Results from the Substance Abuse Case Management Program in New York City

Published: May 15, 2009
Self-Sufficiency, Welfare & Employment
Employment Retention and Advancement Project (ERA), 1998-2011 | Learn more about this project

This report presents implementation and one-and-one-half-year impact results for the Substance Abuse Case Management (SACM) intervention, a program funded by the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) and operated by its contracted vendor, University Behavioral Associates (UBA). SACM provided intensive care management services to public assistance recipients — primarily childless, single adults participating in the New York Safety Net program — who were identified at a welfare office as possibly having a substance abuse issue. SACM services included assessing the nature and severity of the substance abuse, making referrals to substance abuse treatment providers and (when appropriate) to welfare-to-work activities, and facilitating client engagement with all service providers. The goals of SACM were to increase client engagement in treatment and to improve the recovery and employability of participants. The evaluation followed a sample of public assistance applicants and recipients who were referred for a substance abuse assessment from June 2003 to June 2005.

SACM is one of 16 innovative models across the country that MDRC is evaluating as part of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Project under contract to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor for the evaluation of SACM, in which eligible individuals were assigned to one of two groups. Those assigned to the SACM group could receive intensive care management services from UBA. Those assigned to the usual care group received many of the same services provided by UBA but at less intensity and with less coordination. The report’s findings thus indicate whether SACM was more effective than HRA’s regular approach in providing substance abuse case management services.