Employment outcomes among AFDC recipients treated for substance abuse in Washington State

Authors: Wong, K. K., Chiu, L. P., Tang, S. W., Kan, H. K., Kong, C. L., Chu, H. W., & Chiu, S. N.
Year Published 2000
Publication Milbank Quarterly
Volume 78
Number 4
Pages 585-608
Publisher The Milbank Memorial Fund

The scope of substance abuse problems within the welfare population is unclear. The prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse appears to vary among welfare populations. Studies are inconsistent in regards to the impact substance abuse treatment has on employment outcomes.


The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects of substance abuse treatment on employment outcomes among AFDC recipients admitted to treatment in Washington State during a two-year period beginning July 1994.


The setting included state supported substance treatment facilities.


The study sample was made up of 5,038 AFDC clients.

Data Collection

Three state computer databases provided data for analysis. The client treatment database provided information on client characteristics and treatment activities. Computer records from the Employment Security Department provided employment data and earning information. The Economic Services Administration of the Department of Social and Health Services provided welfare payment data.


The comparison was no treatment for substance abuse.


The study showed that substance abuse treatment was associated with increased employment and earnings. Relative to the comparison groups, AFDC clients in the treatment groups were more likely to become employed following treatment.


Treatment appeared to enhance employment and earnings among AFDC clients, the level of earnings achieved remained modest with 42% of clients having no earned income in the two-year follow up period and an additional 14% having less than $1000 of earned income. This may indicate that the goals of employment and self-sufficiency underpinning TANF may be achievable for only a small minority of welfare recipients with addiction and substance abuse problems, unless ancillary vocational services are provided along with treatment.

URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2751174/
Populations Male & Female
Outcomes Employment acquisition | Wages
Research Design Observational, Quasi-experimental
Peer Reviewed Yes