This summary is the final evaluation report for the Achieving Change for Texans (ACT) demonstration, a program stressing the temporary nature of welfare cash assistance and the need for people to move from welfare to work in order to gain independence and break the cycle of poverty. ACT was created after enactment of Texas HB1863 in 1995, and operated in several Texas locations 1996-2002. It was enacted over a year before the passage of the 1996 federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). It summarizes findings from all facets of the evaluation, which followed persons for five years after the beginning of the demonstration. The report presents findings from the formal impact study, and uses findings from the implementation study and the participant interviews to help interpret the meaning of these impacts. The report also compares these findings to those from other waiver experiments and highlights the policy implications of this study for Texas policy makers and a national research audience. To assess the impact of ACT policies, the study compared outcomes for 44,852 TANF cases assigned to experimental or control groups in one of three experiments: (1) The Time Limits (TL) pilot; (2) the Responsibilities, Employment and Resources (RER) pilot in counties that were operating a workforce development program for TANF recipients in 1996 (RER Choices); and (3) the RER pilot in counties without a TANF workforce development program in 1996 (RER non-Choices). It can be concluded that: (A) Impacts on public assistance receipt from the ACT demonstration were small but significant. (B) The ACT demonstration increased employment rates for some groups but had no impact on caretaker earnings. Finally, (C) weak overall impacts often masked subgroup differences, especially by tier group.
PIC ID: 6765
Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Koerper, Karl, 202-401-4535
Performer: State of Texas, Department of Human Services, Austin, TX