Presentation on theme: "Making the Case: Marshaling Evidence for Persuasive Advocacy Presentation for the National Assembly of Health and Human Service Organizations September."— Presentation transcript:
Making the Case: Marshaling Evidence for Persuasive Advocacy Presentation for the National Assembly of Health and Human Service Organizations September 9, 2004
To Persuade Policy Makers, demonstrate one or more: The service is effective in meeting need. There is unmet need. There is a cost for failing to provide the service: People and/or communities are hurt; Officials get publicly embarrassed and/or lose support.
The Service Meets a Need – aka, it Works “Self-evident” usefulness: Food and nutrition providers (emergency food, Food Stamps, WIC, school meals, etc.): because preventing hunger and poor nutrition is a generally shared goal, just showing who and how many the program serves (children, families, working people, elderly) is persuasive. Know the unit costs! Other example: child care so parents can work
First and Second Lines of Evidence Example: WIC 1. Provides nutrition supplements to 7.8 million low- income infants, young children, and pregnant women. (Needy: below 185% of FPL, certified at nutritional risk.) 2. Good health outcomes: more prenatal care, reduces low birthweight, fetal mortality, anemia. Does not lead to overweight children. 3. Cost effective: for every $1 spent, $1.77 - $3.13 in Medicaid savings.
Not So Self-Evident Example: Job Training Not enough to show how many low-income people get job training. Need to show how many get jobs as a result of the program. Helpful to show earnings and job retention, advancement. CA Community College training for women receiving TANF: before enrollment, median annual earnings of $4,000-$6,000. Afterwards, $16,000-$20,000.
More Persuasive Job Training Evidence Project QUEST, San Antonio, TX: Links with business – good hiring record, employer satisfaction. Wages – $10/hour after 17 months of training. Access to supports – child care, transportation, housing.
Other Examples of Tougher “Sells” Rent vouchers: not enough to say they help low- income families maintain rents at 30% of income. Cite evidence that children in subsidized housing do better in school; that welfare-to-work programs succeed best for families in subsidized housing. Youth programs: not enough to say how many served. Do they help youths stay in school? Get a better job later? Stay out of trouble?
Gold Standards in Outcome Measures; Okay Alternatives Random Assignment: comparable program group and control group (see MDRC evaluations, http://www.mdrc.org). But if no controls, still cite good outcomes like job placements, earnings, and benefits. http://www.mdrc.org Cost Effectiveness: see WIC example. But even without specific cost/benefit ratios, can cite good outcomes like more prenatal care, and contrast with high cost of caring for preemies.
The Importance of Unit Costs Section 8 Housing Vouchers: President’s FY05 budget proposed cut of more than $1b from previous year’s level of $14.23b. So? If cut made by eliminating vouchers: 250,000 families would lose vouchers (out of 2.1m families). If cut made by raising rents, each family would pay $800 more in FY05. -Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Unmet Need How many eligible people/families do not receive the service? Waiting lists? (child care, housing authorities) Use Census data (decennial Census, American Community Survey, Current Population Survey) for state and sub-state breakdowns: poor and near- poor, uninsured, families with children under 6, education levels of parents, single moms, use of public benefits, etc.
Using the Evidence Effectively Tell Policy Makers: Create brief, clearly-worded fact sheets that make the case for your program by describing What it does, who it helps, and how they and the broader community benefit; How many are served, and how many more need the service; How the number served or the quality of the service would change under budget/appropriations proposals – translate dollars into human needs! What level of funding or program rules are needed
Deliver the Message Use your strengths! Create a network of agencies in states with spokespeople who meet with members of Congress and their staffs at home and in DC Work with others who can amplify your message: national and local business, religious leaders, etc. Don’t forget the Coalition on Human Needs and other coalitions!
Effective Messengers You! Local agency heads Your agency’s direct service providers Other community service providers (physicians, teachers, police, who cope with unmet need or see the good your program does) People who use or want to use the service Community leaders (business, religious, etc.) who understand the need for the service
Make Your Case to the Public Use your networks to talk to the press: Meet with editorial boards Connect reporters to your messengers to demonstrate the need for your program and the impact of proposals Recruit letters-to-the-editor writers who write their own letters in response to articles, opinion pieces
See the Big Picture Tax and budget cuts threaten your program and many others – be part of coalitions that educate about such choices and oppose inequitable and excessive tax and budget cuts. Join the Opportunity for All Campaign: Coalition on Human Needs, www.chn.org