State of Play: Pay for Success and Evidence-Based Policy, May 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 are currently engaged with the federal agencies required to implement new evidence and outcomes legislation for which we successfully advocated for, including the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (SIPPRA), Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), Family First Prevention Services Act, and the Unemployment return to work initiative called Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment Act (RESEA) and will continue to report on implementation. Please see below for additional details on federal Pay for Success and evidence-based work.

Congressional Updates:

Fiscal Year 2018 and Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations: On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed into law the $1.3 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, a comprehensive appropriations measure that funds the federal government through the remainder of the current fiscal year (September 30, 2018). Congress is currently working on the FY19 budget. Congress has now turned its attention to the FY19 budget process.

Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act: Four years after its initial introduction, SIPPRA, a comprehensive Pay for Success bill which directs federal resources to states and local communities to support innovative Pay for Success arrangements, was included as Section 50801 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The bill was signed into law by the President on February 9, 2018. Implementation efforts are currently underway with the first statutory deadline associated with the naming of members to the Commission on Social Impact Partnerships in the coming weeks (naming of members must be done within 120 days of enactment of the legislation) to advise the Department of Treasury, where the Commission will be housed.

Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program: Though the program went unauthorized for over four months, language to reauthorize the program for five years, including the Pay for Outcomes provision, was included in Section 50601 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and was signed into law by the President on February 9. Recently, a MIECHV Formula Grant opportunity was announced by HRSA. View the announcement and get additional information here.

Family First Prevention Services Act: the Family First Prevention Services Act 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. The Act was included as Title VII in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and was signed into law by the President on February 9.

Re-employment Services and Eligibility Assessment Program: An initiative of the U.S. Department of Labor, REA is a program that focuses 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 in Section 30206 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% of their expenditures be on evidence-based strategies and by the end of the authorization that requirement will have risen to 50%.  The Secretary is authorized to award outcomes-based payments to successful state strategies.

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 who has been a leading voice on this initiative.

State & Local Updates:

Project Announcements:

Georgia: Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms recently announced that the City will be the first municipality in the country to be awarded a publicly-offered Environmental Impact Bond (EIB) for green infrastructure projects.

Illinois: McLean County Behavioral Health Coordinating Council in Illinois is moving forward with a $3 million housing initiative that will provide more housing opportunities and services for people with mental illness. The four-year pilot program will be funded by a portion of sales tax funds, Medicaid, and the Pay for Success program through the Corporation for Supportive Housing.

Maryland: Baltimore officials recently announced a plan to use $6 million environmental impact bonds (out of a $10 million project) to support green infrastructure projects to reduce water pollution from stormwater runoff.

Massachusetts: Through a partnership between the city of Lowell, MA, the state, Coalition for a Better Acre, Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association, the International Institute of New England, and Jewish Vocational Service, a new Pay for Success Project – the English for Advancement program was launched earlier this week to provide language training and job placement for limited English speakers to advance their careers.


Colorado: Colorado Governor Hickenlooper signed House Bill 18-1323 into law on Monday 4/30. 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. View a one-page overview of the bill here.

Florida: Florida State House Bill 767 would create a formal structure through which state agencies could enter into Pay for Success contracts.

South Carolina: South Carolina Senate Bill 963 would create an outcomes fund through which agencies or the legislature could enter into PFS contracts as outcomes purchasers

Texas: An initiative to house and provide services to up to 250 homeless people in Travis County Texas would be among the first in the state to use Pay for Success. The program is expected to cost about $15 million, but $17 million needs to be secured in governmental pledges to cover potential returns for investors. Since the project was proposed two years ago, $1.3 has been raised to set it up and assurances from three local government entities have been given that they will provide the bulk of reimbursement funding.

Wisconsin: Earlier this month, Governor Scott Walker signed nine welfare reform bills into law as part of his Wisconsin Works for Everyone welfare reform plan. One of the bills, Special Assembly Bill 7, creates a Pay for Success contracting program for public benefit programs.

Resources & Announcements:

Institute for Child Success: 2018 Pay for Success Convening of Early Childhood Advisors, June 19-20, Charlotte, NC

Urban Institute Report: Pay for Success in Health Care

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