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In 2022, Washington State Juvenile Courts will transition to a new risk-needs-responsivity assessment, the Juvenile Court Assessment Tool (JCAT). Replacing the former PACT assessment, the JCAT will be used to facilitate case management for court-involved youth, including referrals to state-funded evidence-based programs (EBPs). Following completion of the JCAT in 2020, the 2021 Washington State Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to review the JCAT to assess potential eligibility under the JCAT that would appropriately assign youth to programs that meet their needs.
This study uses administrative data from the juvenile courts to examine what characteristics of youth are associated with significant reductions in recidivism following referral to and participation in state-funded EBPs. We examine recidivism outcomes for male and female youth who previously were eligible for and participated in the six state-funded EBPs to assess what risk scores, needs scores, and specific youth characteristics correlated with reductions in recidivism following participation in an EBP intervention.
The findings indicate that some youth characteristics identified on the JCAT are associated with significant reductions in recidivism following EBP participation, but these factors vary across sex and type of EBP. While not prescribing new eligibility criteria, the findings will assist the juvenile courts as they develop and refine eligibility for state-funded EBPs under the JCAT.
The Learning Assistance Program (LAP) provides supplemental services to K–12 students who are not meeting standards in reading, writing, mathematics, or readiness in these areas. In 2014, the Washington Legislature directed WSIPP to develop an inventory of programs that could be used in LAP, classify programs as evidence-based, research-based, or promising, and update this inventory every two years. WSIPP’s current LAP inventory includes 58 programs related to topics like tutoring, educator professional development, family engagement, community-based partnerships, and behavioral supports.
WSIPP was scheduled to update the inventory in 2022 but has put a hold on this work while it assesses the use of the inventory. In the absence of our regular update, this brief provides a historical review of the LAP inventory, describes potential changes resulting from 2021 legislation, and offers a discussion of options regarding the future of the inventory.
The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) was created in 1985 and is a statewide program that provides preschool education and wraparound services to low-income children and their families. Most children are eligible for ECEAP services if they are three or four years old and live in households with income less than or equal to 110% of the federal poverty level. Eligible children can enroll in ECEAP for Part-Day classes, or for longer periods of time in School Day or Working Day classes.
In 2019, the Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to examine ECEAP’s dosage models. We operationalized this legislative directive by comparing outcomes between children enrolled in School Day and Part Day classes. In our sample, we include children who enrolled in ECEAP (when they were four years old) between academic years 2015-2019 and subsequently enrolled in kindergarten the following year.
Overall, we found a positive relationship between School-Day enrollment and children’s kindergarten readiness, as measured by the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) assessment. Upon further analysis, we found that children in School Day classes were more likely to meet expectations in physical, cognitive, literacy, and mathematics domains on the WaKIDS assessment. Findings from subgroup analyses suggest that holding all other factors constant, the estimated size of the relationship between School-Day enrollment and kindergarten readiness is largest among non-Hispanic BIPOC and White children. We did not observe a relationship between School-Day enrollment and kindergarten readiness among Hispanic children. This report describes our legislative assignment, research questions, the methodological approach we used, main findings, and limitations in more detail.
In addition to examining ECEAP’s dosage models, the 2019 legislation also directed WSIPP to evaluate the long-and short-term effects of ECEAP. Ultimately, results from these two reports suggest that children who enroll in ECEAP are more likely to be kindergarten ready (than similar non-participants) and among ECEAP enrollees, those in longer class periods (School Day) are more likely to be kindergarten-ready than peers in Part Day.
The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) was created in 1985 and is a statewide program that provides preschool education and wraparound services to low-income children and their families. Most children are eligible for ECEAP services if they are three or four years old and live in households with income less than or equal to 110% of the federal poverty level.
The 2019 Washington State Legislature directed WSIPP to evaluate the short and long-term effects of ECEAP. This follow-up includes long-term outcome results for the previously studied historical cohort group (children born between 1996-2004), as well as more short-term outcomes for the historical cohort and a more recent cohort group (children born between 2004-2014). The 2019 legislation also directed WSIPP to examine ECEAP’s dosage models.
We found that the relationship between ECEAP participation and outcomes is strongest immediately after ECEAP participation and (generally) fades over time. In particular, we find that ECEAP participants are more likely to be kindergarten-ready and less likely to participate in special education in early school years. We find no clear evidence that ECEAP participants had better outcomes than non-participants on later outcomes, including high school graduation.
In December 2017, the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) implemented a new dynamic risk and needs assessment—the Washington Offender Needs Evaluation (Washington ONE). The Washington ONE is a dynamic risk and needs assessment used to inform case management for individuals under DOC jurisdiction.
The DOC contracted with WSIPP to review the literature on correctional risk assessments, including hierarchical classification systems. In addition, DOC asked WSIPP to examine the impact of reassessments on risk level classification changes since the instrument was introduced in 2017.
