Better Programs, Better Results
Making budget choices based on credible evidence that programs will generate a positive return on taxpayer investment is a key first step for policy makers seeking to improve government performance, but it is just as important to make certain that funded programs are implemented as designed. Strong quality assurance and outcome reporting systems can help ensure that programs achieve expected outcomes.
This issue brief serves as an instructive case study on the importance of quality assurance monitoring in juvenile justice programs in Washington state, which has led the way in using cutting-edge cost-benefit analysis to guide its budget and policy choices. Quality assurance has played a key role in helping the state save money and reduce by more than half the number of youth committed to state institutions while at the same time achieving a greater reduction in crime rates and juvenile arrest rates than the national average.