The State Comparative Performance Measurement Project: Public Assistance

Over the past decade, governments at all levels have increased tracking results of government services—from the federal tracking of social benefits to states closely monitoring child protective services to cities filling potholes. No attempt has been made, however, to launch a comprehensive effort to compare state service outcomes in multiple services. This report provides data and analysis of outcome measures in the area of public assistance as part of the State Comparative Performance Measurement Project.

The Council of State Governments, in partnership with the Urban Institute, developed the State Comparative Performance Measurement Project. Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this national initiative collects, analyzes and publishes comparative service outcome data so states may better set goals and evaluate progress.

This initiative is guided by a steering committee consisting of state representatives, citizen representatives, and representatives from national organizations such as the National Governors Association, the National Association of State Budget Officers, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Government Finance Officers Association and the International City/County Managers Association.

The committee identified two service areas for initial data collection: transportation, focusing on roads and bridges; and human services, including child welfare, particularly foster care and adoption services, and public assistance, particularly food stamps (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, commonly known as TANF. Working groups for both service areas identified and defined key performance indicators for which data should be reported. The human services group consisted of representatives from state human services agencies, citizen representatives and members of state associations, such as the American Public Human Services Association.

For this initial pilot effort, the latest human services data available are reported in two separate reports: public assistance (food stamps and TANF), and child welfare (foster care and adoption). 

 Download: The State Comparative Performance Measurement Project - Public Assistance