The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative in Allegheny County, PA

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative in Allegheny County, PA

This page was updated in June 2019 to note the conclusion of the county’s work with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative assists select county governments to develop comprehensive inventories of county-funded programs in several policy areas.

Background

Leaders in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, along with local stakeholders, have a long history of participating in state and national initiatives to develop and implement evidence-based practices that guide decision-making. In June 2016, the county executive invited Results First to work with the Department of Human Services (DHS) to develop a countywide program inventory and determine the evidence available for child welfare programs. This inventory allows the county to better assess programs funded by the Office of Children, Youth, and Families (CYF) within DHS, leverage existing research, and develop recommendations on where to direct future funding.

Implementation

DHS’ Office of Analytics, Technology, and Planning (OTP) made up the primary technical working group involved in the engagement. This team collected and analyzed program data from all nonplacement child welfare programs operated by CYF to compile a comprehensive program inventory. The OTP completed the development of its program inventory in 2018 and presented its findings to a policy steering committee, including DHS leadership.

Findings

The program inventory included detailed information such as program cost, number of participants, and the evidence base behind each nonplacement child welfare program. Through this inventory, OTP was able to identify the percentage of CYF’s budget being allocated toward effective, evidence-based programs. It was also able to make policy recommendations based on these findings, which included redirecting funds toward effective programs, investing in fidelity monitoring systems to ensure strong outcomes, and evaluating programs that are believed to be effective but have no evidence base. The OTP team presented on its program inventory process, including challenges and successes, during a national webinar co-hosted by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the National Association of Counties.

Learn more about our state work.

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