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  • Individual Author: Quint, Janet; Bos, Johannes; Polit, Denise
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    New Chance, a national research and demonstration program that operated between 1989 and 1992, was developed in a policy context marked by intense concern about teenage childbearing. That concern reflected the public's distress about three developments: the dramatic increase in the rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing over the past three decades, the long-term welfare costs incurred by young, poor women who become mothers, and the negative life prospects faced by their children. Little was known, however, about what kinds of programs and policies could help young mothers on welfare attain economic independence and could foster their children's development as well.

    The New Chance Demonstration was a rare and important opportunity to test the value of comprehensive services in assisting a disadvantaged group of families headed by young mothers who had first given birth as teenagers, who had dropped out of high school, and who were receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The program, which operated in 16 locations (or "sites") in 10 states across...

    New Chance, a national research and demonstration program that operated between 1989 and 1992, was developed in a policy context marked by intense concern about teenage childbearing. That concern reflected the public's distress about three developments: the dramatic increase in the rate of out-of-wedlock childbearing over the past three decades, the long-term welfare costs incurred by young, poor women who become mothers, and the negative life prospects faced by their children. Little was known, however, about what kinds of programs and policies could help young mothers on welfare attain economic independence and could foster their children's development as well.

    The New Chance Demonstration was a rare and important opportunity to test the value of comprehensive services in assisting a disadvantaged group of families headed by young mothers who had first given birth as teenagers, who had dropped out of high school, and who were receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). The program, which operated in 16 locations (or "sites") in 10 states across the country, sought to help the young mothers acquire educational and vocational credentials and skills so that they could secure jobs offering opportunities for advancement and could thereby reduce, and eventually eliminate, their use of welfare. It also sought to motivate and assist participants in postponing additional childbearing and to help them become better parents. Finally, New Chance was explicitly "two-generational" in its approach, seeking to enhance the cognitive abilities, health, and socioemotional well-being of enrollees' children. The program was, for the most part, voluntary; that is, young women were generally not required to attend in order to receive public assistance. Instead, most joined it because they wanted to earn their General Educational Development (GED, or high school equivalency) certificates and the program offered free child care to enable them to participate.

    To evaluate the program's effectiveness, young women who applied and were determined to be eligible for New Chance were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the experimental group, whose members could enroll in the program, or the control group, whose members could not join New Chance but could receive other services available in their communities. To ascertain both short- and longer-term program effects, comparable information was collected from each member of both groups through in-home survey interviews conducted approximately 1½ and 3½ years after the individual had been randomly assigned. The measured average differences between the two groups' outcomes over time (such as their differences in rates of GED attainment, employment, or subsequent childbearing) and between the outcomes for their children are the observed results (or impacts) of New Chance. This, the final report on the New Chance program and its impacts, examines the trajectories of 2,079 young mothers who responded to the 3½-year survey.  (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Bos, Johannes; Fellerath, Veronica
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1997

    This is the fifth and final report from a multi-year evaluation of Ohio’s Learning, Earning, and Parenting (LEAP) Program. Developed and operated by the Ohio Department of Human Services (ODHS), LEAP is a statewide initiative that employs financial incentives in an attempt to increase school enrollment and attendance among pregnant teenagers and custodial teen parents on welfare (almost all of them are women). LEAP, which began operating in 1989, requires these teens to stay in school and attend regularly or, if they have dropped out, to return to school or enter a program to prepare for the General Educational Development (GED), or high school equivalency, test. The program thereby strives to increase the proportion of teens who graduate from high school or receive a GED, find jobs, and ultimately achieve self-sufficiency. These longer-term goals are important because, even though teen parents make up fewer than 10 percent of all Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) case heads, families started by women who first gave birth as teenagers account for approximately 50...

    This is the fifth and final report from a multi-year evaluation of Ohio’s Learning, Earning, and Parenting (LEAP) Program. Developed and operated by the Ohio Department of Human Services (ODHS), LEAP is a statewide initiative that employs financial incentives in an attempt to increase school enrollment and attendance among pregnant teenagers and custodial teen parents on welfare (almost all of them are women). LEAP, which began operating in 1989, requires these teens to stay in school and attend regularly or, if they have dropped out, to return to school or enter a program to prepare for the General Educational Development (GED), or high school equivalency, test. The program thereby strives to increase the proportion of teens who graduate from high school or receive a GED, find jobs, and ultimately achieve self-sufficiency. These longer-term goals are important because, even though teen parents make up fewer than 10 percent of all Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) case heads, families started by women who first gave birth as teenagers account for approximately 50 percent of all long-term AFDC recipients.

