTING            (SECTION CC)  RECORD 8:  RESPONDENT'S SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE: FOCAL CHILD'S            HEALTH AND HEALTH CARE (SECTION DD)  RECORD 9:  RESPONDENT'S SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE: FATHER OF FOCAL            CHILD'S INVOLVEMENT (SECTION FF)  RECORD 10: RESPONDENT'S SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE: RESPONDENT'S            EXPERIENCE OF BARRIERS TO WORK FROM OR ABUSE BY INTIMATE            PARTNERS AND OTHER (SECTION GG)  RECORD 11: FOCAL CHILD'S SELF-ADMINISTERED QUESTIONNAIRE  RECORD 12: INTERVIEWER ASSESSMENT (SECTION IA)  RECORD 13: FOCAL CHILD'S TEACHER SURVEY  Note: Record 13 is blank (except for IDNUMBER and record number) for COS families who were not included in the Teacher Survey.  RECORD 14: BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SAMPLE WEIGHTS   IV. Using the Data  Each sample member has a unique randomly-generated IDNUMBER (that varies from 1 to 44,569), which appears in columns 1-5 of each record of every file. The same sample member IDNUMBER is used on every file in which she (nearly all sample members are female) is included. Researchers may build any number of research analysis files by merging records by IDNUMBER. The Full Impact Sample File contains indicators of membership in each of the key research samples.  These measures will be helpful in constructing analysis files.  We strongly suggest that users of this file do the following before conducting any further analyses with NEWWS Evaluation Public Use File data:  1. Read the _README files which give a brief description of all files included    on each CD.  2. Read the reports, including chapters which describe the research designs,    samples, and data sources.  3. Review the codebooks, file layouts, output, tables, and memos.  4. After reading the data into SAS or another statistical or econometric    software package, replicate the sample sizes and means.   V. Maintaining Sample Members' Confidentiality  IDNUMBER is the only unique identifier in the NEWWS Evaluation Public Use Files. Other background data that could be used to identify individual sample members have been deleted or grouped into broader categories.  For example, the year in which the sample member was randomly assigned is available to researchers, but not her specific date of random assignment.  Values of some outcome measures have also been deleted or grouped into broader categories to protect sample members' confidentiality. For example, quarterly measures of total earnings, welfare payments, and Food Stamp payments have been rounded to the nearest $100.  See the cover memos and codebooks for each public use file for more specific information on how data were changed.   IMPORTANT !!!: Researchers who estimate program impacts with the data from the NEWWS Evaluation public use files will get slightly different results from those published in NEWWS Evaluation reports.  Results will also differ slightly from those which appear in the series of annotated tables stored on each CD.  (Most of these tables are copied from reports.)  The cover memo for the Five-Year Full Impact Sample File contains a comparison of impact estimates calculated with the original data and estimates calculated with data stored on the NEWWS Evaluation public use files.   VI. Restricted Access Files  A copy of the original data used in the evaluation is available to researchers (on a restricted access basis) at the National Center for Health Statistics. See for more information.