Community Development Innovation Review

April 2013

Making Performance-Based Contracting Work for Kids and Families


Done right, performance-based contracting (PBC) offers a win-win-win to government, providers, and, most importantly, the people being served. Government spends funds more effectively, higher-quality providers thrive, and recipients get better services. Take Tennessee’s experience introducing PBC to its child welfare system. Significantly more children are exiting care to stable homes, providers deliver better outcomes and receive incentive payments to reinvest in strengthening their work, and the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) has kept its budget steady and is getting more bang for its buck. The idea of paying for performance is not new. In child welfare—the field in which our organization, Youth Villages, works—a 2009 study identified fourteen states with performance-based contracts for at least one service. But PBC is far from ubiquitous, and its implementation is inconsistent.

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Other articles in this issue

Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Banks as Pioneer Investors in Pay for Success Financing

The Real Revolution of Pay for Success: Ending 40 Years of Stagnant Results for Communities

Pay for Success is Not a Panacea

The Promise of Pay for Success

Social Impact Bonds: Lessons Learned So Far

Pay for Success: Understanding the Risk Trade-offs

The Ethics of Pay for Success

Learning from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit: Building a New Social Investment Model

Using Social Impact Bonds to Spur Innovation, Knowledge Building, and Accountability

Social Impact Bonds: Using Impact Investment to Expand Effective Social Programs

Innovation Needs Foundation Support: The Case of Social Impact Bonds

Pay for Success: Opportunities and Risks for Nonprofits

Success Begins with a Feasibility Study

Government’s Role in Pay for Success

Rikers Island: The First Social Impact Bond in the United States

Human Capital Performance Bonds

Pay for Success: Building On 25 Years of Experience with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit

Can Pay for Success Reduce Asthma Emergencies and Reset a Broken Health Care System?

Supporting At-Risk Youth: A Provider’s Perspective on Pay for Success

Tax Increment Finance: A Success-Driven Tool for Catalyzing Economic Development and Social Transformation

Bringing Success to Scale: Pay for Success and Housing Homeless Individuals in Massachusetts