The California Budget Act of 2012—“Senate Bill (SB) 1041”—included significant reforms to California’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program known as CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids).
The reforms, effective as of January 2013, included changes to the recipient time clock, work requirements, and earned income disregard, among other changes, with the goal of engaging recipients in more intensive work activities as early as possible, while also providing more flexibility in work activity options and increased financial incentives as recipients move toward self sufficiency.
To fully understand if SB 1041 is achieving its objectives and if there are any unintended consequences, the California legislature required an independent evaluation, to be performed by AIR and the RAND Corporation, along with support from Stanfield Systems.
The evaluation seeks to address key questions regarding the implementation and impact of SB 1041:
- Has SB 1041 provided greater flexibility in the services and activities available to recipients?
- Has SB 1041 helped to remove barriers to recipients’ employment?
- Has SB 1041 accelerated recipients’ paths to self-sufficiency?
- Has SB 1041 improved the well-being of recipient children and their families?
- Has SB 1041 affected recipients’ transitions at the 25-month mark?
- How have the changes affected CalWORKs and related programs at the county level?
- Has SB 1041 affected California’s TANF annual Work Participation Rates?
The study team will make recommendations for improvements to the CalWORKs program based on the evaluation findings.