Washington State has compulsory school attendance laws that require school-aged children to attend school and mandate how schools and courts must respond to unexcused absences. These laws establish a series of escalating interventions that can ultimately result in truant students facing legal consequences, including detention. The 2016 and 2017 Washington State Legislature modified these requirements. Some significant changes included increasing the information provided to parents about truancy, requiring schools to use formal assessments of students and data-informed steps to address truant behavior, mandating the use of community truancy boards (CTBs), and requiring courts to try alternative methods before ordering detention. The Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to evaluate the effectiveness of the 2016 act. In this initial report, we outline the evaluation plan and identify potential data gaps. The final report, due January 2021, will describe changes in CTBs, truancy petition characteristics and outcomes, and student academic outcomes using a combination of descriptive and quasi-experimental methods. If possible, the analysis will include a meta-analysis evaluating the effectiveness of truancy and drop-out prevention programs.
The 2016 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to evaluate the “impact and cost effectiveness” of the hub home model. The hub home model (HHM), developed by The Mockingbird Society, is an approach to licensed foster care delivery wherein an experienced foster “hub home” provides activities, support, and respite care for a group or “constellation” of nearby foster homes. The Mockingbird Society has operated Washington’s only hub home program, frequently referred to as the Mockingbird Family Model, on a small scale since 2004. WSIPP was directed to evaluate effects of the HHM on children’s safety, placement stability, and permanency, and—if possible—to address sibling connections and caregiver retention. In this final report, we evaluate these outcomes directed by law, as well as an additional outcome: runaways from care. An interim report was published in January 2017. In January 2018, we will update this report with benefit-cost results, incorporating effects on a broader range of outcomes, such as high school completion, arrests, and behavioral health.
The 2017 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to examine variation in the use of paraeducators across Washington, how paraeducators impact students’ academic outcomes, and what the national research says about the effectiveness of paraeducators in improving student outcomes. We focused our analyses on paraeducators in Washington who perform teaching activities, whom we refer to as instructional aides. Using Washington State data, we used a fixed effects regression model to examine which factors, if any, are associated with the use of instructional aides and whether instructional aides are associated with school-level student outcomes.
The 2016 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to evaluate how Washington and other states fund school safety and security programs. To address this assignment, we conducted a 50-state review using data and information from legislation, enacted budgets, and agency websites from all states. In this report we describe the varied state and federal funding sources that Washington and other states use to fund school safety and security-related activities. We provide a Washington-specific overview of school safety and security-related legislation, the main sources of school safety and security funding in the state, and what these sources are used for (e.g. security resource officers, emergency plans, surveillance equipment, etc.).
Family Assessment Response in Washington’s Child Protective Services: Effects on Child Safety and Out-of-Home Placement
The 2012 Washington State Legislature directed DSHS to create a two-track response system for accepted reports to Child Protective Services, where high risk families receive an investigation (formerly the only response) and low- to moderate-risk families receive Family Assessment Response (FAR). FAR provides a comprehensive assessment of child safety, risk of subsequent child abuse or neglect, and family strengths and needs. The assessment determines the need for services to address child safety and the risk of subsequent maltreatment but does not include a determination as to whether child abuse or neglect occurred. WSIPP was directed to evaluate the effect of FAR on child safety measures, out-of-home placement rates, re-referral rates, and caseload sizes and demographics. In this final report, we evaluate the outcomes directed in the law, comparing outcomes for families who received FAR to those families who were eligible for FAR but who were served in offices where FAR had not yet been implemented. We also estimate the proportion of the caseload assigned to FAR after full implementation and the effect of FAR on receipt of paid in-home services. A preliminary report was published in December 2014.
Updated Inventory of Evidence-Based, Research-Based, and Promising Practices: For Prevention and Intervention Services for Children and Juveniles in the Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, and Mental Health Systems
The 2012 Legislature passed E2SHB 2536 with the intention that “prevention and intervention services delivered to children and juveniles in the areas of mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice be primarily evidence-based and research-based, and it is anticipated that such services will be provided in a manner that is culturally competent.” The bill directs the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) and the University of Washington Evidence-Based Practice Institute (UW) to publish descriptive definitions and prepare an inventory of evidence-based, research-based, and promising practices and services, and to periodically update the inventory as more practices are identified. This is the seventh update to the September 30, 2012 publication. The accompanying report describes the inventory update process, as well as the ongoing technical assistance process by UW.
Initiative 502, passed by Washington voters in November 2012, legalized the limited adult possession and private consumption of cannabis, as well as its licensed production and sale. The initiative directs WSIPP to evaluate the impact of the law in a series of reports between 2015 and 2032. In this second required report we address preliminary findings from analyses of effects of I-502 on non-monetary outcomes. We used two main analysis strategies. We examined the effect of I-502 enactment on cannabis abuse treatment admissions, comparing Washington to similar non-legalizing states before and after I-502 enactment. We also examined how local differences in the amount of legal cannabis sales affected cannabis abuse treatment admissions, youth and adult substance use, and drug-related criminal convictions. These analyses represent an intermediate step towards the ultimate benefit-cost evaluation of I-502 that is required by the law.
The Washington State Institute for Public Policy is directed to conduct an evaluation and benefit-cost analysis of the implementation of I-502, which legalizes recreational marijuana use for adults within the state. As a supplemental step, WSIPP's Board of Director's authorized WSIPP to analyze employment and wage data for employees in marijuana businesses. We used data from The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) combined with Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage data from the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) to analyze employment in Washington State businesses that have been issued marijuana licenses.
WSIPP’s Board of Directors authorized WSIPP to work on a joint project with the MacArthur Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts, with additional support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to extend WSIPP’s benefit-cost analysis to certain health care topics. We present new benefit-cost findings for interventions in four health care areas: 1) interventions to promote healthy pregnancy and birth; 2) therapies to treat opioid use disorder; 3) collaborative primary care; and 4) patient-centered medical homes. These benefit-cost findings build on our meta-analytic results released in December 2016. As part of this work, we conducted a primary analysis of Washington State birth certificate and hospital discharge data to estimate the costs related to key birth indicators. This analysis is a new addition to WSIPP’s benefit-cost model and is discussed comprehensively in the Health Care Technical Appendix.
The Effectiveness of Reentry Programs for Incarcerated Persons: Findings for the Washington Statewide Reentry Council
The 2016 Washington State Legislature created the Statewide Reentry Council with the goals of reducing recidivism and improving other outcomes for people who return to the community after incarceration. This legislation also directed WSIPP to examine the effectiveness of reentry programs through a systematic review of the research literature. Using WSIPP’s standardized procedures, we examined 59 programs to estimate their average effectiveness in reducing recidivism and improving other outcomes. In this report, we describe our meta-analytic and benefit-cost findings for these programs.