Research and Data Analysis

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2015 DSHS Employee SurveyOutcomes 2015 DSHS Employee Survey

The 2015 Employee Survey revealed widespread increases in employee engagement at DSHS since our last major survey in 2013. Positive responses increased for the majority of survey questions, and DSHS exceeded the statewide target for Governor Jay Inslee’s “Employer of Choice” goal. There were improvements in all of the areas of focus specified by former Secretary Kevin Quigley for 2013 – 2015. The survey was completed by 13,664 employees in 2015 (81%), the highest level of participation since the survey began in 2002. The survey results also show opportunities for positive change, and in some cases, important challenges. Many of these opportunities and challenges are specific to Administrations and major units, and are the subject of action planning at every level of the organization. 


2015 Foster Parent Survey: DSHS Foster Parents Speak2015 Foster Parent Survey: DSHS Foster Parents Speak

This report describes the results of the fourth annual DSHS Foster Parent Survey. Between September 2014 and August 2015, 1,358 foster parents were surveyed about their satisfaction with the support and training provided by Children’s Administration and private agencies. The majority of foster parents continue to express satisfaction with the support and training they receive, and with the social workers assigned to their cases. However, there were statistically significant declines from the previous year in positive responses concerning the overall quality of support, availability of help, and social workers listening to foster parent input. Some indicated that they would like better access to resources, faster and more flexible processes, greater inclusion in matters concerning foster children, and more complete and timely information about their foster children’s cases. Some foster parents also suggested a need for more convenient training locations and schedules, more interaction with experienced foster parents in training, more on-line training, and more choice about which trainings they take. 

Outcomes for Persons Discharged from Community Psychiatric HospitalsOutcomes for Persons Discharged from Community Psychiatric Hospitals

This report examines the experiences of persons discharged from community psychiatric hospitals and evaluation and treatment facilities in Washington State, to help identify strategies that might improve post-discharge patient outcomes. Analyses focus on homelessness, arrests, mortality and psychiatric hospital readmission following discharge. 


Outcomes for WorkFirst Clients Taking Part in Unpaid Job Experience ProgramsOutcomes for WorkFirst Clients Taking Part in Unpaid Job Experience Programs

This report evaluates the impact of participating in the Department of Commerce’s two unpaid work preparation programs—Community Works and Career Development—using a statistically matched comparison design. We find that, when compared to similar WorkFirst clients in other work preparation activities, unpaid job participants in both programs were more likely to be employed at the end of the follow up period though their earnings were not significantly higher. Unpaid jobs participants also spent more time on TANF during the follow-up period, but were less likely to be sanctioned. 


Bringing Recovery into Diverse Groups through Engagement and SupportBringing Recovery into Diverse Groups through Engagement and Support

This report describes baseline characteristics for individuals enrolled in the Bringing Recovery into Diverse Groups through Engagement and Support (BRIDGES) program during the first year of program services (April 2014 through March 2015). BRIDGES provides evidence-based Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and Supported Employment (SE) to chronically homeless adults with substance use or co-occurring disorders in Kitsap, Snohomish and Spokane counties. BRIDGES is funded by a three year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). During the first year, 119 individuals enrolled in the program. We found that nearly all (94 percent) of participants entered the program from homeless or unstable living situations and faced numerous barriers to housing, including mental illness, substance abuse, chronic illness, unemployment and involvement with the criminal justice system. A final evaluation at the end of the three year grant period will examine the impact of BRIDGES on participant housing, employment and arrest outcomes. 


Behavioral Health Needs of Jail Inmates in Washington StateBehavioral Health Needs of Jail Inmates in Washington State

This report examines the characteristics of 123,240 individuals booked into local Washington State jails in 2013 who were recent or former clients of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) or the Health Care Authority (HCA). We find substantial overlap between the DSHS client population and those entering jail. The majority (86 percent) of individuals booked into jail in 2013 were recent or former DSHS/HCA clients. Medicaid recipients entering jail have high rates of behavioral health treatment needs. Based on administrative data, over half (58 percent) of Medicaid enrollees booked into jail have mental health treatments needs, 61 percent have substance use disorder treatment needs and 41 percent have indicators of co-occurring behavioral health disorders. 


