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Washington State Institute for Public Policy

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Found 626 results

Passport to College Promise: College Assistance and Support for Former Foster Youth

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Mason Burley, Matt Lemon - December 2012

Washington State’s Passport to College Promise program (Passport) was created in 2007 to increase post-secondary educational outcomes for former foster youth. Passport consists of three components: 1) pre-college preparation provided to high school-age foster youth; 2) a scholarship for former foster youth attending eligible in-state schools; and 3) academic and support services from Designated Support Staff at participating colleges.

Washington is one of only two states that provide these kinds of “wraparound” services in addition to financial aid for former foster youth attending college. In this evaluation of the program, we compared outcomes for Passport students relative to common college performance benchmarks: retention, persistence, and completion. About two-thirds of Passport students remained enrolled for more than six months during their first year. These students had retention and completion outcomes similar to other (non-foster) students. Several recommendations for program improvement are also provided based on interviews with program staff and a review of available data.


Educational Outcomes of Foster Youth--Benchmarks

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Mason Burley - December 2012

The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Children’s Administration (CA) asked the Institute to develop outcome measures to establish how the educational prospects of foster students have changed over time. This report includes detailed definitions and results on four long-term measures related to the educational status of youth in foster care. These measures include:

  • School retention: Nine out of ten foster youth re-enroll in the following school year.
  • Behind grade level: 8% of foster youth are behind their expected grade level.
  • Adjusted cohort graduation rate: Over a four-year period, the longitudinal graduation rate for youth in long-term foster care was between 45 and 55%.
  • Annual graduation rate: Measured on an annual basis, the graduation rate for foster youth was 47%.
For each measure, results for foster youth were compared to other students in Washington State. These measures will also be updated in the future to assess improvements.


Retiree Benefits in Public Pension Systems

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Annie Pennucci, John Bauer, Stephanie Lee, Amanda DeShazo - December 2012

The 2012 Legislature directed the Institute to evaluate three topics related to public pension policies: benefit levels, portability, and excess compensation. The Institute consulted with the Office of the State Actuary, Department of Retirement Systems, and local government plan sponsors in conducting this study. We surveyed public pension plans in the 50 states to compare benefit levels. We also analyzed state data on recent retirees in Washington State to examine overtime and excess compensation. Finally, we contracted with a professional actuary who has expertise in public employee retirement systems to review our methods and findings. This report summarizes our findings.


DSHS Special Commitment Center: Population Forecast, Revised

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Christopher Murray - November 2012

In 2010, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy was directed to study the commitment of sexually violent predators to the Special Commitment Center. The study assignment concentrated on two topics: a population forecast, as well as issues related to treatment participation and less restrictive alternatives.

This first report of two examines the projected future demand for the Special Commitment Center. The second report, which will be published by the end of December 2012, examines residents’ participation in treatment, the annual review process, and the capacity and future demand for less restrictive alternatives.


Did Expanding Eligibility for the Family Caregiver Support Program Pay for Itself by Reducing the Use of Medicaid-Paid Long-Term Care?

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Marna Miller - November 2012

Washington’s Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) provides a comprehensive array of information, resources and services to unpaid family caregivers caring for adults with functional disabilities. One objective of this program is to delay or avoid placement of the care recipient in long-term care. To expand the program to serve more caregivers, the 2011 Legislature increased funding for the FCSP by $3.45 million for fiscal year 2012. The additional funding was based on assumed savings associated with delayed or avoided placements into more costly Medicaid-paid long-term care (LTC). The legislature also directed the Institute to assess whether the expansion of this program delayed or reduced entry of care recipients into LTC and thereby reduced LTC costs.

The short legislative timeline for this study precluded a comprehensive evaluation. Nonetheless, based on the limited data available, we report two preliminary results. First, we observed a significant delay in the use of LTC by those served during the expansion. Second, we estimate that the maximum savings possible from the expansion would have been $1.67 million in the first year. Since $3.45 million was budgeted for the FCSP expansion, it appears unlikely that the expansion would have been cost neutral, at least in the first year, as assumed in the budget.

We recommend that a longer term evaluation of the expansion be conducted to determine if benefits match cost over an extended period.


Educational Advocates for Foster Youth in Washington State: Program Impacts and Outcomes

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Mason Burley - November 2012

Educational Advocates work with schools, social workers, foster families and students to help youth in foster care succeed in school. Advocates were initially available to assist foster students in King County. In 2006, the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) started a statewide Educational Advocacy program for foster youth in need of educational assistance.

The 2011 Washington State Legislature directed the Institute to “examine the child welfare and educational characteristics and outcomes for foster youth who are served by educational advocates.” This report includes the results of the evaluation


K-12 Education Spending and Student Outcomes: A Review of the Evidence

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Steve Aos, Annie Pennucci - October 2012

The Washington State Institute for Public Policy updated its findings on a key public policy question for the Washington State legislature: does spending more money on the K–12 school system lead to better student outcomes? To investigate, we conducted a systematic review of research by analyzing all scientifically rigorous studies we could find on the topic.


Inventory of Evidence-Based, Research-Based, and Promising Practices

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EBPI & WSIPP - September 2012

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. Under E2SHB 2536, the inventory, published here, will be used by Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and the Health Care Authority (HCA) to complete a baseline assessment to determine whether their current programs and services are evidence-based or research-based. By December 30, 2013, DSHS and HCA will report to the Governor and the legislature on strategies to increase the use of evidence-based and research-based practices.


How Does Washington State's Learning Assistance Program Impact Student Outcomes? Final Report

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Annie Pennucci, Matt Lemon, Laurie Anderson - August 2012

Washington State provides supplemental funding to school districts through the Learning Assistance Program (LAP) to help students at-risk of not meeting state learning standards. The state Quality Education Council (QEC) makes recommendations to the legislature regarding basic education, including LAP. The QEC requested that the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Institute) study the impact of LAP-funded remediation strategies on student achievement.

The Institute published a preliminary report in December 2011, finding that the state’s K–12 data system does not reliably identify which students receive LAP-funded services. In response, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) modified district reporting requirements to ensure that LAP students will be identified in state data from 2011-12 and beyond.

This final Institute report describes how LAP is implemented in Washington State, and presents results from a school-level analysis of the association between LAP and student outcomes.


Confinement for Technical Violations of Community Supervision: Is There an Effect on Felony Recidivism?

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Elizabeth Drake, Steve Aos - July 2012

The Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) has jurisdiction over offenders when a superior court orders community supervision. While on supervision, offenders must adhere to conditions such as reporting regularly to their Community Corrections Officer (CCO). If conditions are violated, DOC may impose sanctions ranging from reprimands to confinement. Between fiscal years 2002 and 2008, approximately 72 percent of all offenders who had a violation received confinement as a sanction.

We investigate whether the use of confinement—as a sanction for a violation—has an impact on recidivism.