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CalWORKs Historical Publications

CalWORKs Leavers Survey
A Statewide Telephone Survey of Former CalWORKs Recipients, January 2000
This report is a study of former CalWORKs recipients ("leavers") who left CalWORKs cash aid between December 1998 and June 1999. The 142 former recipients who participated in the telephone survey provided information on why they left cash aid and their post-CalWORKs sources of support.

Characteristics and Employment of Current and Former CalWORKs Recipients: What We Know From Statewide Administrative Data - Updated December 1, 2000
This analysis uses administrative data to describe the primary language and length of time on aid of recipients who were on aid in 1998.  The analysis tracks recipient outcomes seven to nine months later, showing the number were still on aid and the number who left aid, and their respective work history over the time period.  The information is further broken down by the employment characteristics such as industries employing former recipients, average earnings, and increase in average earnings.

Good Cause Establishment, Compliance and Curing of Sanctions:  CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work Program
Budget Act language for Fiscal Year 2000/2001 required the California Department of Social Services to report to the Legislature on the rates of good cause establishment and curing of sanctions in the CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work program.  The legislative language also required the department to include recommendations for improving current processes.  This report is a compilation of data, depicted in charts, obtained through a survey from counties as well as several advocacy groups.  A complete copy of the report can be found in ACIN I-40-01 dated May 23, 2001.

Greater Avenue for Independence (GAIN) - Benefits, Costs, and Three-Year Impacts of a WelFare-to-Work Program
In 1987, CDSS contracted with the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) to conduct an evaluation of its statewide employment program initiative, GAIN. MDRC researchers examined the impact of GAIN in six counties focusing on employment, earnings, welfare receipt, and other outcomes of interest. The MDRC also conducted a cost benefit analysis. This report, which is eighth in a series of reports prepared by MDRC presenting their research findings regarding various topics of interest on the effectiveness of the GAIN program, discusses the cost benefits of the GAIN program over a three-year period and the program's effectiveness in moving recipients from dependency to self-sufficiency.

The Los Angeles Jobs-First GAIN Evaluation: First-Year Findings on Participation Patterns and Impacts
In 1996, the Los Angeles (LA) County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) contracted with the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) to evaluate their version of GAIN, which they called, Jobs-First GAIN. This research effort was jointly funded by LA County DPSS, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Ford Foundation. The MDRC analyzed both implementation and program impact of the Jobs-First GAIN Program in order to determine its effectiveness, and produced two reports. This second report, which concerns program impact, presents findings relevant to clients' participation patterns and the program's effect on program clients' employment, earnings, and welfare receipt during the first year. The first report, which is also located on the MDRC web site, presented findings from MDRC's analysis of how the LA County DPSS organized and implemented the Jobs-First GAIN Program during the first year.

Intergenerational Welfare  A Prospective and Retrospective Analysis - Updated November 30, 2001

Returning to Welfare:  What We Know From Statewide Administrative Data
The results of a study that examines families who left aid and returned using statewide administrative data.  The study compares experiences of leavers from both the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program in 1994 and the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids program in 1999.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) High Performance Bonus - Updated January 31, 2006
Beginning in 1999 and each year for five years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awards the top ten states with the best performance in measures of workforce success in the TANF program.  The following report describes the performance and improvement criterion used to calculate the award and California's award performance in federal fiscal years 1999 through 2005.

Welfare Attrition:  Cases Leaving Aid What We Know From Statewide Administrative Data
This study examines exits from the AFDC and CalWORKs program, specifically the rates at which cases exit aid: attrition rates.  In this analysis, attrition rates of zero, one and two-parent cases are compared.  In addition, differences in attrition between cases new to aid and cases that have been on aid for over a year are presented. 

Evaluation Projects

The CalWORKs Statewide Evaluation, conducted by RAND , assesses program implementation at the state and county levels, and examines the impact of CalWORKs on program recipients, and state and local agencies. To determine the impact of the CalWORKs program, RAND will analyze the effects of CalWORKs on employment, earnings, self-sufficiency, child care, child support, child well-being, family structure, and on state and local government agencies. Please visit the RAND web site at RAND's CalWORKs Publications for project updates and completed reports.


The Cal-Learn evaluation, conducted by the University of California at Berkeley, Data Archive and Technical Assistance (UC Data) Center, provided an independent review of the Cal-Learn program. The Cal-Learn program provides financial incentives for pregnant and parenting teens on aid to stay in school. The program also includes case management, transportation, childcare, and ancillary services necessary for education.   

Interim Impacts of California's Cal-Learn Demonstration Project, September 1999  (Please note: This report is 145 pages.)

Impacts of California's Cal-Learn Demonstration Project-Final Report, June 2000  (Please note: This report is 182 pages.)

Merced County (School) Attendance Project (MerCAP)

The MerCAP evaluation, conducted by the University of California at Davis , provides an analysis of the project to determine if school absenteeism among children on public assistance can be reduced using a combination of family case management and sanctions. The evaluation focuses on four areas: (1) school attendance and performance of children on aid; (2) parent interaction and involvement with their children's school; (3) the kinds of family problems underlying absenteeism; and (4) the costs of operating a school attendance program.

The MerCAP Year 1 Impact and Process Study  (Please note: This report is 53 pages.)
The MerCAP Year 2 Impact and Process Study  (Please note: This report is 57 pages.)
The Merced County Attendance Project (MerCAP) Final Evaluation Report  (Please note: This report is 147 pages.)