Program

Nov 10, 2009

OVERVIEW

The New Hope Project was a welfare reform demonstration project in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, that was designed to raise the incomes of poor families above the
poverty level. Program components included job placement assistance, wage
supplements, and subsidies for health insurance and child care. Impacts for
adults, families, and children were examined. The evaluation indicates that
participation in New Hope positively impacted parental employment, poverty
status, and physical and emotional well-being, as well as their children’s
educational and behavior outcomes. Impacts were more pronounced for boys than
for girls. A study of never-married mothers indicated that mothers in the New
Hope program were more likely to be married at year five.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Low-income adults (at least 18 years old) willing and
able to work 30 hours a week and living in one of two targeted neighborhoods in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin volunteered. These adults also had young or school-aged
children.

Those assigned to New Hope received certain
supplements and subsidies to meet certain prerequisites low-income individuals
tend to expect before being willing to marry. These participants received a wage
supplement to increase income to the poverty level, affordable health insurance,
child-care subsidies, and community service jobs paying minimum wage for those
who are unable to find employment. The idea is that women who have resources are
more likely to marry and when given these resources, those in the experimental
group will be more likely to marry.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Huston, A. C., Miller, C., Richburg-Hayes, L.,
Duncan, G. J., Eldred, C. A., Weisner, T. S., Lowe, E., Mcloyd, V. C., Crosby,
D. A., Ripke, M. N., & Redcross, C. (2003). New hope for families and children:
Five-year results of a program to reduce poverty and reform welfare (Report No.
UD035854). New York, NY: Urban Education. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service
No. ED480671)

Huston, A. C., Duncan, G. J., Granger, R., Bos, J.,
McLoyd, V. C., Mistry, R., Crosby, D., Gibson, C., Magnuson, K., Romich, J., &
Ventura, A. (2001). Work-based anti-poverty programs for parents can enhance the
school performance and social behavior of children. Child Development,
72, 318-336.

Evaluated population: Participating parents were older than 18, had one
or more children between the ages of one and ten, had incomes at or below 150
percent of the poverty level, and were willing to work 30 or more hours per week

Approach: Three-hundred and seventy-nine families were randomly assigned to
the New Hope treatment group (366 families) or to the control group (379
families). Child outcomes, including school performance and motivation, social
behavior, and psychological well-being, were investigated. Data were collected
two years and five years after the initiation of the project.

Results:

Adult Outcomes

During years one and two, the program increased the
percentage of parents who had ever been employed and how often parents were
employed. Employment impacts, however, declined or became insignificant in
subsequent years. Over the first three years of the five-year follow-up,
participants had higher earnings and earnings related income (e.g., the
financial supplement, EITC) and had higher total incomes than non-participants.
New Hope parents also experienced higher levels of employment and had more
positive physical and emotional health.

Child Outcomes

At a five-year follow-up, children of program
participants scored higher than children of non-participants on a parental
rating of reading achievement. Boys in the treatment group also scored higher on
teacher ratings of academic achievement, classroom behavior, and social skills.
The authors posit that the differences between boys and girls were found because
girls were at higher pretest levels than boys on the measures they used. This
hypothesis, however, was not experimentally tested. The program also had modest,
positive impacts on adolescents’ school progress reports and increased the
amount of time adolescents spent in structured, out-of-school activities (e.g.,
team sports, youth groups, and clubs). There were no impacts on child health
outcomes.

The authors note that children in the New Hope treatment group spent more time
than control group children in preschool programs and after-school child care,
which may have contributed to program impacts.

Huston, A. C., Epps, S. R., Shim, M. S., Duncan, G.
J., Crosby, D. A., & Ripke, M. N. (2006). Effects of a family poverty
intervention program last from middle childhood to adolescence. In A. C. Huston
& M. N. Ripke (Eds.), Developmental contexts in middle childhood (pp. 385 –
408). New York, NY, US: Cambridge University Press.

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Evaluated Population:
The sample population consisted of 243 families with
390 focal children between the ages of 6 and 10. The average age of parents was
29 years old and the sample was 55 percent African-American and 30 percent
Hispanic.

Approach: Children in this study were ages 6-10 at the time of their family’s random
assignment to either the New Hope Project or a control group. This study reports
on data collected 5 years after the start of the experimental program including
information on school achievement, school engagement and expectations for the
future, attitudes, beliefs, social behavior, peer relationships, family
well-being, parenting, child care, and child activities.

