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The National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS)



The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) undertook a study of the effectiveness of welfare-to-work programs. The NEWWS evaluation is a study of the effectiveness of eleven mandatory welfare-to-work programs in seven locales: Atlanta, Georgia; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Portland, Oregon; and Riverside, California. Program impacts were evaluated by comparing outcomes for a randomly assigned experimental group subject to program requirements with outcomes for control groups. As part of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), the effects of two approaches to preparing welfare recipients for employment were compared in three sites (Atlanta, Grand Rapids, and Riverside). In one approach, the human capital development approach, individuals were directed to avail themselves of education services and, to a lesser extent, occupational training before they sought work, under the theory that they would then be able to get better jobs and keep them longer. In the other approach, the labor force attachment approach, individuals were encouraged to gain quick entry into the labor market, even at low wages, under the theory that their work habits and skills would improve on the job and they would thereby be able to advance themselves. Data from all eleven sites is available.

The evaluation used a random assignment design to get reliable results. Sample members were followed for five years from the time they entered the study. Comprehensive data on economic outcomes, including information on quarterly Unemployment Insurance-reported earnings and monthly Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Food Stamp payments was collected.  A broad range of data was collected through surveys including data on educational attainment, family composition, housing status, wage progression, employment, child care, depression, and total family income.  In addition, effects on the well-being of the children of the mothers in the study was evaluated.  Four types of child outcomes were measured: cognitive development and academic achievement; safety and health; problem behavior and emotional well-being; and social development. Assessments in each of these areas will be compared across research groups two and five years after the mothers entered the survey sample.


Selected Publications

Impacts of a Mandatory Welfare-to-Work Program on Children at School Entry and Beyond: Findings from the NEWWS Child Outcomes Study.  By Sharon M. McGroder, Martha J. Zaslow, Kristin A. Moore, and Jennifer L. Brooks, Child Trends, October 2002.

Moving People from Welfare to Work:  Lessons from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies.  By Gayle Hamilton, MDRC.  July 2002.

How Effective Are Different Welfare-to-Work Approaches?  Five-Year Adult and Child Impacts for Eleven Programs.  By Gayle Hamilton, Stephen Freedman, Lisa Gennetian, Charles Michalopoulos, Johanna Walter, Diana Adams-Ciardullo, and Anna Gassman-Pines, MDRC, Sharon McGroder, Martha Zaslow, Surjeet Ahluwalia, Jennifer Brooks, Child Trends, with Electra Small and Bryan Ricchetti, MDRC.  December 2001.

Improving Basic Skills:  The Effects of Adult Education in Welfare-to-Work Programs.  By Johannes M. Bos, Susan Scrivener, Jason Snipes, and Gayle Hamilton, MDRC.  2001.

Evaluating Two Approaches to Case Management:  Implementation, Participation Patterns, Costs, and Three-Year Impacts of the Columbus Welfare-to-Work Program.  By Susan Scrivener and Johanna Walter with Thomas Brock and Gayle Hamilton.  June 2001.

Do Mandates Matter?  The Effects of a Mandate to Enter a Welfare-to-Work Program.  By Jean Tansey Knab, Johannes M. Bos, Daniel Friedlander, and Joanna W. Weissman, MDRC.  2001.

What Works Best for Whom:  Impacts of 20 Welfare-to-Work Programs by Subgroup.  Executive Summary.  By Charles Michalopoulos, Christine Schwartz with Diana Adams-Ciardullo.  2000.

The Experiences of Welfare Recipients Who Find Jobs.  By Karin Martinson, MDRC.  2000.

Four-Year Impacts of Ten Programs on Employment Stability and Earnings Growth.  By Stephen Freedman, MDRC.  2000.

Implementation, Participation Patterns, Costs, and Two-Year Impacts of the Detroit Welfare-to-Work Program.  By Mary Farrell with Gayle Hamilton, Christine Schwartz, and Laura Storto.  August 2000.

Oklahoma City's ET & E Program:  Two-Year Implementation, Participation, Cost, and Impact Findings.  By Laura Storto, Gayle Hamilton, Christine Schwartz, and Susan Scrivener.  August 2000.

Do Mandatory Welfare-to-Work Programs Affect the Well-Being of Children?  A Synthesis of Child Research Conducted as Part of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies.  By Gayle Hamilton with Stephen Freedman and Sharon McGroder.  June 2000.

Evaluating Alternative Welfare-to-Work Approaches:  Two-Year Impacts for Eleven Programs.  By Stephen Freedman, Daniel Friedlander, Gayle Hamilton, JoAnn Rock, Marisa Mitchell, Jodi Nudelman, Amanda Schweder, and Laura Storto.  2000.  [This link is to the Executive Summary.]

Impacts on Young Children and Their Families Two Years After Enrollment:  Findings from the Child Outcomes Study.  By Sharon McGroder, Martha Zaslow, Kristin Moore, and Suzanne LeMenestrel.  2000.  [Link is to the Summary Report.]

Implementation, Participation Patterns, Costs, and Two-Year Impacts of the Portland (Oregon) Welfare-to-Work Program.  By Susan Scrivener, Gayle Hamilton, Mary Farrell, Stephen Freedman, Daniel Friedlander, Marisa Mitchell, Jodi Nudelman, and Christine Schwartz.  1998.

Evaluating Two Welfare-to-Work Program Approaches:  Two-Year Findings on the Labor Force Attachment and Human Capital Development Programs in Three Sites.  By Gayle Hamilton, Thomas Brock, Mary Farrell, Daniel Friedlander, and Kristen Harknett.  1997.

Educating Welfare Recipients for Employment and Empowerment:  Case Studies of Promising Programs.  By Janet Quint.  1997.

Changing to a Work First Strategy:  Lessons from Los Angeles County's GAIN Program for Welfare Recipients.  By Evan Weissman.  1997.

Work First: How to Implement an Employment-Focused Approach to Welfare Reform.  By Amy Brown.  1997.

Monthly Participation Rates in Three Sites and Factors Affecting Participation Levels in Welfare-to-Work Programs.  By Gayle Hamilton.  1995.

How Well Are They Faring?  AFDC Families with Preschool-Aged Children in Atlanta at the Outset of the JOBS Evaluation.  By Kristin Moore, Martha Zaslow, Mary Jo Coiro, and Suzanne Miller, and Ellen Magenheim.  1995.

Early Findings on Program Impacts in Three Sites.  By Stephen Freedman and Daniel Friedlander.  1995.

Adult Education for People on AFDC:  A Synthesis of Research.  By Edward Pauly.  1995.

Five Years After:  The Long-Term Effects of Welfare-to-Work Programs.  By Daniel Friedlander and Gary Burtless.  1995.

Early Lessons from Seven Sites.  By Gayle Hamilton and Thomas Brock.  1994.

The Saturation Work Initiative Model in San Diego:  A Five-Year Follow-up Study.  By Daniel Friedlander and Gayle Hamilton.  1993.

From Welfare to Work.  By Judith Gueron and Edward Pauly.  1991.


Restricted Access and Public Use Data

ASPE and ACF are making the data from the NEWWS evaluation available to researchers. Data from both the two-year and five-year impact studies will be available in two formats:  restricted access and public use files. More information.


Obtaining Printed Copies of Reports

To obtain a printed copy of a report, mail or fax the title and your name and mailing address to:

Human Services Policy, Room 404E
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
200 Independence Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20201
Fax:  (202) 690-6562