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Addressing the School Readiness Gap: The Promise of Cash Assistance Programs as Platforms for Innovation? Lisa Gennetian. Improving Low-Income Children’s School Readiness: New Perspectives on an Enduring Challenge September 29-30, 2010. The Overall Landscape(2007).
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Improving Low-Income Children’s School Readiness: New Perspectives on an Enduring Challenge
September 29-30, 2010
Medicaid 54,900 $328,900
School Food 39,400 10,900
SNAP 25,600 30,400
EITC 23,800 48,500
WIC 8,000 5,400
SSI 7,100 41,200
Housing 4,900 39,400
TANF 3,800 11,600
Ben-Shalom, Moffitt & Scholz (2010).
Half of today’s caseloads are child-only cases (12% in 1990 to over 30% in 2000)
62% of poor children received TANF in 1994, plummeting to 31% in 2003
Growing % of what would have been TANF cases are disconnected single mothers (not working and not on TANF)
Test of recent recession: What is the future of TANF as safety net? A work support? Emergency support?
IS means-tested, so outreach is only as effective as income eligibility
HAS conditions and penalties: time limits, sanctions
RELIES on performance accountability that does not prioritize children’s developmental outcomes, never mind school readiness, as a performance metric
Not cash assistance but….
Platforms that target economic self-sufficiency of parents (or families) with young children
Why is this a promising approach?
What are the gateways? Who is eligible? Who is served?
What is most amenable to innovation, low cost/high impact?
Lots of moms (and, dads) work and earnings is a key source of income
In 2008: Young children are particularly likely to live in low-income families--44 percent of children under the age of 6 live in low-income families.
51 percent of low-income children have at least one parent who works full-time, year-round.
In 2009, 64.2% mothers with children under 6 years old participated in the labor force. The participation rate of mothers with infants under a year old was 56.6%.
Income has a small independent positive effect on child development, & employment has few detrimental effects
Brooks-Gunn, Han & Waldfogel (2010); Gennetian, Castells, & Morris (2010).
Improve economic self-sufficiency (and improve school achievement by a bit)
Use work-income-security platforms as gateways for outreach, recruitment and intervention (Ca$hPlus)
(*added bonus: parents, non-gender specific)
VITA (voluntary income tax assistance) sites: churches, credit unions and sometimes multi-service community organizations
In 2010, VITA sites served 1.2 million clients and over 400,000 EITC (earned income tax credit) recipients
The 1998 Workforce Investment Act (WIA) created a new, comprehensive workforce investment system.
One-Stop service delivery system (job search, individual employment plans, training and linkages with other community services)
$2.9 billion expended 7/08 to 6/09, half for adult activities (vs. youth or dislocated workers)
Some evidence WIA programs increased earnings, (Heinrich, Mueser & Troske, 2008)
Community Action Programs
($3M families/year. 63% offer training/employment)
NYC Financial Clinics
Foundation Communities, TX
History of fertile ground for innovation and experimentation (and scale-up):
Welfare waiver experiments
Work Advancement and Support Center Demonstrations (Miller, Tessler & Van Dok, 2010)
The next “New Hope” model (Bos, Gennetian, Duncan and Hill 2008)
Miss the growing % of disconnected workers. Between fiscal year 1996 and 2004, the number of single mothers receiving TANF fell by 2 million, yet employment among single mothers rose by only about 1 million. (Parrot and Sherman, 2006)
Take-up and retention
Speed of responsiveness to local economic cycles and labor market
Complicated funding & political silos
Least promising: TANF (low caseloads, most severe cases, questionable public and political appetite)
Moderately promising: EIC and tax system—huge initial reach but no structure for ongoing contact. Capitalize on sites with combined multiple services.
Most promising: WIA, one-stops, multi-service year-around (micro and macro) needs-responsive organizations
Take a step back: Conceptual Framework Bronfenbrenner’sMicrosystem
(the microsystem as a platform?)
Section 8 and housing assistance:
13% of children in U.S. live in crowded housing.
66% of children in low income households (income <200% of poverty level) housing cost exceed 30% of income.
Moving to Opportunity; Jobs Plus
School/neighborhood based initiatives:
Promise Neighborhoods (Harlem Children’s Zone) “cradle-to-career” services!
Ben-Shalom, Yonatan, Robert Moffitt, and John Karl Scholz. 2010. An Assessment of the Effectiveness of Anti-Poverty Programs in the United States. In preparation for the Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Poverty.
Berlin, Gordon. 2010. Rethinking Welfare in the Great Recession: Issues in the Reauthorization of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families . New York: MDRC.
Bos, J., G. Duncan, L. Gennetian, and H. Hill (2007). New Hope: Fulfilling America’s Promise to “Make Work Pay” with Johannes Bos, Greg Duncan, and Heather Hill. Hamilton Project Paper. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.
Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne, Wen-Jui Han and Jane Waldfogel. 2010. FIRST-YEAR MATERNAL EMPLOYMENT AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT IN THE FIRST 7 YEARS 75(2) Monographs for the Society for Research on Child Development
Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/acrossstates/Rankings.aspx?ind=71
Employment Characteristics of Families, downloaded September 24, 2010. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/famee.nr0.htm
Dahl, G., & Lochner, L. (2008). The impact of family income on child achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit. (NBER Working Paper Series: Working Paper No. 14599). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
Gennetian, L. A., N. Castells, and P. Morris ( 2010) Meeting the Basic Needs of Children: Does Income Matter? National Poverty Center Working Paper No. 2009-11. Gennetian, L.A., T. Leventhal and S. Newman (eds) special issue of Children and Youth Services Review 32(9).
Heinrich, C.P., P. Mueser, and K. Troske 2008. Workforce Investment Act Nonexperimental Net Impact Evaluation, Impaq International.
Miller, Cynthia, Betsy Tessler and Mark Van Dok. 2010. Strategies to Help Low Wage Workers Advance: Implementation and Early Impacts of the Work Advancement and Support Center Demonstration. New York: MDRC.
Parrott, Sharon and Arloc sherman. 2006. TANF at 10 Program Results are More Mixed Than Often Understood
Salkind, N. J., & Haskins, R. (1982). Negative income tax: The impact on children from low-income families. Journal of Family Issues, 3(2), 165-180.
Workforce Investment Act: http://www.doleta.gov/budget/docs/06_30_09combspend.pdf