How Effective Are Different Welfare-to-Work Approaches? Five-Year Adult and Child Impacts for Eleven Programs. Impacts on Income and Self-Sufficiency


This chapter considers whether employment- and education-focused programs helped program group members reach a higher level of self-sufficiency and economic security than control group members. First, the chapter analyzes whether programs led to impacts in combined income over five years from earnings (net of payroll taxes), Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), welfare, and Food Stamps. Next, the chapter considers whether program group members were more likely to leave welfare for employment than control group members. Impacts on these measures were calculated with administrative data. Finally, the chapter looks at program effects on receipt of income from earnings and other sources by sample members and other members of their household at the end of year 5, based on responses to the Five-Year Client Survey.

Promoting self-sufficiency is an important goal for welfare-to-work programs, particularly in the current welfare environment. Programs that increase employment and raise income reduce the likelihood that families will return to welfare and/or experience long-term joblessness and hardshipВ  a possibility under time-limited welfare if families exhaust their eligibility for assistance.

The findings in this chapter may also foreshadow results on other outcomes for families and children discussed in Chapters 9 through 12. Recent research has indicated that programs that increase employment and raise income are likely to benefit children, whereas programs that increase employment without increasing income typically do not. Moreover, programs that increased income resulted in less stress for parents and less domestic violence.(1)