Results: Children whose parents were in the treatment group had better reading
competency, school performance, and positive social behavior when compared with
children whose parents were in the control group, but not higher achievement
test scores. The treatment group was less likely to experience school failure
and was also less likely to be retained or placed in special education when
compared with the control group. Parent ratings of social skills, compliance,
and autonomy were higher in the treatment group than in the control group. Male
children in the program group self-reported lower levels of aggressive behaviors
as well as better peer relationships and greater hope/efficacy. Parents reported
more positive behaviors among girls.


Gassman-Pines, A., & Yoshikawa, H. (2006). Five-Year Effects of an Anti-Poverty
Program on Marriage Among Never-Married Mothers. Journal of Policy Analysis
and Management 25,
1, 11-30.

Evaluated Population: Low-income residents of two poor neighborhoods in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin who reported at baseline (in the New Hope study) that they
had never been married (N=406).The sample had a high proportion of
African Americans and Latinos. Most of the sample was receiving government
assistance, and about two-thirds of the sample had a high school diploma or GED.
The sample for this study is limited to women who responded to the five-year New
Hope survey (N=337; 83% of those randomly assigned).

Approach: The authors used measures of marital status at year five,
employment and income during years one and two, average job length in months,
wage growth, annual total income, earnings, welfare, food stamps, earnings
supplements, well-being at year two, goal efficacy, depressive symptoms,
parenting stress, and material hardship.

The data were self-report, mostly one or two direct questions requesting the
information. Annual total income is comprised of income from earnings, welfare,
food stamps, and earnings supplements.

Results: The odds of New Hope never-married mothers being married at year
five are two times that of the never-married mothers in the control group. For
never-married women, New Hope had a significant effect on average earnings
supplements in years one through two and on average quarterly employment from
years one to two. There were no impacts for never-married women on the following
from years one to two: wage growth, average job length in months, average total
income, average earnings, average welfare, and average food stamps. There were
also no impacts for never-married women on the following at year two: depressive
symptoms, goal efficacy, parenting stress.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Gassman-Pines, A.,
& Yoshikawa, H. (2006). Five-Year Effects of an Anti-Poverty Program on Marriage
Among Never-Married Mothers. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 25,1, 11-30.
Huston, A. C., Duncan, G. J., Granger, R., Bos, J., McLoyd, V. C., Mistry, R.,
Crosby, D., Gibson, C., Magnuson, K., Romich, J., & Ventura, A. (2001).
Work-based anti-poverty programs for parents can enhance the school performance
and social behavior of children. Child Development, 72, 318-336.

Huston, A. C., Epps, S. R., Shim, M. S., Duncan, G.
J., Crosby, D. A., & Ripke, M. N. (2006). Effects of a family poverty
intervention program last from middle childhood to adolescence. In A. C. Huston
& M. N. Ripke (Eds.), Developmental contexts in middle childhood (pp. 385 –
408). New York, NY, US: Cambridge University Press.

Huston, A. C., Miller, C., Richburg-Hayes, L., Duncan, G. J., Eldred, C. A.,
Weisner, T. S., Lowe, E., Mcloyd, V. C., Crosby, D. A., Ripke, M. N., &
Redcross, C. (2003). New hope for families and children: Five-year results of a
program to reduce poverty and reform welfare (Report No. UD035854). New York,
NY: Urban Education. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED480671)

Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation’s New Hope website:

http://www.mdrc.org/project_16_30.html

 


Child Trends. (2001). School readiness: Helping
communities get children ready for school and schools ready for children
(Research brief). 
Washington, DC: Child Trends.


Halle, T., Zaff, J., Calkins, J., & Margie, N. G.
(2000). Background for community-level work on school readiness: A review of
definitions, assessments, and investment strategies. Part II: Reviewing the
literature on contributing factors to school readiness
. Washington, DC:
Child Trends, Inc.

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.

KEYWORDS:

Co-ed; Welfare/Public Assistance; Behavioral Problems;
Aggression/Violence/Bullying; Mental Health; Depression; Social/Emotional
Health; Life Skills; Social Skills; Parent/Family Component; Reading
Mathematics; Academic Motivation/Self-Concept/Expectations; School Engagement;
Academic Achievement; Community-based; Toddlers (12-36 months); Children (3-11).

Program information last updated 11/10/09.