Role of State Faith Community Liaisons in Charitable Choice Implementation. Introduction

12/18/2008

To build a better understanding of the role that faith community liaisons (FCLs) play in implementing Charitable Choice within states and localities, the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in 2007 funded a study entitled The Role of State Faith Community Liaisons in Charitable Choice Implementation.  It focused on FCLs efforts to promote the states implementation of Charitable Choice policies and the related regulations governing how states and localities may contract with faith-based organizations (FBOs), as well as FCLs efforts to expand public partnerships with FBOs.

More specifically, the study goals were to:

  • Assess the current status of the FCL function across the states
  • Examine the relationship between certain characteristics of FCLs (such as their formal and informal functions, the origins of their positions, their locations in state bureaucracies, and their tenure in office) and the evident effectiveness of Charitable Choice implementation
  • Identify model ways in which states have used FCLs to implement Charitable Choice effectively.

The study was conducted by Mathematica Policy Research (MPR), with the assistance of subcontractors Dr. Stanley CarlsonThies of the Center for Public Justice (CPJ) and Dr. Amy Sherman of the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research. Dr. Rebecca Sager of Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles) served as a study consultant, providing data on FCLs and related initiatives.

The study focused on DHHS-funded programs covered by Charitable Choice as well as other social service programs covered by equal treatment provisions. In carrying out the study, MPR built on its own prior work for ASPE, research conducted by others, and new data gathered and analyzed by the study team.

In this chapter, we describe how that prior research by ASPE and MPR served as a basis for the present studys work on Charitable Choice, outline the studys research questions, and discuss the federal policy context for implementing Charitable Choice in the states. Finally, we describe the studys methodology and the purposes of this report.

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