Aug 07, 2003


New Chance was a national welfare demonstration program designed to provide a comprehensive set of services for families of young welfare-receiving mothers without high school degrees or GEDs. The program addressed mothers’ reproductive behaviors and educational, vocational, and parenting skills, and addressed children’s educational and development outcomes. One experimental evaluation found that program participants experienced some positive, but many negative, impacts. New Chance participants were more likely to earn college credits. However, they were also more likely to be clinically depressed, to report behavioral problems with their children, to have problems finding a place to live, to have a second child sooner than the control group, and-according to at least one measure-to experience parenting stress.


Target Population: Mothers ages 16-22 who have given birth before age 19, receive AFDC, do not have high school diplomas or GEDs, and are not pregnant upon program entry.

New Chance was designed to provide comprehensive services to assist families headed by young mothers on welfare who had dropped out of school. The program sought to: help participants acquire educational and vocational credentials and skills; influence participants to postpone additional childbearing and improve current parenting skills; and enhance the cognitive abilities, health, and socioemotional well-being of participants’ children. On-site program employees helped to teach and train participants in a variety of topics as well as provide basic services such as child care, job assistance, and child health services.

Component Provided by Duration Description
School-like intervention Program Up to 18 months with up to 1 year follow-up services See components, below:
Adult education and literacy The New Chance site (e.g., school, community center) 2 to 3 hours per day. Participants engaged in New Chance activities 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 days a week Basic education provided in math, reading and writing; preparation for the GED also provided
Employment-related services The New Chance site Participants engaged in New Chance activities 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 days a week Career exploration and skills training, work internships, job placement assistance
Health and personal development The New Chance site Participants engaged in New Chance activities 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 days a week Life Skills and Opportunities Curriculum, health education and services, family planning, and adult survival skills
Services to enhance children’s development The New Chance site Participants engaged in New Chance activities 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 days a week. Child care was provided during these hours. Parent education, child care, child health services
Case management Case managers with caseloads no larger than 25 people Throughout the program Case managers assessed the needs of the participant and coordinate ongoing services. Case managers also tracked progress and provided support and guidance.

The program costs approximately $9,000 per participant. Most funds were spent on child care, recruitment, and case management.


STUDY 1: Quint, J.C., Bos, J.M., & Polit, D.F. (1997). New Chance: Final report on a comprehensive program for young mothers in poverty and their children. New York, NY: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.

Evaluated population: 2,322 mothers were originally in the program, 1,553 were randomly assigned to an experimental group and 769 to a control group. At the 42-month follow-up, data were collected from 1,401 participants and 678 control group members. The sample was selected from 16 sites from 10 different states across the United States.

To determine whether New Chance had any impacts on educational attainment, family life, emotional and physical health, employment and earnings, welfare receipt, and child development. Also to determine the costs of implementing the program.

Measurement instrument:
Self-report surveys, face-to-face interviews, teacher surveys, MDRC staff site visits, administrative site data, the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE), the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D).

Type: Experimental
Statistical techniques: Significance testing, F-test, t-test, chi-square.
Significance level: p = .10
In most areas, participants did not show greater gains than those in the control group, although there were some differences between the two groups.

Education and job training:
At the 42-month follow-up, both groups were equally likely (approximately 25 percent) to have earned a trade license or certificate.

Among 18- to 19-year-olds and 20- to 22-year-olds, program participants were more likely to earn a high school diploma or GED than their counterparts in the control group. Non-Hispanic black and Hispanic participants were also more likely to earn a high school diploma or GED.

Long-term employment rates did not differ significantly between program participants and control group members, nor did earnings. During the first 6 months following the program, control group members were significantly more likely to be employed than program participants (20.4 percent vs. 15.1 percent). In all other months, employment rates did not differ.

No significant effects on educational achievement, as measured by the TABE.

Program participants were significantly more likely than control group members to attain a GED or earn college credits. At the 42-month follow-up, 51.9 percent of participants and 43.8 percent of the control group had attained a GED or high school diploma, and 13.5 percent of participants vs. 10.7 percent of the control group had received college credit. However, program participants were slightly, but statistically significantly, more likely to have ever received welfare than those in the control group (98.9 percent vs. 97.9 percent) at the 42-month follow-up. Participants were not on welfare for significantly more months than control group members.

