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


Chapter 11 presented impacts on a circumscribed set of outcomes for children of all ages in the client survey sample (that is, all children in seven programs in four sites). This chapter examines in greater depth program impacts for a subset of these childrenВ  namely, "focal" children in the Atlanta, Grand Rapids, and Riverside sites who were aged 3 to 5 at baseline (aged 8 to 10 at the five-year follow-up).These young children and their families constitute the Child Outcomes Study (COS) sample (see Chapter 2 for details).(1)

Findings reported here should be viewed as extending those presented for "preschool-age children" in Chapter 11, which focused on problem outcomes for children in two developmental domains (academic functioning and health and safety).This chapter examines both problem and positive outcomes for young children, measured in three developmental domains (academic functioning, social skills and behavior, and health and safety). In addition, more numerous outcomes in each domain are examined and include information from mothers, teachers, and the children themselves, as well as from a standardized achievement test.

Because this chapter focuses on impacts for a subset of the children discussed in Chapter 11, it is important to begin with a brief overview of key adult impacts for this sample to set the stage for interpreting impacts on young children. Earlier chapters presented economic impacts for the full NEWWS sample (11 programs in seven sites); detailed information on economic impacts for the COS sample and for the client survey sample can be found in Appendix I. In sum, despite some differences in these samples,(2) the program impacts on economic functioning for COS families were similar to those for the larger samples. With the exception of a decrease in income resulting from the Riverside HCD program in the full sample (compared with a similar size, though non-statistically significant, increase in income in the COS sample), any differences in economic impacts were in the magnitude, rather than the direction, of a given impact. It should be kept in mind that, as discussed in Chapter 1, some control group members in the Atlanta and Grand Rapids sites became eligible for program services prior to the end of the five-year follow-up period. As a result, in these two sites impacts measured as of the end of the follow-up period are probably understated relative to what may have occurred if treatment differences had been maintained in those sites.

This chapter follows a discussion of analysis issues with an examination in depth of program impacts on focal children at the five-year point. (Key patterns of impacts by level of disadvantage and by focal child gender are noted in footnotes.)(3) In an effort to begin to understand the ways in which impacts on young children may have come about, the chapter "maps" impacts found for focal children onto the economic impacts found for their mothers. It concludes with a discussion of findings. (Table 12.1 summarizes impacts on focal child outcomes.)


Table 12.1
Summary of Impacts on Focal Child Outcomes
Social skills and behavior
(19 measures)
Atlanta Grand Rapids Riverside
6 F 5 F В  В  В  2 F 2 F
В  2 f В  В  В  2 f 1 f
В  В  2 U 6 U 3 U В  В 
1 u В  1 u 1 u 1 u В  В 

Academic functioning

Behavioral adjustment to school
(5 measures)
В  2 F В  В  1 F В  В 
1 f В  В  В  В  В  В 
В  В  1 U 2 U 1 U В  В 
(6 mesures)
В  В  1 F В  В  1 F В 
Academic progress and placement
(11 measures)
1 F 1 F В  В  1 F 1 F В 
В  В  В  В  В  В  1 f
В  В  В  В  1 U В  В 
1b В  В  В  1 u 1 u В 
(2 measures)
1 U 1 U В  В  В  В  1 U
1 u В  В  В  В  В  В 
Health and safety
(5 measures)
2 U 1 U 1 U В  В  В  1 U
В  1 u В  В  В  В  В 
Other (1 measure) В  В  В  В  В  В  В 
NOTES: "F" indicates a statistically significant favorable impact. "U" indicates a statistically significant unfavorable impact. "f" indicates a favorable impact above the cutoff for statistical significance but part of the overall pattern. "u" indicates an unfavorable impact above the cutoff for statistical significance but part of the overall pattern. See Chapter 2 for the definition of a pattern. Blank spaces indicate that there were no impacts.
a This sample is a subset of the full Riverside LFA sample, containing only those members who lacked a high school diploma or basic skills at random assignment.
b The Atlanta LFA program decreased the percentage of children identified by teachers as needing and receiving special services, which would be favorable if the program decreased the percentage of children needing services but unfavorable if the program decreased the percentage of children in need of services who received them.