The Need To Improve the Administrative Efficiency of the AFDC Program in Contra Costa County, California

HRD-78-159: Published: Sep 5, 1978. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 1978.

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The administrative efficiency of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in Contra Costa County, California, was analyzed to determine the potential for improving program administration by identifying deficiencies affectinq both the overall productivity of eligibility workers and the level of service provided to clients. Since fiscal year 1973, costs associated with administering the AFDC program have risen significantly, and California has experienced administrative cost increases similar to the national trend. In Contra Costa County, an inappropriate basis for determining staffing needs as well as organizational and intake system design problems have resulted in the inefficient utilization of staff and a reduced level of client service. These inefficiencies have resulted in an estimated excess annual administrative cost of about $1.14 million, almost 18 percent of the county's fiscal year 1978 budgeted expenditures for AFDC income maintenance and non-social-service activities. Comparative data on other California counties indicate that these inefficiencies in program administration can be eliminated without increasing the AFDC payment error rate. The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare should: assist California and its counties to make operational analyses of AFDC program administration, establish a mechanism for collecting and evaluating administrative performance data, increase the level of technical assistance to the States with respect to administrative operations, require the States to develop appropriate analytical tools, establish a reasonable statewide staffing standard, and limit Federal reimbursement for administrative costs to each State based on that staffing standard.

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