Mecklenburg County has reported findings from the linked data in various arenas and formats. In August 1998, Mecklenburg planners attended a conference for the National Association of Welfare Research and Statistics in Chicago. Helen Lipman, Director of Planning and Evaluation, participated in a panel discussion on state data-linking grants at this conference. The crux of her presentation was how differences in data measurement yield differences in reported results. That is, longitudinal data sometimes show different results than cross-sectional data. Interpretation of the data is dependent upon the format.
There have also been presentations at the local level on the topic of "successful" and heavily dependent customers in Melenburg County. "Profiles of Self-Sufficiency and Welfare Dependence from the Longitudinal Database" was presented at a Brown Bag Luncheon for Applied Social Researchers in Mecklenburg County. The same presentation was also made to the Department of Social Services subcommittee of the Human Services Council of Mecklenburg County. Members of this group advise the Human Services Council, which, in turn, advises the local Board of County Commissioners about budgets and results in local human services programs.
Several reports using the longitudinal data have been sent to officials at the state level. Analyses of post-welfare earnings of Work First participants were sent to Governor James Hunt, Secretary of Human Resources David Bruton, Representative Beverly Earle, and Senator Dan Clodfelter to keep them informed of progress in our county. The governor recently wrote a letter to the Director of Social Services, Richard W. Jacobsen, Jr., thanking him for the information. The governor also stated that he would distribute the report to others on his staff involved in Work First projects. Reports regarding rates of exit and recidivism in Work First in total and by race group were also sent to officials at the state. Mecklenburg County has made a priority of keeping those at the state level informed about Work First in our area.