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This report presents early results on the impact of the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program on work activity participation rates of welfare recipients, welfare caseloads, and outcomes for welfare leavers. It describes outcomes under CalWORKs through approximately the summer of 2000 and begins the process of explaining the observed variation in outcomes through time, between California and other states, and among California's counties. Analyses of national data (administrative data on caseloads and national survey data on household income) and statewide data (on caseloads, employment, and earnings) show almost uniform improvement in outcomes in California since the implementation of CalWORKs. While the CalWORKs reforms appear to have been responsible for some of that improvement, the robust economy and other policy changes were probably also important. The rest of the nation has experienced similar improvements in outcomes.

Table of Contents

  • Summary PDF

  • Preface

    All Prefatory Materials PDF

  • Section 1

    Introduction PDF

  • Section 2

    Program Participation PDF

  • Section 3

    The Caseload PDF

  • Section 4

    Outcomes for Leavers PDF

  • Section 5

    Conclusions and Next Steps PDF

  • Appendix A

    Overview of Factors That Might Affect Outcome PDF

  • Appendix B

    Data Sources PDF

  • Appendix C

    Analytic Methods PDF

  • Appendix D

    Results of the Policy PDF

  • Appendix E

    Caseload Decline by California Region and County PDF

  • Supplemental

    All Supplementary Materials PDF

The research described in this report was performed by the RAND Statewide CalWORKs Evaluation within the RAND Labor and Population Program.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.