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

12/01/2001

  • Over five years, program group members in all programs spent less time on welfare and received smaller welfare payments on average than control group members. Welfare savings were larger and more persistent than earnings gains: Few programs continued to affect employment and earnings in year 5, but most programs continued to generate welfare savings at the end of year 5.
  • Welfare savings were generally larger for programs that had larger effects on earnings, but they varied for other reasons as well. Total payments were reduced more in higher-grant sites such as Riverside, Portland, and Grand Rapids and less in low-grant sites such as Atlanta. Benefits were reduced more in sites such as Columbus and Grand Rapids that strictly enforced mandates than in sites such as Detroit that did not.
  • Direct comparisons between the LFA and HCD programs showed that LFA programs generally resulted in lower welfare use and expenditures. However, reductions were found for only some programs: Atlanta and Grand Rapids LFA for nongraduates and Grand Rapids LFA for graduates.
  • The programs had similar effects for high school graduates and nongraduates. Most programs produced welfare savings for both groups, and there was little evidence that the effects were larger for one group than the other: In five programs welfare savings were larger for high school graduates and in five programs welfare savings were larger for nongraduates.
  • Over five years, program group members in all programs spent less time on Food Stamps and received smaller Food Stamp payments on average than control group members. Effects were generally smaller for Food Stamps than for welfare payments, however, because some program group members appropriately continued to receive Food Stamps after they left welfare.