State of Play: Pay for Success and Evidence-Based Policy, August 2018

The following post includes an update on significant policy and practice-related efforts that are of interest to the Pay for Success and evidence-based community. If you have additional information or resources you would like to see included in future State of Play posts, please email the America Forward team at

Federal Updates:

America Forward and its Pay for Success and evidence-based Task Force and our broader Pay for Success and evidence-based network continue to engage with Congress to advocate for the inclusion of evidence and outcomes in federal legislation. We also continue our work with the Administration and its agencies tasked with executing on enacted Pay for Success and outcomes legislation to ensure our priorities are effectively implemented. Below are the latest federal Pay for Success and evidence-based updates.

Congressional Updates:

Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (SIPPRA): The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, enacted earlier this year, included SIPPRA, a comprehensive Pay for Success bill which directs federal resources to states and local communities to support innovative Pay for Success arrangements. SIPPRA implementation efforts are currently underway, including conversations with staff at OMB and Treasury, as well as naming members of the Commission on Social Impact Partnerships which was established to advise the Department of Treasury on SIPPRA. Click here to read the Urban Institute’s blog post about who has been named to the Commission.

Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV): Language to reauthorize the MIECHV program for five years, including the Pay for Outcomes provision, was included in Section 50601 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. A MIECHV Formula Grant opportunity was announced by HRSA earlier this year and the projected award date is September 30, 2018. Get additional information about the award here.

Family First Prevention Services Act: Also included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 was the Family First Prevention Services Act. This legislation provides sweeping reforms to Federal funding and support for child welfare services with a particular emphasis on defining and redirecting funds to evidence-based interventions. Stay tuned for additional updates this fall.

Re-employment Services and Eligibility Assessment (REA) Program: REA is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Labor focused on accelerating unemployment insurance claimants’ return to work and the training and other strategies used are encouraged to be evidence-based. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 codified REA and outlined a funding mechanism to fully fund the program over 10 years. The bill authorizes first-year funding of $117 million in FY18 and then bakes in mandatory side auto increases over ten years topping out at $750 million. By the middle year of the authorization, states will be required to have at least 25 percent of their expenditures be on evidence-based strategies and by the end of the authorization, that requirement will have risen to 50 percent.  The Secretary is authorized to award outcomes-based payments to successful state strategies. Stay tuned for updates on this program as the FY19 appropriations process continues.

Investing in Opportunity Act: Introduced on a bicameral, bipartisan basis, this legislation amends the Internal Revenue Code to authorize the designation of opportunity zones in low-income communities and to provide tax incentives for investments in those zones, including deferring the recognition of capital gains that are reinvested in the zones. The language of the bill was included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and established this new community development program to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities. The chief executives of every U.S. state and territory have 90-120 days from enactment of the legislation to designate up to 25 percent of the total number of low-income census tracts in a state as Opportunity Zones. Resources are available from the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) who has been a leading voice on this initiative. You can also view EIG’s Coalition letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury detailing its comments and recommendations for realizing Congressional intent with the implementation of Opportunity Zones.

Fund for Innovation and Success in Higher Education (FINISH) Act: In July, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Todd Young (R-IN introduced the Fund for Innovation and Success in Higher Education (FINISH) Act. The legislation seeks to harness evidence and innovation to expand access to higher education and help high-need students complete their degree. America Forward partnered with Results for America and Knowledge Alliance on this legislation. View our letter of support here. The bill includes many evidence-based provisions, including a new tiered-evidence innovation fund to test, replicate, and scale innovative higher education solutions; authorizing five Pay for Success pilot projects in higher education, and a one percent set-aside of funds to evaluate and improve programs. Learn more about this legislation here.

State & Local Updates:

Project Announcements:

California: San Diego Project re(LAUNCH), a project of Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc. in partnership with Acuitus, San Diego Workforce Partnership, American Institutes for Research, and 2-1-1 San Diego, will provide 150 veterans with service-connected disabilities living in San Diego County with accelerated IT education, wraparound services, and job placements. The program is innovative in the PFS field in that success payments will be tied to an increase in earning power of the veterans being served.


Colorado: Earlier this year Colorado Governor Hickenlooper signed House Bill 18-1323 into law. The bill sets up an annual schedule of transfers into a previously created state Pay for Success fund, which will support funding for three different pilot projects for youth involved or at high-risk if involvement in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Click here to view a one-pager to learn more about the three Pay for Success Pilots Colorado is working on to improve outcomes for Colorado youth with high-risk factors.

Previous Article America Forward Applauds Passage And Signing of Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act August 21, 2018 < Next Article Coalition Spotlight: Jumpstart Endorses House Democrat Aim Higher Act to Reauthorize the Higher Education Act August 21, 2018 >

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