California Socioeconomic Survey (CalSES)

Welcome to the primary resource center for our survey respondents. This site will answer your questions and provide information to help you complete the CalSES Survey.

Survey Overview

The purpose of the study is to help us evaluate the CalWORKs program. By participating, you will be helping us learn about the quality of this program and how it might be improved. By evaluating the quality of the CalWORKs program, researchers can make recommendations to help CalWORKs best serve the children and families of California.

Frequently Asked Questions

[Read the FAQs in Spanish / Lea las preguntas frecuentes en español]

Who is doing this study?

The study is being conducted by the RAND Corporation, a private nonprofit research organization based in Santa Monica, California. RAND conducts objective public policy research in many areas.

Who is funding this study?

The research has been requested by the California legislature and funded by the California Department of Social Services, the state government agency that is responsible for administering the CalWORKs Program.

How was I selected for this study?

You were selected randomly among CalWORKs participants who entered the program between 2011 and 2014 and who were residing at the time in one of six counties: Alameda, Fresno, Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, and Stanislaus.

How long will this study last?

As of now, the CalWORKs Evaluation Study is planned to last for 3 years. We would like to interview you and your minor child one time per year for three years. You can decide whether you want to participate in each interview or not. We hope you will want to take part in the whole study.

What will I be asked to do?

We would like you to take part in a telephone interview, at a time and date that is convenient for you. The interview will last about 30-45 minutes. We will ask you questions about different topics, such as your experience with the CalWORKs program, your education and training, your employment and your access to medical care, your income sources, your health and well-being, and the people that live in your household and their characteristics. We will also ask some questions about child care for your children under age 12 and about schooling for your children age five and older.

If you have one or more minor child between the ages of 2 and 12 living at home, we may also send a trained interviewer to your home, at a time that is convenient for you, to observe and measure aspects of your child’s development. If you have more than one minor child between the ages of 2 and 12, we will select one child at random from among your children in that age range. We will include only one child per household in this study.

If selected for the study supplement, what will my minor child be asked to do?

Your minor child will be asked to complete a brief assessment that will measure his or her skills at recognizing words, letters, and numbers and performing routine tasks. The assessments will be administered by a trained RAND interviewer and are in a game-like format that is tailored to the child’s age. We will also ask you to complete a similar survey about the child. Finally, we will ask you and your child to allow the RAND interviewer to measure your child’s height and weight.

What if I am no longer receiving cash assistance?

We are interested in interviewing CalWORKs participants who began receiving aid in 2011 and later. Even if you are no longer receiving cash aid, we would like to hear about your experiences with CalWORKs while you were a participant.

How long will the interview take?

Each time you participate, we will ask for about an hour of your time. The adult interview will last somewhere between 25 and 50 minutes, and if selected, the child interview will be 60 minutes.

Why should I participate?

This is an opportunity to be in an important study and to make a valuable contribution that may help improve the CalWORKs Program. We need to include many different kinds of people in order to have a better understanding of the experiences and health needs of families from different backgrounds. The information you provide will help improve programs and services for people throughout California.

Why should my minor child participate?

CalWORKs stands for: California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids. By interviewing you and your minor child, we can evaluate both parts of what CalWORKs was created for: the work opportunity for adults and responsibility to kids. If we are able to interview your child, we can get a better picture as to whether CalWORKs is meeting its goals in terms of improving the lives of California children.

Who will get the results of this study?

General results from the study will be shared with CalWORKs officials, local government, local and national policymakers, and others who are interested in helping parents and children stay healthy and thrive. We will also report results from the study in professional journals.

Do I have to participate in this study?

No. Taking part in this study is completely voluntary. You may refuse any part of the study. You are free to drop out of this study at any time. During the interview, you may refuse to answer any question you don’t want to answer. Nothing will happen to you if you decide not to take part. You will not lose any benefits that you currently receive, nor will it affect your access to benefits in the future.

What do I get for participating?

To thank you for your time, you will receive a $30 check for taking part in the telephone interview. If you are invited to take part in the home visit, you will receive $50 in cash. In addition, your child will get a small gift. You will receive these payments even if you (or your child) do not answer all the questions in the survey.

Is the information you collect from me confidential?

Some of the questions are personal but please know that you will be interviewed privately by a trained interviewer from the RAND Corporation. You can refuse to answer any question you don’t feel comfortable answering. Just tell the interviewer, and he or she will skip to the next one. You may also stop the interview at any time or take a break if you feel you need one.

We respect your privacy. We will keep your answers to the survey completely confidential. The information you give us will be used for research purposes only. Your name or other facts that could identify you will not appear when the researchers present this study or publish the results. There is one exception to confidentiality: if we observe or you tell us about the abuse or neglect of a child, elderly person or other dependent adult, about domestic violence, or if you tell us that you intend to harm yourself or another person, the interviewer must report this to his or her supervisor, who may report it to the appropriate authorities.

For your added protection, we have applied for a Confidentiality Certificate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for this research project. If approved, the RAND Corporation is authorized to, and will, protect your identity as a research subject in this project, even if someone tries to find out who you are through any kind of court order or other legal proceeding. If you like, you may get a copy of the Confidentiality Certificate (once it is issued) by calling us at 1-888-846-1197.

We will not reveal your identity unless you or your legally authorized representative consent in writing. If you agree in writing to have the information disclosed, the certificate no longer protects you.

What happens to the information I give you?

We will combine your answers with other respondents who are taking part in the study. We will report the results in terms of summaries and general statistics. We will use this information for research purposes only. We will keep all of the information about you confidential. Your name and address will not appear in any report and we will not give information that identifies you personally to anyone else, including any government agency.

How many times will I complete a survey?

We will ask you to complete three surveys. We will be contacting you to ask you and, if selected, your minor child to take part in interviews each year for three years. At any time, you can decide whether or not you want to continue to participate in this study. We will also ask you to give us your contact information at the end of the interview so that we can keep in touch with you during the study, and also let you know about future studies. At that point, you can let us know if you wish or do not wish to continue.

What if I have questions?

If you have any questions about this study, you contact the Survey Director, Beverly Weidmer at (800) 447-2631, ext. 6788.

If you have any questions about your rights as a participant in this research study, please contact the RAND Human Subjects Protection Committee at the RAND Corporation, 1776 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138 or by phone at (800) 447-2631, ext. 4772.