In the midst of the political rancor and partisan bickering surrounding how to fund our federal government, key Congressional staffers and advocates were working to ensure that important evidence-based programs and policies made it into whatever bill emerged from this most recent budget and funding debate. Though it all seemed to happen so quickly, with introducing, amending, and voting taking place within the span of three days, we at America Forward know that the efforts surrounding the Pay for Success and evidence-based provisions that ultimately made it into the bill were years in the making. But make it they did, and the evidence-based community has a lot to celebrate.
Though the primary reasons for the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 are to provide continued funding for federal programs and operations this year along with setting budget figures for future appropriations debates, the bill also includes key Pay for Success and evidence-based provisions. These provisions include reauthorization of the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, the Family First Prevention Services Act, and the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act.
Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (Title VI, Subtitle A): Provides for a 5-year reauthorization (2017-2022) of this evidence-based home visiting program. Includes an option to utilize Pay for Success (Pay for Outcomes) in the funding of this program.
Family First Prevention Services Act (Title VII): Provides for sweeping reforms of Federal funding used to support child welfare services (Titles IVB and E) with a particular emphasis on supporting and redirecting funds to evidence-based interventions.
Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (Title VIII): Provides $100M in funding to support Pay for Success projects (social impact partnerships) based on state and local interest and need. Will also support feasibility studies and evaluations associated with projects.
America Forward and our Coalition have been leaders in developing, supporting, and ensuring the introduction and passage of each of these evidence-based provisions. We should all take a moment to celebrate these achievements and what they mean for ensuring that families and individuals are able to access programs and interventions that work. From here, the important steps of regulating and implementing these provisions begin and America Forward will continue to play a leading role in these efforts.
The evidence-based policymaking movement is both about efficiency and effectiveness. It is important to decrease government waste and ensure good stewardship of taxpayer dollars while at the same time it is critical that we move government dollars to interventions that build and use evidence to deliver results. We should demand that the programs that our government funds are of the highest quality and have the greatest chance of having an impact on those accessing them. These provisions help make these elements more of a reality for, at least, our Federal government and more lives will be measurably improved as a result.
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