Pay For Success Watch: Salt Lake County Identifies Possible Pay For Success Areas

The Salt Lake County Council has authorized Mayor Ben McAdams to move forward with three new possible Pay For Success (PFS) Projects.

This month, the county announced the issues have been narrowed to:

  • Maternal/child health
  • The criminal justice system
  • Homelessness

The County released a Request for Information towards the end of 2014 to obtain information from the community in regards to the most pressing social issues locals experience. The results are based on the submitted proposals, coupled with guidance from experts in the field.

With the help of a former McAdams advisor, Jeremy Keele, program models will be developed in each area. Keele is now executive director of a policy innovation laboratory in the James Lee Sorenson Global Impact Investing Center at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business.

Keele will be working in the next year to raise upfront capital from private investors, and working with county agencies and local provider organizations to design outcome-based programs. He estimates that new pay for success projects could be up and running by spring of 2016 if all goes smoothly.

The county launched its first PFS project in 2011 to expand early education opportunities for 600 low income children and families. The Utah High Quality Preschool Program serves three- and four-year-olds with a targeted curriculum that increases school readiness and academic performance.

If successful, the program will save the county money by reducing remedial and special education services for program participants.

Judith Fenlon is the editor of the money and business section of The Imprint.

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