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

12/01/2001

1. Effects on Mothers' Economic Outcomes

Impacts for survey sample respondents with young school-age children are similar to impacts noted for the client survey sample. As mentioned above for preschool-age children, young school-age children may also benefit from or be harmed by mothers' employment. Because most of the children in this age group are likely to be in school for a large portion of the day, the effects of mothers' employment depend on the quality of child care or other arrangements for supervision during off-school hours

2. Effects on Child Outcomes

Table 11.5 shows outcomes and impacts for children of young school-age at study entry (aged 11 to 14 at the five-year follow-up). Approximately 4 to 13 percent of children in the control group repeated a grade during the last three years of follow-up and 17 to 25 percent were ever suspended or expelled. Dropout rates were negligible (at about 1 percent). National figures show that 3.3 percent of 4th to 8th graders (as mentioned) and 2.4 percent of 9th to 12th graders were retained in grade in 1995.(24) Even though the age groups are not directly comparable it suggests that NEWWS sample rates of grade retention for this age group are higher than national rates. Rates of suspensions or expulsions, on the other hand, seem comparable to state figures. According to 1999 data from the National Survey of America's Families, 24.5 percent of children aged 12 to17 in families below 200 percent of poverty in California and 23.2 percent in Michigan were suspended or expelled.

 

Table 11.5
Impacts on Child Outcomes During Years 3 to 5 for Young School-Age Children at Random Assignment (Aged 11 to 14 at the Five-Year Follow-Up)

Site and Program

Sample Size Program Group (%) Control Group (%) Difference (Impact) Effect Size

Ever repeated a grade

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 652 11.3 13.3 -2.0 -0.06
Atlanta Human Capital Development 697 9.7 13.3 -3.6 -0.10
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 524 14.4 9.9 4.4 0.14
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 513 12.6 9.9 2.7 0.09
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 758 7.6 6.0 1.5 0.06
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 427 8.3 5.0 3.3 0.16
Riverside Human Capital Development 490 7.2 5.0 2.3 0.11
Portland 265 4.9 4.4 0.5 0.03

Ever suspended or expelled

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 653 25.0 25.0 0.1 0.00
Atlanta Human Capital Development 694 26.0 25.0 1.1 0.02
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 517 25.7 18.7 7.0* 0.18
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 503 16.7 18.7 -1.9 -0.05
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 753 13.9 19.5 -5.6** -0.14
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 422 11.7 19.6 -7.9** -0.19
Riverside Human Capital Development 484 11.2 19.6 -8.4*** -0.21
Portland 262 24.6 17.1 7.5 0.20

Ever dropped out of schoola

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00
Atlanta Human Capital Development 0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.00
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 525 0.4 1.1 -0.7 -0.08
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 512 0.0 1.1 -1.2 -0.14
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 760 0.7 1.5 -0.8 -0.06
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 427 1.3 1.1 0.2 0.02
Riverside Human Capital Development 490 0.6 1.1 -0.5 -0.05
Portland 267 0.8 0.0 0.9 0.00

Attended a special class for physical, emotional, or mental conditionb

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 654 7.9 9.1 -1.2 -0.04
Atlanta Human Capital Development 699 6.4 9.1 -2.6 -0.09
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 522 23.1 25.8 -2.7 -0.06
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 507 19.6 25.8 -6.2 -0.14
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 755 13.2 13.5 -0.3 -0.01
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 423 12.6 14.3 -1.8 -0.05
Riverside Human Capital Development 486 14.2 14.3 -0.2 -0.01
Portland 264 24.1 14.4 9.7 0.27

Had a physical, emotional, or mental condition that impeded on mother's ability to go to work or schoolb

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 655 4.4 3.3 1.0 0.06
Atlanta Human Capital Development 700 4.4 3.3 1.1 0.06
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 529 10.9 12.7 -1.9 -0.06
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 518 6.3 12.7 -6.4** -0.19
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 761 7.5 7.7 -0.3 -0.01
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 428 5.4 7.1 -1.8 -0.07
Riverside Human Capital Development 490 6.4 7.1 -0.7 -0.03
Portland 267 14.0 12.9 1.1 0.03

Had a physical, emotional, or mental condition that required frequent medical attentionb

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 654 6.9 6.6 0.4 0.02
Atlanta Human Capital Development 700 4.4 6.6 -2.2 -0.09
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 529 13.7 15.1 -1.4 -0.04
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 518 9.7 15.1 -5.4* -0.16
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 761 8.9 8.0 0.9 0.03
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 428 6.0 5.7 0.3 0.01
Riverside Human Capital Development 490 7.2 5.7 1.5 0.06
Portland 267 16.3 14.8 1.5 0.04

Ever had accident, injury, or poisoning that required an emergency room visit

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 652 14.2 14.2 0.0 0.00
Atlanta Human Capital Development 696 11.4 14.2 -2.9 -0.08
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 524 18.4 22.4 -3.9 -0.09
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 514 18.2 22.4 -4.2 -0.10
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 754 22.9 21.8 1.1 0.03
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 426 23.0 18.8 4.2 0.11
Riverside Human Capital Development 486 12.8 18.8 -6.0* -0.15
Portland 262 24.3 24.1 0.2 0.00

Did not live with mother because she could not care for child

Atlanta Labor Force Attachment 655 4.6 3.9 0.7 0.04
Atlanta Human Capital Development 699 3.6 3.9 -0.3 -0.02
Grand Rapids Labor Force Attachment 529 6.3 6.9 -0.6 -0.03
Grand Rapids Human Capital Development 518 6.5 6.9 -0.4 -0.02
Riverside Labor Force Attachment 759 10.8 6.8 4.0* 0.15
Lacked high school diploma or basic skills 428 9.5 4.2 5.3** 0.25
Riverside Human Capital Development 490 9.4 4.2 5.2** 0.24
Portland 267 10.7 11.9 -1.2 -0.04
SOURCE:  MDRC calculations from the Five-Year Client Survey.
NOTES:  See Appendix A.2
Standard errors have been adjusted to account for the presence of multiple siblings within a family.
Owing to missing values, sample sizes may vary.
a Measures whether the child dropped out of school at any point during the child's lifetime.
b Refers to conditions that were current at the time the survey was administered.

There are generally more effects than would be expected by chance for outcomes of young school-age children. Although effects are not consistent within domain, program approach, or site, two interesting general patterns emerge.

First, both Riverside programs increased the likelihood that young school-age children did not live with their mother because she could not care for them. The magnitude of this effect is also relatively large  almost doubling the likelihood (and effect sizes of 0.15 to 0.25). Both Riverside programs decreased suspensions and expulsions for young school-age children (though these effects are not supported by other measures that might be expected to be affected by a suspension or expulsion such as grade repetition or dropping out of school). It appears that the Riverside programs are producing favorable effects on one measure of academic functioning and, at the same time, increasing the likelihood of not living with a parent. One hypothesis is that a mother may have decided voluntarily to place her children in an alternative, perhaps temporary, living arrangement and this arrangement may have long-term benefits for the child's development. Or, alternatively, these effects may be capturing two different groups of children: those who experienced a decrease in grade repetition and those who were more likely to not live with their mother because she could not care for them.

Second, a pattern of favorable effects occurred for young school-age children in the Grand Rapids HCD program for seven of the eight outcome measures examined. These children were less likely to be suspended or expelled, less likely to drop out of school (approached statistical significance at p = .14), less likely to have attended a special class (approached statistical significance at p = .14), less likely to have had a condition that demands a lot of attention, and less likely to have had a condition that demands frequent medical attention.(25)