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


  • In general, there were very few program impacts on child care at the time of the survey. This is perhaps not surprising, given that there was no child care component specific to the JOBS program and that the impacts of these programs on employment tended to decline by the end of the follow-up period.
  • Most programs increased mothers' use of child care after leaving welfare because of earnings across the full follow-up period. However, only three of seven programs increased use of transitional child care benefits over this period. Impacts on transitional benefits may be more limited owing to site variation in the take-up rate of this benefit.
  • Child care impacts for a recent period occurred only in the few programs with sustained employment impacts. Portland's program had an impact on child care use during a recent spell of employment. In addition, both of Riverside's programs changed time use "on a recent weekday," reducing time spent with the mother and increasing time with another adult. At the same time, in the Riverside LFA program, a smaller proportion of program group families than control group families used formal child care as their regular main arrangement.
  • There were no impacts on the extent of participation in what mothers described as regular child care arrangements for their children aged 8 to 10 at the time of the final follow-up. None of the programs affected total number of hours in child care, use of a regular arrangement, or use of multiple arrangements.
  • Self-care among children aged 8 to 10 generally did not increase when mothers had been assigned to a welfare-to-work program, and there were no program impacts on focal children's participation in an after-school activity or lesson. Although there were no impacts on self-care "in the past week," the proportion of control group children in self-care ranged from 9 percent in Riverside to 12 percent in Grand Rapids. For the subgroup of mothers with limited education, the Riverside LFA program increased the proportion of children who spent any time "on a recent weekday" unsupervised by adults The programs examined here did not increase (or decrease) children's exposure to potentially beneficial after-school activities and lessons.(4)