Evaluating Michigan’s performance-based funding model
To address perceived inefficiencies in child welfare spending and improve child and family outcomes, the Michigan Legislature convened a task force in 2013 around performance-based funding for public and private child welfare services. It recommended the following activities:
- A pilot project to test the new funding model
- An independent evaluation to assess
- Planning and implementation
- Cost effectiveness
- Child and family outcomes
Westat designed and is implementing a rigorous 5-year evaluation plan in 3 Michigan counties.
The mixed-method process evaluation, which includes annual onsite interviews and focus groups with state and county child welfare staff and leadership, provides the context for foster care service delivery in the 3 counties.
The outcome study examines changes in child and family outcomes using propensity score matching to create a statewide comparison group.
The cost study addresses changes in service delivery and administrative costs by examining system-level expenditure and revenue trends across multiple data sources.
In the pilot site, the transition to performance-based funding has resulted in the following changes
- Process findings: increase in communication and collaboration among child-serving agencies
- Cost findings: increase (50%+) in total expenditures for foster care services
Foster children are more likely to
- Achieve permanency and exit care in fewer days
- Experience fewer placement changes than comparison children