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

06/01/2001

The integrated and traditional programs were both education-focused, with more people participating in education than in other activities. For those who entered the programs without a high school diploma or GED (nongraduates), the Columbus programs produced large increases in participation in basic education. For high school graduates, the programs substantially increased participation in post-secondary education (primarily classes at a two-year college), job search activities, and unpaid work experience. The traditional program increased the proportion of nongraduate sample members who received a high school diploma or GED during the two years after entering the evaluation.

As expected, the integrated program was more successful in getting people to attend a JOBS orientation, the gateway to program activities, and engaging them in program activities, than the traditional program. These differences probably reflect integrated case managers' closer monitoring of participation and quicker follow-up regarding attendance problems (as reported in Chapter 2). Integrated group members may also have taken the threat of financial sanction for program noncompliance more seriously than traditional group members because integrated case managers could impose sanctions themselves, rather than relying on another staff member to do so. The orientation attendance rate may also have been higher because integrated case managers called people in to orientation (and followed up) more quickly than traditional case managers.

Sanctioning rates were similar in the two programs and very high. The rate of initiating a sanction, however, was higher in the traditional program than in the integrated program; thus, a smaller proportion of those for whom a sanction was initiated were actually sanctioned in the traditional program. This probably resulted from the traditional program's split in duties: Traditional JOBS case managers could request that a person be sanctioned (sanction initiated), but had to rely on an income maintenance (IM) worker to impose the sanction. In addition, because they did not deal with the eligibility aspects of recipients' cases, they probably initiated a sanction for some people who had not attended a program activity because they were no longer receiving cash assistance or were no longer mandatory for JOBS.