    During the period of this study (the rules have recently been modified), teens who met LEAP’s requirements had their welfare checks increased — $62 for school enrollment and an additional $62 each month they attended school regularly — and teens who did not (without an acceptable reason) had $62 deducted from their welfare grant every month until they complied with program rules. Those who exceeded the allowed number of total absences in a month but not the allowed number of unexcused absences qualified for neither a bonus nor a “sanction” (as such grant reductions are called). Teens could be temporarily exempted from LEAP’s requirements for medical reasons, to care for an infant, or if child care or transportation was unavailable. Teens were no longer subject to LEAP’s requirements when they reached the age of 20, left AFDC, or received a high school diploma or a GED. During 1992 — approximately the midpoint in the period covered by this report — a teen living on her own with one child (the most common situation) was eligible for a monthly AFDC grant of $274. Thus, a bonus raised her grant to $336 and a sanction reduced it to $212. If she went from being sanctioned to receiving a bonus, she would experience a 58 percent increase in her welfare grant. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Doolittle, Fred; Knox, Virginia; Miller, Cynthia; Rowser, Sharon
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Over the past 25 years, policymakers have come to acknowledge the link between lack of child support and the pressing problem of child poverty for a broad range of American families. With over 20 million children under age 18 now living with only one parent or neither parent, there is an urgency to develop more effective methods for obtaining support from noncustodial parents. Much of the public concern about child support has focused on the noncustodial parents (usually fathers) of children receiving welfare, a group for whom earnings and support payments tend to be low. Interest in these families has also been heightened by recent changes in federally funded public assistance, which are gradually leading states to impose various time limits on aid. Since poor families will have to rely even more on nongovernment sources of income in the future, their stake in successful child support enforcement (CSE) has dramatically increased.

    The noncustodial parents of children receiving welfare have largely been left out of the reform debate and programmatic initiatives, except as...

    Over the past 25 years, policymakers have come to acknowledge the link between lack of child support and the pressing problem of child poverty for a broad range of American families. With over 20 million children under age 18 now living with only one parent or neither parent, there is an urgency to develop more effective methods for obtaining support from noncustodial parents. Much of the public concern about child support has focused on the noncustodial parents (usually fathers) of children receiving welfare, a group for whom earnings and support payments tend to be low. Interest in these families has also been heightened by recent changes in federally funded public assistance, which are gradually leading states to impose various time limits on aid. Since poor families will have to rely even more on nongovernment sources of income in the future, their stake in successful child support enforcement (CSE) has dramatically increased.

    The noncustodial parents of children receiving welfare have largely been left out of the reform debate and programmatic initiatives, except as targets of increasing CSE efforts. Unfortunately for poor families, most of the recent CSE reforms have been more effective in increasing collections from noncustodial parents with relatively stable jobs and residence; many of the fathers of children receiving welfare do not fall within this group.

    The Parents’ Fair Share (PFS) Demonstration tests a new approach: in exchange for current and future cooperation with the child support system, a partnership of local organizations offered fathers services designed to help them (1) find more stable and better-paying jobs, (2) pay child support on a consistent basis, and (3) assume a fuller and more responsible parental role. Among the key services were peer support (focused on issues of responsible parenting), employment and training services, and an offer of voluntary mediation between the custodial and noncustodial parents. During the period in which parents participated in PFS services, the child support system gave them some "breathing room" and an incentive to invest in themselves by temporarily lowering their current obligation to pay support. CSE staff also closely monitored the status of PFS cases. When a parent found employment, CSE staff were to act quickly to raise the support order to an appropriate level (based on the state’s child support payment guidelines), and if a parent ceased to cooperate with PFS program requirements, CSE staff were to act quickly to enforce the pre-PFS child support obligation. The demonstration is a test of the feasibility of implementing this new "bargain" and its effects on parents, children, and the child support system.

    PFS rests on an unusual partnership of funders and program operators, including federal agencies, private foundations, states, localities, and nonprofit community-based organizations. Organized by MDRC, it began in 1992 with a pilot phase to refine the program model and test the feasibility of implementing it at the local level and, despite a variety of implementation challenges, moved into a seven-site demonstration phase in 1994.

