Interim Status Report on Research on the Outcomes of Welfare Reform. Evaluation of New Jersey Substance Abuse Research Demonstration


This evaluation will provide important information about the effectiveness of a type of intervention several states are experimenting with to move substance abusing welfare clients toward self­sufficiency.  The intervention New Jersey is implementing includes screening of welfare recipients for substance abuse problems, treatment referral mechanisms with enhanced case management, and substance abuse treatment coordinated with employment and training or vocational services.  The evaluation will, using a random assignment model, compare two models for providing such services, looking at outcomes in several domains including employment and family self­sufficiency, substance use and associated behaviors, child development and family functioning, and child welfare involvement.  The intervention being evaluated is intended to improve the post­welfare prospects of TANF recipients with substance abuse problems.  The evaluation is being conducted in two New Jersey counties (Essex and Atlantic).

The grantee, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, will produce three products resulting from the evaluation which are intended for use by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the state to disseminate information about the project.  These include:  (1) a descriptive profile of the population served by New Jersey’s welfare­to­work program, including how many have substance use disorders as well as other barriers to self­sufficiency; (2) an implementation report describing the difficulties encountered and lessons learned about implementing these services, as well as issues to be considered in establishing substance abuse interventions in welfare contexts; and (3) an outcomes report describing outcomes for participants and controls 12 months post­treatment.  ASPE and ACF have provided support for this project.  Other aspects of the evaluation are being funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Department’s National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Estimated Completion Date:  Random assignment of clients to the intervention models is to begin April 1999.  An outcomes report is expected in 2001.