Jan 1, 2003
An executive summary of RAND MR-1358-CDSS, Welfare Reform in California: Early Results from the Impact Analysis. The study examines the effects 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.