    This report presents findings from the demonstration-phase implementation of the program, characteristics of the parents in the sample, and early impacts on two outcomes of interest (fathers’ earnings and child support payments). (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kisker, Ellen Eliason; Rangarajan, Anu; Boller, Kimberly
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    Anticipating the mandatory participation requirements of the 1988 Family Support Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in 1986, launched the Teenage Parent Demonstration (TPD) to test the feasibility and effects of requiring teenage parents on welfare to participate in activities aimed at achieving economic self-sufficiency in order to receive maximum welfare benefits. Public welfare agencies in Illinois and New Jersey were awarded grants to design and implement the TPD programs. The Illinois program, Project Advance, operated in the south side of Chicago; the New Jersey program. Teen Progress, operated in Newark and Camden. The programs began serving young mothers in mid-1987 and continued through mid-1991. DHHS contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to evaluate the demonstration programs. The first phase of the evaluation focused on documenting the implementation and costs of the programs, assessing the service needs and use of participants (including special studies of child care needs and use), and examining the short-term impacts of the...

    Anticipating the mandatory participation requirements of the 1988 Family Support Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), in 1986, launched the Teenage Parent Demonstration (TPD) to test the feasibility and effects of requiring teenage parents on welfare to participate in activities aimed at achieving economic self-sufficiency in order to receive maximum welfare benefits. Public welfare agencies in Illinois and New Jersey were awarded grants to design and implement the TPD programs. The Illinois program, Project Advance, operated in the south side of Chicago; the New Jersey program. Teen Progress, operated in Newark and Camden. The programs began serving young mothers in mid-1987 and continued through mid-1991. DHHS contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to evaluate the demonstration programs. The first phase of the evaluation focused on documenting the implementation and costs of the programs, assessing the service needs and use of participants (including special studies of child care needs and use), and examining the short-term impacts of the programs on mothers' prospects for attaining economic self-sufficiency. The second phase of the evaluation focused on measuring the endurance of the short-term impacts of the programs on mothers' prospects and assessing program impacts on the well-being of each mother's first-born child during the first few years after the program requirements and special services ended.

    This report presents the findings from the second phase of the evaluation. The remaining sections of this chapter provide an overview of the demonstration rationale, the intervention design, the demonstration evaluation, and a summary of the key findings. The following chapters present the evaluation findings in detail. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gennetian, Lisa A.; Miller, Cynthia
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    In 1994, the state of Minnesota began a major welfare reform initiative aimed at encouraging work, reducing dependence on public assistance, and reducing poverty. The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) differed from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) system in three key ways: (1) Financial incentives to work. In MFIP, more earnings were disregarded when calculating grant levels, and child care payments were paid directly to providers; (2) Participation requirements for long-term recipients. If not working full time, long-term welfare recipients had to participate in services designed to move them quickly into the workforce., and; (3) Simplification of rules and procedures. MFIP combined AFDC, Food Stamps, and the state-run Family General Assistance (FGA) program into a single program with one set of rules and procedures and one monthly payment.

    A central concern surrounding the recent wave of welfare reforms is how children will fare if their parents are subject to such policies as work mandates, time limits, and enhanced earnings disregards....

    In 1994, the state of Minnesota began a major welfare reform initiative aimed at encouraging work, reducing dependence on public assistance, and reducing poverty. The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) differed from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) system in three key ways: (1) Financial incentives to work. In MFIP, more earnings were disregarded when calculating grant levels, and child care payments were paid directly to providers; (2) Participation requirements for long-term recipients. If not working full time, long-term welfare recipients had to participate in services designed to move them quickly into the workforce., and; (3) Simplification of rules and procedures. MFIP combined AFDC, Food Stamps, and the state-run Family General Assistance (FGA) program into a single program with one set of rules and procedures and one monthly payment.

    A central concern surrounding the recent wave of welfare reforms is how children will fare if their parents are subject to such policies as work mandates, time limits, and enhanced earnings disregards. Although research in child development suggests that children are affected by changes in their parents’ employment, income, and other aspects of the family environment, the net effects of these types of programs are not well understood. The findings in this report present one of the first looks at the effects of an innovative welfare reform policy on children. It also provides an unusual opportunity to more broadly assess how changes in income and employment can affect children’s outcomes. MFIP began operating in April 1994 in three urban and four rural Minnesota counties, and the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), under contract with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), has been tracking its implementation and effects. Between April 1994 and March 1996, over 14,000 families were assigned at random, using a lottery-type process, to either the MFIP or the AFDC system. This study, which focuses on family and child well-being, follows a sample of families in the urban counties of the MFIP evaluation who had a child age 2 to 9 at the time of random assignment. MFIP’s effects on families and children are assessed by comparing the outcomes for the experimental group (MFIP) and the control group (AFDC) three years after they entered the evaluation. Reforming Welfare and Rewarding Work: Final Report on the Minnesota Family Investment Program, Effects on Adults, Volume 1 of the final report on MFIP, discusses adults in the study and focuses on MFIP’s effects on such economic outcomes as employment, earnings, welfare receipt, and income for the full evaluation sample. (author abstract)

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