Our review of the literature found that the Washington ONE is generally consistent with national standards on the types of factors considered in the assessment. However, the hierarchical methods used to determine classifications are unique to Washington State. To date, information on the comparative accuracy of the Washington ONE is unavailable, but the report provides an overview of the national standards for reviewing accuracy and fairness in risk assessment instruments.
In general, most reassessments under the Washington ONE did not lead to a change in risk level classification (RLC). When reassessments did lead to a change, there were increases and decreases in RLC. Changes in RLC were driven by changes in many different domains. The report provides details about changes in RLC following reassessments by gender and by race.
In the Early Start Act of 2015, the Washington State Legislature required child care and early learning providers who serve non-school-aged children and receive state subsidies to participate in Early Achievers, the state’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). This legislation also directed WSIPP to examine the relationship between Early Achievers quality ratings and long-term outcomes for children who participate in state-subsidized child care and early learning programs. WSIPP was required to produce annual reports to the legislature from December 2019 through December 2022; the final report must include a benefit-cost analysis of Early Achievers.
In the second report in this series, we found that enrollment in a pre-kindergarten site that met minimum Early Achievers quality standards positively predicts greater kindergarten readiness. In this third report, focusing on the sample of children with child care subsidy, we found that the positive relationship between enrollment in a site that met minimum quality standards and kindergarten readiness is driven by children with two or more years of enrollment in “at quality” care. Additionally, we found that the positive relationship between enrollment in care rated “at quality” and kindergarten readiness is strongest for children attending sites in neighborhoods with higher levels of community vulnerability, suggesting that quality care may be effective in addressing the kindergarten readiness gap associated with neighborhood disadvantage.
For WSIPP’s next report in the Early Achievers evaluation series, due in December 2022, we will conduct a benefit-cost analysis of Early Achievers. Additionally, we will examine the geographic availability of early childhood education and child care at sites rated “at quality” and “above quality.”
Upon conviction for a crime in a trial court in the U.S., an individual may incur monetary sanctions as part of their sentence. These monetary sanctions, which can include fines, fees, restitution, and any surcharges associated with their case are commonly known as legal financial obligations (LFOs). The 2021 Washington State Legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) to study LFOs.
In this preliminary report, WSIPP studied statutes that allow for the imposition of LFOs in Washington and how other states fund their court systems. The review of statutes found over 350 unique LFOs that can be imposed across Washington courts. Of those LFOs, four are mandatory for convictions in a superior court and three are mandatory for convictions in courts of limited jurisdiction. Our 50-state review of court funding and LFOs found that every state allows for the imposition of LFOs, but it is unclear how LFOs are connected to court funding in many states. The review also indicates that states operate and fund their court systems differently. Some rely more on state-level funding while others rely more heavily on local resources. Using 2019 U.S. Census Bureau data, we found that local funding accounts for a higher percentage of Washington’s judicial spending than in 41 other states. This report also provides a brief description of WSIPP’s intended research plan for the final report, due to the Legislature by December 1, 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to abrupt changes in the operations of the adult criminal justice system. In this report, we describe how the flow of individuals through the adult criminal justice system has changed since the start of the pandemic by system component and by type of offense. We provide a high-level summary of the Washington State adult criminal justice system and discuss the decrease in measures of criminal justice processing at key stages of the system after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We then discuss some additional changes to the criminal justice system since the end of calendar year 2020 and considerations for whether the system will return to processing the same number of individuals as it did before the pandemic.
Washington’s Department of Corrections (DOC) and State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) collaborate to provide educational programming to incarcerated individuals and formerly incarcerated individuals re-entering the community. Available educational programming includes adult basic education, workforce and vocational training, and Associate of Arts degrees, among other options.
In 2020, the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC), in partnership with DOC and SBCTC, received a grant from the Lumina Foundation to improve postsecondary credential outcomes for incarcerated and re-entering populations in Washington. As a part of this grant, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) was contracted by WSAC to examine the landscape of postsecondary correctional education programs in Washington.
This study presents an overview of the postsecondary correctional education system in Washington, with an examination of the patterns of enrollment in and completion of postsecondary programs for incarcerated individuals. We found that Black, Latino, and other people of color participated in correctional education programs at a greater rate than White individuals while incarcerated. Rates of retention and completion once enrolled were similar across all racial groups, although Black and Latino students were slightly less likely to complete their degree programs. These findings were consistent for both professional/technical degrees and academic transfer degrees.
This report also includes a review of national research literature identifying challenges that may inhibit participation in postsecondary programs and best practices that may promote access. We found that Washington already implements many useful practices, chiefly the coordination between the Department of Corrections, community colleges, and other stakeholders and reentry services for formerly incarcerated students. Though barriers to participation still exist, often around funding, eligibility, and course quality, we found that these challenges would not generally limit participation for incarcerated students of color uniquely. However, some policies, particularly those related to student eligibility factors, may indirectly contribute to inequities.