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ERIC Number: ED569137
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Pages: 178
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 64
Effects of a Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Two American Cities: Findings from Family Rewards 2.0
Miller, Cynthia; Miller, Rhiannon; Verma, Nandita; Dechausay, Nadine; Yang, Edith; Rudd, Timothy; Rodriguez, Jonathan; Honig, Sylvie
Family Rewards was an innovative approach to poverty reduction in the United States that was modeled on the conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs common in lower- and middle-income countries. The program offered cash assistance to low-income families, provided that they met certain conditions related to family health care, children's education, and parents' work. The first version of Family Rewards, called Opportunity NYC--Family Rewards ("Family Rewards 1.0"), was evaluated in New York City beginning in 2007 using a randomized controlled trial, in which families were randomly assigned to a program group that was offered the program or a control group that was not. Family Rewards 2.0, the subject of this report, was launched in July 2011 in the Bronx, New York, and Memphis, Tennessee. While still offering rewards in the areas of children's education, family health, and parents' work, Family Rewards 2.0 refined the original model in several ways: it offered fewer rewards in each domain, paid those rewards more frequently, offered the education rewards only to high school students, and offered proactive and personalized guidance to help families earn rewards. The addition of guidance from staff members, who actively helped families develop strategies to earn rewards, represented the biggest change from the original model. This report examines whether those changes led to bigger impacts and whether the program had similar effects in a context different from New York City. The findings show that the new program achieved many of the same effects as the original model, but fell short in other, important ways. Family Rewards 2.0 met its short-term goals of increasing income and reducing poverty, although the effects were smaller, given that less money was transferred overall. The program also increased dental visits and adults' self-reported health status, particularly for those in poorer health at study entry. Similar to the earlier program, the new model led to reductions in work and earnings for some participants. However, the new program did not affect students' school progress through Year 4, neither for the full sample of students nor for a more academically prepared subgroup. Overall, the findings indicate that Family Rewards 2.0 did not lead to bigger or more widespread effects. In addition, the failure to replicate the positive effects on school progress for more academically prepared students suggests that the model's effects on education were not very robust. The following are appended: (1) Rewards Offered in Family Rewards 1.0 and 2.0; (2) Parents' Understanding of and Experience with Family Rewards; (3) Impacts on Public Benefit Receipt; and (4) Impacts on Education Outcomes, by Math Proficiency. [Additional support for the evaluation was provided by the Benificus Foundation, the City of Memphis, and the Women's Foundation of Greater Memphis.]
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Publication Type: Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Corporation for National and Community Service; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Open Society Foundations (OSF); Rockefeller Foundation; Kresge Foundation; New York Community Trust; W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Authoring Institution: MDRC
Identifiers - Location: New York (New York); Tennessee (Memphis)