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To build a better understanding of the role that faith community liaisons (FCLs) play in the implementation of Charitable Choice within states and localities, the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in 2007 funded a study titled, “The Role of State Faith Community Liaisons in Charitable Choice Implementation.” The study focused in particular on FCLs efforts to promote the states implementation of Charitable Choice policies and regulations that govern how states and localities contract with faith-based organizations (FBOs), and to expand public partnerships with FBOs.

More specifically, the study aimed to:
1. Assess the current status of the FCLs 2. Learn about the FCLs policies and practices for fulfilling their roles 3. Gauge FCLs effectiveness in expanding FBO-government partnerships and facilitating key stakeholders accurate understanding of Charitable Choice, and 4. Assess how the FCLs status and practices appear to be linked to their relative effectiveness.

The study was conducted by Mathematica Policy Research (MPR), with the assistance of subcontractors Dr. Stanley Carlson-Thies of the Center for Public Justice (CPJ) and Dr. Amy Sherman of the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research. Dr. Rebecca Sager of Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles) served as a study consultant, providing data on FCLs and related initiatives. The study focused on DHHS-funded programs covered by Charitable Choice, as well as other social service programs covered by similar “equal treatment” provisions. In carrying out this research, MPR built on its own prior work for ASPE (Jacobson, Marsh and Winston, 2005), research conducted by others, and new data gathered and analyzed by the study team. (Author abstract)