Opportunity YouthOpportunity Youth

This project summarizes the characteristics and experiences of “Opportunity Youth,” defined as young people ages 16-24 who are not engaged in work or school. We summarize the experiences of Opportunity Youth with DSHS service histories who attended school in the Road Map region of south King County. We find that many face immediate barriers that may prevent them from engaging in work or school, including parenting responsibilities, incarceration, disabilities, and homelessness. Opportunity Youth have interacted with multiple systems, including criminal justice, behavioral health, child welfare, and public assistance. There are opportunities to better connect these systems to education and the workforce so that at-risk students are supported and those who do become Opportunity Youth are provided pathways to reengagement. For more information: 1. Main Report 2. Infographic 3. Slide presentation


Overdose Deaths among Medicaid Enrollees in Washington StateOverdose Deaths among Medicaid Enrollees in Washington State

Overdose deaths have risen over the past two decades, primarily driven by increased use of opioid analgesic prescription drugs. This policy brief reviews the incidence and scope of drug overdose deaths in Washington State from 2006 to 2012, and identifies the Medicaid populations at greatest risk of overdose. Findings from this study provide useful context for assessing recent overdose prevention efforts and provide a framework for behavioral health system quality measures focused on reducing overdoses.


2015 Social and Health Services Client Survey2015 Social and Health Services Client Survey

Between October 2014 and April 2015, DSHS surveyed 1,187 clients who received services between April 2013 and March 2014. These clients were asked about their satisfaction with social and health services and recommendations for change. As in previous years, the great majority of clients expressed satisfaction with services and their interactions with staff. Substantial improvements in satisfaction and access were noted for Community Service Offices, and there are indications that coordination of services may be improving. Fewer clients reported that information is easy to access in 2015. Clients of Apple Health (Medicaid) services were less satisfied with the ease of getting information and services and information, ease of getting to a provider’s office, and overall helpfulness. These changes were probably due to a substantial influx of newly eligible adult Apple Health (Medicaid) clients in 2015. This major change in the social and health services client population may also make comparisons to previous survey years difficult to interpret in other program areas, such as Division of Child Support.


Characteristics of Public Housing Assistance Recipients in Washington StateCharacteristics of Public Housing Assistance Recipients in Washington State

Statewide data on clients served by Washington State Public Housing Authorities (PHA) were linked with the social service and other data in the Department of Social and Health Services Integrated Client Database. This report examines three questions about housing assistance recipients served by PHAs across the state: 1) To what extent do DSHS and PHAs serve the same individuals? 2) What are the characteristics and service use profiles of jointly served PHA-DSHS clients? And 3) to what extent do PHA clients differ from other DSHS clients? We find that almost all (97 percent) of PHA clients in Calendar Year 2013 were DSHS clients at some point, and 91 percent received a DSHS service that same year. Medical coverage and Basic Food were the most common DSHS services received by PHA recipients. PHA recipients were more likely to be older, female and African American, receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Basic Food, and have physical or behavioral health challenges, particularly among working age adults. The report was funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and also supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Predicting Homelessness among Low-Income Families on TANFPredicting Homelessness among Low-Income Families on TANF

This report identifies key risk and protective factors associated with the start of a new homeless spell among parents receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Three key findings emerged: 1) recent homelessness puts families at increased risk while receipt of public housing serves as a strong protective factor, 2) criminal justice, behavioral health, and family violence issues increase the risk of future homelessness, and 3) income from work earnings or public assistance can buffer parents from homelessness, while being sanctioned for non-compliance with TANF requirements can place them at increased risk.



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