Impact on Young Children and Their Families 2-Years After Enrollment: Why Look at Two-Year Impacts of JOBS Welfare-to-Work Programs on Children?. Conceptual Framework


JOBS programs did not include components addressed specifically at improving the development and well-being of young children. For example, they did not include early childhood education components, or screening of children for health or developmental problems. Accordingly, in order to affect children, JOBS must have affected outcomes of importance to children's development. Outcomes considered are those directly targeted by the programs (such as employment, earnings, and overall family income) as well as derivatives of these targeted outcomes (such as health insurance and child care use), and those not directly targeted by the programs but which, nevertheless, could have been affected by them (such as maternal psychological well-being, and parenting behavior).

Our conceptual framework for the ways in which children's developmental outcomes may be affected by welfare-to-work programs is presented in Figure 1.1. This conceptual framework illustrates that:

  • assignment to a JOBS program (Box A), could affect
  • mothers' exposure to, and experiences in, the JOBS Program as the program is actually implemented (Box B) and, through program exposure, affect
  • outcomes directly targeted by the JOBS Program (such as maternal educational attainment, employment, and economic resources) as well as derivatives of these targeted outcomes (such as health insurance and child care use) (Box C), as well as affect
  • additional outcomes not directly targeted by JOBS programs (such as maternal psychological well-being and parenting) (Box D) and,
  • through these changes, affect child outcomes (Box E).

Figure 1.1:
Conceptual Framework

Figure 1.1: Conceptual framework

(Chapter 8 provides a detailed discussion of this conceptual framework, including rationales for the specific outcomes considered in this study and a description of measures employed to operationalize these outcomes.)

To provide a context for this study, a number of key questions are addressed in this introductory chapter.