14. Results-Focused Contracting

Rhode Island

Since 2015, Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families has worked to reform and restructure the Department’s procurement process. As part of this initiative, the Department has required providers to meet outcome goals rather than output metrics across 116 results-driven contracts amounting to $90 million. As a result, the department has reduced the number of children in group care by more than 26% since 2015, expanded foster care resources for the most challenging adolescents by 55%, and doubled the capacity of high-quality family visitation and reunification services.

Also in 2015, the Department of Labor and Training launched Real Jobs Rhode Island, an innovative $14 million workforce program that used performance-based metrics and active contract management. As a result, the State reconfigured the way it manages and evaluates its job training programs to capture meaningful, long-term employment outcomes. It also created a Strategic Coaching Procurement Playbook, which includes specific strategies and sample language for using active contract management to achieve better results. 

Rhode Island Works, administered by the Department of Human Services, also used performance payments and active contract management to improve its job search services, which ranked at the bottom nationally on the federal measure of work participation rate in 2015. To improve the program, the department partnered with the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab to incorporate performance-based payments for self-sufficiency outcomes and deploy active contract management. As a result, the federal participation rate improved by one-third within the first six months after these reforms were launched.

Issue Areas: Child Welfare, Workforce