Evaluating Two Approaches to Case Management: Implementation, Participation Patterns, Costs, and Three-Year Impacts of the Columbus Welfare-to-Work Program. Sample Members


Table 1.2 shows some characteristics of the research sample in Columbus, measured immediately prior to random assignment.(23) Most people in the sample were women; their average age was 32; roughly half were white and half were black; and they had two children on average.

Typical sample members had limited experience in the labor market: Fewer than half reported that they had ever worked full time for six months for one employer, and fewer than one-third reported that they had worked for pay in the year before random assignment. Nearly three-fifths of the sample had received a high school diploma or GED certificate. Almost three-fourths of the sample had received AFDC for at least two years, and a substantial proportion were living in public, subsidized, emergency, or temporary housing. The Columbus sample is among the most disadvantaged of all the samples in the other NEWWS Evaluation sites.(24)

Table 1.2.
Selected Characteristics of Sample Members
Characteristic Full Sample High School Diploma or GED No High School Diploma or GED
Demographic characteristics
Male 6.5 6.6 6.4
Female 93.5 93.5 93.6
Average age(years) 31.8 31.9 31.8
White 46.5 41.3 53.5
Black 52.0 57.6 44.4
Hispanic 0.4 0.4 0.5
Other 1.2 0.8 1.7
Family status
Youngest child's age(%)
2 or under 1.8 2.0 1.4
3 to 5 45.1 46.0 43.9
6 or over 53.1 52.0 54.7
Average number of children 2.0 1.9 2.2
Labor force status
Ever worked full time for six months or more for one employer (%) 42.5 50.1 32.3
Any earnings in past 12 months (%) 28.2 34.6 19.5
Education status
Received high school diploma or GED (%) 57.4 100.0 0.0
Highest grade completed (average) 11.2 12.0 10.0
Currently enrolled in education or training (%) 7.8 7.7 8.1
Public assistance status
Received AFDC for two years or more prior to random assignmenta 72.7 66.7 80.7
Housing status

Current housing status (%)

Public housing 15.2 15.3 15.2
Subsidized housing 24.7 25.3 23.9
Emergency or temporary housing 1.4 1.3 1.6
None of the above 58.7 58.1 59.3
Sample sizeb 7,242 4,135 3,073

Source: MDRC calculations from information routinely collected by welfare staff.
Notes: aThis refers to the total number of months accumulated from at least one spell on an individual's own or spouse's AFDC case. It does not include AFDC receipt under a parent's name. bThirty-four individuals in the full sample who did not indicate whether they had a high school diploma or GED at random assignment were excluded from the subgroup analysis.

Data Sources and Sample Sizes

This report presents implementation, participation, cost, and impact results for individuals who were randomly assigned between September 1992 and July 1994. Results and their data sources include:

  • Demographic and other characteristics as of random assignment, collected by staff during the application or redetermination for assistance at the welfare office. These data are available for all 7,242 sample members included in this report.
  • Welfare department staff members' attitudes and opinions about the programs, recorded in a survey administered in October 1993.
  • Interviews with staff members and observations of program activities, completed as part of field research conducted in November and December 1993 and August 1994.
  • Data on JOBS activity participation rates and patterns, collected from a review of JOBS case files using standard coding procedures. Case files were reviewed for a random subsample of program group members who were randomly assigned between October 1992 and March 1993.
  • Participation impacts, computed using results from a survey administered approximately two years after random assignment. Surveys were administered to a subsample of individuals who were randomly assigned between January and December 1993. These data are available for 1,094 individuals in the program and control groups.
  • The cost of the integrated and traditional programs, calculated using state and county fiscal reports, support service payment records, administrative records, client survey responses, case file participation records, education provider fiscal reports, and published data.
  • Employment, earnings, and welfare impacts, computed using automated state unemployment insurance records and AFDC administrative records data. These data are available for all 7,242 sample members.
  • Comparisons with other programs in the NEWWS Evaluation, made using similar data from nine other welfare-to-work programs.
Sample Sizes, by Data Source and Research Group
Data Source Full Sample Integrated Group Traditional Group Control Group
Standard client characteristics
Sample size 7,242 2,513 2,570 2,159
Period of random assignment 9/92 - 7/94 9/92 - 7/94 9/92 - 7/94 9/92 - 7/94
AFDC administrative records and UI-reported earnings
Sample size 7,242 2,513 2,570 2,159
Period of random assignment 9/92 - /94 9/92 - 7/94 9/92 - 7/94 9/92 - 7/94
Two-Year Client Survey
Sample size 1,094 371 366 357
Period of random assignment 1/93 - 12/93 1/93 - 12/93 1/93 - 12/93 1/93 - 12/93
Case file participation data
Sample size 443 225 218 n/a
Period of random assignment 10/92 - 3/93 10/92 - 3/93 10/92 - 3/93 n/a
Staff surveys
Integrated case managers 22 n/a n/a n/a
JOBS case managers 39 n/a n/a n/a
IM workers 114 n/a n/a n/a