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RESEARCH, EVALUATIONS, AND NATIONAL STUDIES

Sec413[42 U.S.C. 613] (a) Research.—The Secretary, directly or through grants, contracts, or interagency agreements, shall conduct research on the benefits, effects, and costs of operating different State programs funded under this part, including time limits relating to eligibility for assistance. The research shall include studies on the effects of different programs and the operation of such programs on welfare dependency, illegitimacy, teen pregnancy, employment rates, child well-being, and any other area the Secretary deems appropriate. The Secretary shall also conduct research on the costs and benefits of State activities under section 407.

(b) Development and Evaluation of Innovative Approaches To Reducing Welfare Dependency and Increasing Child Well-Being.—

(1) In general.—The Secretary may assist States in developing, and shall evaluate, innovative approaches for reducing welfare dependency and increasing the well-being of minor children living at home with respect to recipients of assistance under programs funded under this part. The Secretary may provide funds for training and technical assistance to carry out the approaches developed pursuant to this paragraph.

(2) Evaluations.—In performing the evaluations under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent feasible, use random assignment as an evaluation methodology.

(c) Dissemination of Information.—The Secretary shall develop innovative methods of disseminating information on any research, evaluations, and studies conducted under this section, including the facilitation of the sharing of information and best practices among States and localities through the use of computers and other technologies.

(d) Annual Ranking of States and Review of Most and Least Successful Work Programs.—

(1) Annual ranking of states.—The Secretary shall rank annually the States to which grants are paid under section 403 in the order of their success in placing recipients of assistance under the State program funded under this part into long-term private sector jobs, reducing the overall welfare caseload, and, when a practicable method for calculating this information becomes available, diverting individuals from formally applying to the State program and receiving assistance. In ranking States under this subsection, the Secretary shall take into account the average number of minor children living at home in families in the State that have incomes below the poverty line and the amount of funding provided each State for such families.

(2) Annual review of most and least successful work programs.—The Secretary shall review the programs of the 3 States most recently ranked highest under paragraph (1) and the 3 States most recently ranked lowest under paragraph (1) that provide parents with work experience, assistance in finding employment, and other work preparation activities and support services to enable the families of such parents to leave the program and become self-sufficient.

(e) Annual Ranking of States and Review of Issues Relating to Out-of-Wedlock Births.—

(1) In general.—The Secretary shall annually rank States to which grants are made under section 403 based on the following ranking factors:

(A) Absolute out-of-wedlock ratios.—The ratio represented by—

(i) the total number of out-of-wedlock births in families receiving assistance under the State program under this part in the State for the most recent year for which information is available; over

(ii) the total number of births in families receiving assistance under the State program under this part in the State for the year.

(B) Net changes in the out-of-wedlock ratio.—The difference between the ratio described in subparagraph (A) with respect to a State for the most recent year for which such information is available and the ratio with respect to the State for the immediately preceding year.

(2) Annual review.—The Secretary shall review the programs of the 5 States most recently ranked highest under paragraph (1) and the 5 States most recently ranked the lowest under paragraph (1).

(f) State-Initiated Evaluations.—A State shall be eligible to receive funding to evaluate the State program funded under this part if—

(1) the State submits a proposal to the Secretary for the evaluation;

(2) the Secretary determines that the design and approach of the evaluation is rigorous and is likely to yield information that is credible and will be useful to other States; and

(3) unless otherwise waived by the Secretary, the State contributes to the cost of the evaluation, from non-Federal sources, an amount equal to at least 10 percent of the cost of the evaluation.

(g) Report on Circumstances of Certain Children and Families.—

(1) In general.—Beginning 3 years after the date of the enactment of this section[68], the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall prepare and submit to the Committees on Ways and Means and on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives and to the Committees on Finance and on Labor and Resources of the Senate annual reports that examine in detail the matters described in paragraph (2) with respect to each of the following groups for the period after such enactment:

(A) Individuals who were children in families that have become ineligible for assistance under a State program funded under this part by reason of having reached a time limit on the provision of such assistance.

(B) Children born after such date of enactment to parents who, at the time of such birth, had not attained 20 years of age.

(C) Individuals who, after such date of enactment, became parents before attaining 20 years of age.

(2) Matters described.—The matters described in this paragraph are the following:

(A) The percentage of each group that has dropped out of secondary school (or the equivalent), and the percentage of each group at each level of educational attainment.

(B) The percentage of each group that is employed.

(C) The percentage of each group that has been convicted of a crime or has been adjudicated as a delinquent.

(D) The rate at which the members of each group are born, or have children, out-of-wedlock, and the percentage of each group that is married.

