South Carolina Family Independence Program Process Evaluation: Overall Findings, Context, and Methods.Report as inadecuate

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The Family Independence (FI) program transformed South Carolina's welfare program into a transitional assistance program emphasizing engagement in socially responsible behavior and participation in employment and employment-related activities. It helps families become economically independent through reform of: employment and training, welfare time limits and financial eligibility, parental responsibility, and child support enforcement. This study evaluated the FI program, addressing specific policies and provisions. It looked carefully at: the requirement for participation in substance abuse treatment, the delivery of relocation assistance services, and the implementation of three processes (conciliation and sanction procedures, education provided about transitional benefits, and the effect of limited or broad availability of programs and services on customer outcomes). Data were collected at the state, county, and individual levels through interviews, site visits, and focus groups. Overall, many FI customers were working. The program changed in philosophy toward a more holistic, family-centered approach. It had limited success incorporating substance abuse screening and treatment. Case managers needed training in several areas. Relocation assistance was not well-promoted or understood. Counties were moving toward being more lenient about imposing conciliation and sanctions. Child care and transportation were welfare recipients' two main unmet needs. Site profiles are appended. (Contains 10 references.) (SM)

Descriptors: Family Programs, Substance Abuse, Welfare Recipients, Welfare Services

Urban Institute, 2100 M Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 202-833-7200; Fax: 202-429-0687; E-mail: paffairs[at]; Web site:

Author: Pindus, Nancy; Koralek, Robin


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