Building Better Programs

Performance-Based Contracts in New York City: Lessons Learned from Welfare-to-Work

Since the TANF program changed the focus of the welfare system from mostly cash delivery to the more complex and demanding participation in work and work-related activities, New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) has used contracting out to expand employment service capacity and to restructure the service delivery system to be more flexible. This paper describes the use of payment milestones within these contracts, the effectiveness of these milestones, and significance of the changes in the structure of these contracts over several iterations from 1999 trough 2011. The paper presents four key lessons learned by HRA that will be helpful to the state and local governments in successfully designing, implementing, and managing their welfare-to-work contracts to achieve desired results.

Rockefeller Institute Brief – Performance-Based Contracts in New York City