Do Mandatory Welfare-to-Work Programs Affect the Well-Being of Children?. Clustering of Impacts by Program

06/01/2000

  • For the young children in the COS sample, impacts were somewhat clustered (that is, concentrated) in the Atlanta LFA program.

For focal children of mothers subject to this program, there was a decrease in the proportion of children scoring at the low end on the Behavior Problems Index (BPI) — the one unfavorable impact of the Atlanta LFA program. All other impacts for this program were favorable: There was a decrease in the average frequency of BPI externalizing behavior or emotional problems and an increase in the proportion of children scoring at the high end on the Positive Behavior Scale. In addition, there was an increase in the average Bracken School Readiness Composite test score, a decrease in the proportion of children scoring at the low end Table 7 of the test, and an increase in the proportion scoring at the high end. (See Table 4 and Table 7.) In contrast, other programs had two child impacts at most: In both Riverside programs, mothers' average rating of the general health of their focal child decreased slightly, and a smaller proportion of children were reported by their mother to be in very good or excellent health.

 

Table 7: For focal children in the child outcomes study sample: number of impacts on child outcomes

 

  • For school-age children across all evaluation sites, impacts were not clustered in particular programs.

As noted earlier, seven child outcomes were measured for children in this age group. At most, impacts were found on three of the outcomes in any given site: The Riverside LFA program increased the proportion of parents reporting that a child had been suspended from school during the previous two years or that a child was attending a special class for behavioral or emotional problems and decreased the proportion of parents reporting that a child had repeated a grade in the past two years. (See Table 6.) Thus, impacts for this program were both unfavorable and favorable.