Performance Improvement 2004. Welfare reform and children: a synthesis of impacts in five states


The Child Outcomes Synthesis Project synthesized the results from the Project on State-Level Child Outcomes, a series of demonstrations in five States that measured the impacts of welfare reform on the well-being of children. The synthesis first looked at adult outcomes that the programs attempted to change (e.g., employment and earnings) and then turned to aspects of young children’s lives—including child care and the home environment—that also may have been changed by the programs. Finally the project focused on how children themselves were affected by the programs. Major findings included the following: There is little evidence that these programs resulted in widespread harm or benefit to young school-age children; positive impacts on children’s functioning appear to be related to increases in family income; the programs increased children’s participation in child care; and most of the programs showed few impacts on the children’s family life, given the number of measures examined. In two of the states, Florida and Minnesota, the programs had the most favorable impacts on young school-age children in more disadvantaged families, such as those with a longer history of welfare receipt or less work experience. Where there were impacts on adolescents’ school performance, they were primarily negative; apart from any program impacts, the children in these families were experiencing multiple stressors, including high levels of economic disadvantage, parental depressive symptoms, and domestic violence.

PIC ID: 7527
Agency Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Yaffe, Alan, 202-401-4537
Performer: Child Trends, Inc., Washington, DC

View full report


"pi_2004.pdf" (pdf, 713.01Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®