Bill Evans - Wraparound Case Management as an Anti-Poverty Initiative: Estimates from Two RCTs

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Barbara Broadway

Melbourne Institute Seminar

Title: Wraparound Case Management as an Anti-Poverty Initiative: Estimates from Two RCTs

Abstract:  It is estimated that in the U.S., private social service organizations spend $200 billion annually. Many of these programs are designed to improve the outcomes of the clients but few if any are ever evaluated to see whether the programs are delivering as promised. The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame is a research center that partners with social service providers and using experimental and quasi-experimental methods, generates impact evaluates of their anti-poverty initiatives. In this talk I would outline early results from two random-assignment clinical trials directed by LEO that feature wraparound case management as the intervention. The wraparound process is an intensive program where the client and social worker develop an individualized service plan to achieve family-specific goals. The process is expensive and time consuming and represents an up-front decision by agencies to treat fewer clients but treat them more intensively. The first is a program called Stay the Course that provides case management and financial assistance to low-income community college students with the goal of increasing enrollment persistence and degree completion. The program is designed so that social workers help students navigate shocks in the daily life that might threaten their ability to stay in school. The second is called that Padua Pilot where low income clients looking for assistant from Catholic Charities are enrolled in an intensive case management program. Social workers take detailed client inventories that identify their assets and goals and help the client devise a two-year plan to achieve their goals. Results suggest that after six semesters, Stay the Course has a large impact on persistence and degree completion. Preliminary evidence from the one-year followup of the initial cohort of Padua clients suggest large increases in employment and earnings and large changes in spending patterns within the household.

Presenter: Professor Bill Evans, University of Notre Dame

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