Performance Improvement 2001. Study of Families Receiving Diversion Assistance Payments Under the Work First Program


The North Carolina Work First Diversion Assistance program serves families eligible for Work First cash assistance but instead receive diversion assistance in the form of cash payments equal to as much as three months of Work First benefits. The program goal is to provide assistance to families when they need short-term help to become or remain self-sufficient, as an alternative to going on welfare. The evaluation consists of telephone interviews with 242 families receiving assistance between May 1999 and August 1999. The study found client household characteristics, plus prior welfare use and employment, varied by county which was interpreted as variations in the county's approach to targeting diversion assistance. One quarter of respondents said they were not working. Overall, there is evidence of food deprivation among 22 percent of respondents but no evidence of major problems of hunger, homelessness, poor housing conditions, or placement of children. The results suggest that county administration of the programs should take caution in using diversion for applicants that do not have a recent work experience.

AGENCY SPONSOR: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

FEDERAL CONTACT: Girley Wright, 202-401-5070

PIC ID: 6829.1

PERFORMER: NC Deptartment of Health and Human Services, Raleigh, NC