(E) The percentage of each group that continues to participate in State programs funded under this part.

(F) The percentage of each group that has health insurance provided by a private entity (broken down by whether the insurance is provided through an employer or otherwise), the percentage that has health insurance provided by an agency of government, and the percentage that does not have health insurance.

(G) The average income of the families of the members of each group.

(H) Such other matters as the Secretary deems appropriate.

(h) Funding of Studies and Demonstrations.—

(1) In general.—Out of any money in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, there are appropriated $15,000,000 for fiscal year 2012[69] for the purpose for paying—

(A) the cost of conducting the research described in subsection (a);

(B) the cost of developing and evaluating innovative approaches for reducing welfare dependency and increasing the well-being of minor children under subsection (b);

(C) the Federal share of any State-initiated study approved under subsection (f); and

(D) an amount determined by the Secretary to be necessary to operate and evaluate demonstration projects, relating to this part, that are in effect or approved under section 1115 as of August 22, 1996, and are continued after such date.

(2) Allocation.—Of the amount appropriated under paragraph (1) for a fiscal year—

(A) 50 percent shall be allocated for the purposes described in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of paragraph (1), and

(B) 50 percent shall be allocated for the purposes described in subparagraphs (C) and (D) of paragraph (1).

(3) Demonstrations of innovative strategies.—The Secretary may implement and evaluate demonstrations of innovative and promising strategies which—

(A) provide one-time capital funds to establish, expand, or replicate programs;

(B) test performance-based grant-to-loan financing in which programs meeting performance targets receive grants while programs not meeting such targets repay funding on a prorated basis; and

(C) test strategies in multiple States and types of communities.

(i) Child Poverty Rates.—

(1) In general.—Not later than May 31, 1998, and annually thereafter, the chief executive officer of each State shall submit to the Secretary a statement of the child poverty rate in the State as of such date of enactment or the date of the most recent prior statement under this paragraph.

(2) Submission of corrective action plan.—Not later than 90 days after the date a State submits a statement under paragraph (1) which indicates that, as a result of the amendments made by section 103 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996[70], the child poverty rate of the State has increased by 5 percent or more since the most recent prior statement under paragraph (1), the State shall prepare and submit to the Secretary a corrective action plan in accordance with paragraph (3).

(3) Contents of plan.—A corrective action plan submitted under paragraph (2) shall outline the manner in which the State will reduce the child poverty rate in the State. The plan shall include a description of the actions to be taken by the State under such plan.

(4) Compliance with plan.—A State that submits a corrective action plan that the Secretary has found contains the information required by this subsection shall implement the corrective action plan until the State determines that the child poverty rate in the State is less than the lowest child poverty rate on the basis of which the State was required to submit the corrective action plan.

(5) Methodology.—The Secretary shall prescribe regulations establishing the methodology by which a State shall determine the child poverty rate in the State. The methodology shall take into account factors including the number of children who receive free or reduced-price lunches, the number of supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits households, and, to the extent available, county-by-county estimates of children in poverty as determined by the Census Bureau.

(j) Evaluation of Welfare-to-work Programs.—

(1) Evaluation.—The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development—

(A) shall develop a plan to evaluate how grants made under sections 403(a)(5) and 412(a)(3) have been used;

(B) may evaluate the use of such grants by such grantees as the Secretary deems appropriate, in accordance with an agreement entered into with the grantees after good-faith negotiations; and

(C) is urged to include the following outcome measures in the plan developed under subparagraph (A):

(i) Placements in unsubsidized employment, and placements in unsubsidized employment that last for at least 6 months.

(ii) Placements in the private and public sectors.

(iii) Earnings of individuals who obtain employment.

(iv) Average expenditures per placement.

(2) Reports to the congress.—

(A) In general.—Subject to subparagraphs (B) and (C), the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, shall submit to the Congress reports on the projects funded under section 403(a)(5) and 412(a)(3) and on the evaluations of the projects.

(B) Interim report.—Not later than January 1, 1999, the Secretary shall submit an interim report on the matter described in subparagraph (A).

(C) Final report.—Not later than January 1, 2001, (or at a later date, if the Secretary informs the Committees of the Congress with jurisdiction over the subject matter of the report) the Secretary shall submit a final report on the matter described in subparagraph (A).


[68]  The date of enactment of this section was August 22, 1996.

[69]  P.L. 112-96, §4002(e), struck out “each of fiscal years 1997 through 2002” and inserted “fiscal year 2012”, effective February 22, 2012.

[70]  P.L. 104-193; 110 Stat. 2105.