Pay For Success

Pay for Success contracting offers governments a leadership tool to overcome three common barriers – lack of performance assessment, under-investment in prevention, and inability to collaborate effectively with service providers around improving systems. Most importantly, it is a way of binding government agencies and providers together in a multi-year data-driven effort to improve service delivery and thereby make progress on a difficult social problem.

Pay for Success contracting (PFS) using social impact bonds uses performance contracts combined with operating loans to allow governments to pay based on the outcomes achieved by a service rather than on the quantity of services--  e.g., paying for the number of ex-offenders prevented from returning to prison, the number of unemployed individuals who succeed in finding stable employment, or the reduction in low birthweight births rather than the number of individuals treated.  

The Government Performance Lab supported the design and launch of the first two state-level PFS projects and has provided technical assistance on nine launched PFS projects in the U.S.

Connecticut Family Stability Pay for Success

In 2013, over 50 percent of the 36,000 cases investigated by Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) had an indication of parental substance use. DCF hoped to support these recovering parents by matching them to recovery and support services while limiting removals of their children, so the agency worked with the GPL to launch the Family Stability Pay for Success project. This project identified a crucial gap in services for families with children aged 3-6 and expanded these services to support 500 additional families in need. The GPL also worked with DCF to...

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Denver Permanent Supportive Housing Pay for Success

Denver sought to provide individuals experiencing homelessness with permanent alternatives to costly emergency services such as hospitals and shelters. As part of the Permanent Supportive Housing Pay for Success initiative, the GPL helped Denver identify the most costly chronically homeless individuals who were also involved with the criminal justice system as candidates for supportive housing. With its project partners, the City is building 160 new units and using 90 existing units to house these individuals and testing the results with a five-year randomized control trial....

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Massachusetts Pathways to Economic Advancement Pay for Success

While Massachusetts has some of the highest educational performance in the country, the state continues to face challenges in supporting the employment and career success of English language learners and those who have not achieved high school credentials. With pro bono technical assistance from the GPL, Massachusetts launched a project to provide vocationally-oriented adult basic education and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services to approximately 2,000 adults over the course of three years. The program is expected to improve earnings and education outcomes...

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Massachusetts Permanent Supportive Housing Pay for Success

In 2012, Massachusetts was home to 1,200 chronically homeless individuals, who were among the highest utilizers of expensive emergency services such as shelter, hospital, and jail beds. To better serve this population, the Massachusetts Supportive Housing Pay for Success project aimed to shift spending on homelessness away from temporary shelters towards permanent supportive housing. The GPL worked with project partners to remove funding barriers, allowing for the establishment of 500 housing units across the state and greater access to wraparound,...

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Michigan Strong Beginnings Pay for Success

Michigan sought to expand prenatal and postpartum support in order to reduce the likelihood of negative health outcomes for new mothers and their children. With pro bono technical assistance from the GPL, Kent County is expanding comprehensive nurse home visiting services to every Medicaid-eligible, first-time mother to provide prenatal care, breastfeeding support, parenting and life skills-building, and additional services as needed. Assessed by a rigorous evaluation, the program is helping to reduce preterm births and rapid repeat pregnancies for new moms.  

South Carolina Nurse Family Partnership Pay for Success

Striving to lower rates of preterm births and child injuries, the South Carolina Nurse-Family Partnership aims to give new moms the care they need to have healthy pregnancies and babies. The GPL worked with South Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) to provide nurse home visiting services to 4,000 low-income, first-time mothers from the second trimester of their pregnancy until their child’s second birthday. The model incentivizes NFP to focus on enrolling mothers from low-income zip codes, reducing child injuries and pre-term births, and increasing healthy birth...

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California Criminal Justice Pay for Success Grant Competition

In 2014, California passed a bill authorizing the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) to grant $5 million dollars to up to three counties to launch outcomes-driven recidivism reduction projects. With pro-bono technical assistance from the GPL, BSCC designed and implemented a competitive process to select county projects that would reduce recidivism while shaping a new model for how local governments deliver programming - focusing on tracking and using data effectively, reducing traditional siloes within...

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Massachusetts Shelter Contract Performance Improvement

Massachusetts’ family shelter system has struggled to meet its mandate of quickly re-housing homeless families, with over 40% of families staying in shelter longer than one year. To improve outcomes for this population, the GPL helped Massachusetts better understand the state of the current shelter system by analyzing contract spending and interviewing stakeholders, including shelters providers and families who have used the system, and helped release a Request for...

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Rhode Island Permanent Supportive Housing Pay for Success

In 2017, Rhode Island was home to approximately 240 chronically homeless individuals, who were among the highest utilizers of expensive emergency services such as shelter, hospital, and jail beds. In an effort to better serve this population, the GPL is assisting multiple Rhode Island agencies in an effort to build a Pay for Success (PFS) permanent supportive housing project that will connect housing resources with critical wraparound support services. This project will target individuals who have experienced a pattern of homelessness and interactions with the criminal justice system...

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