Living arrangements:
At the 42-month follow-up, program participants were more likely to report having had trouble finding a place to live within the past year, compared to those in the control group. Similar findings were reported for program participants ages 20-22.

Health and pregnancy:
Program participants had a significantly smaller time period between a previous pregnancy (before assignment to the program) and the onset of the next pregnancy than those in the control group. There were no other significant differences between groups in rates of pregnancy, birth, or abortion.

At the 42-month follow-up, there were no significant differences in contraceptive use or health status.

Child outcomes:
Overall, New Chance does not appear to improve developmental outcomes for participants’ children; in fact, there were unfavorable impacts on children’s social behavior. Program participants’ and control group members’ children had similar scores on home environment at the 42-month point and low scores on a measure of cognitive development. Program participants rated their children as having more behavior problems than control group members did (110.0 vs. 108.5 on the Behavior Problems Index), and they rated their children lower on a scale of positive behavior (192.1 vs. 197.3 on the Positive Behavior Scale, which ranges from 0 to 250).

There were some negative differences by subgroup. Children of Hispanic program participants scored lower on the Bracken Basic Concept Scale than children of control group members. Among 18- to 19-year-olds and 20- to 22-year-olds, participants’ children exhibited more behavior problems (as measured by the Behavior Problem index ) than children of control group members. Similar differences were found for children of non-Hispanic black program participants and for male children of all program participants.

Socioemotional outcomes:
Program participants were at significantly greater risk of clinical depression, as measured by the CES-D, than control group members at the 42-month follow-up: the average score of participants was 16.1, while the average score of control group members was 15.2. However, from the time of assignment to the program to the 42-month follow-up, participants age 20-22 and non-Hispanic black participants were less likely to have an increased risk of depression than
their counterparts in the control group. Significantly more program participants than control group members reported feeling stressed much or all of the time in the past month (39.4 percent vs. 33.2 percent), and significantly more control group members reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their standard of living at the 42-month follow-up (73.7 percent vs. 69.7 percent).

Program participants reported significantly more parenting-related stress than control group members did. Parenting stress was measured by the Parenting Stress Scale, an 8-item self-report scale scored from 0 to 80, with higher numbers indicating greater stress. At the 42-month follow-up, program participants scored 26.4, on average, while control group members scored 24.6. Program participants in the age 20-22 subgroup had significantly higher scores on the Parenting Stress Scale. Parenting outcomes were also measured on the HOME scale, which indicated no difference between participants and control group members. However, program participants age 16-17 had better (higher) scores on the HOME scale than their counterparts in the control group.



Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation’s MFIP website:

Quint, J.C., Bos, J.M., & Polit, D.F. (1997). New Chance: Final report on a comprehensive program for young mothers in poverty and their children. New York, NY: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.

Program also discussed in the following Child Trends publication(s):

E., Ling, T., & Cochran, S. W. (2003). Youth development programs serving
educationally disadvantaged youth: A synthesis of experimental evaluations.

Washington, DC: Child Trends.

Zaslow, M.J., Brooks, J. L., Moore, K. A., Morris, P., Tout, K., & Redd, Z. (2001). Impacts on children in experimental studies of welfare-to-work programs. Washington, DC: Child Trends.


Program categorized in this guide according to the

Evaluated participant ages: mothers ages 16-22 and their
young children / Program age ranges in the Guide: 0-5, 15-21, 22-25

Program components: Child care/ECE, Clinic/provider-based,

Measured outcomes: Education/cognitive, Social/emotional,
Life skills, Reproductive health, Mental health

KEYWORDS: Youth, Young Adults, Births, Black/African American, Case Management, Child Care, Children, College Enrollment/Preparation, Condom Use and Contraception, Depression/Mood Disorders, Health Status/Conditions, Hispanic/Latino, Job Training/Readiness, Reading/Literacy,

Program information last updated 8/7/03.