Effects of a Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program in Two American Cities: Findings from Family Rewards 2.0

Program/Intervention: 
Family Rewards 2.0
Implementing Organization: 
New York City Center for Economic Opportunity
Intermediary(s): 
Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City
Summary: 

The Family Rewards program is an approach to poverty reduction in the United States modeled on the conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs common in lower- and middle-income countries. The program studied under this grant is an altered model referred to as Family Rewards 2.0. The new model provides cash rewards to students and their families who met various performance measures. The evaluation tracked participating families during the period the rewards were offered to determine the effects of the program on poverty, children’s education, family health, and parents’ work.

The study found that the program:

  • Transferred on average $2000 to each participating family per program year (over $6200 total.
  • After some start-up challenges, was generally implemented well in both cities by Year.
  • Increased income and reduced poverty during the program period, and led to improvements in parents’ reports of life satisfaction and happiness.
  • In the health care area, effected an increase in preventive dental visits.
  • Led to a reduction in employment covered by the unemployment insurance system, driven largely by reductions in work in Memphis.
  • Did not affect students’ school progress through Year 4, either for the full sample of students or for the subgroup of academically proficient students.
CNCS Program(s): 
Social Innovation Fund
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Economic Opportunity
Education
Healthy Futures
Youth Development (SIF)
Age(s) Studied: 
0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
55+ (Older adult)
Outcomes Category(s): 
Financial Literacy
K-12 Success
Access to Care
Study Type(s): 
Impact
Implementation
Study Design(s): 
Experimental (RCT)
Level of Evidence: 
Moderate
Evaluator: 
MDRC
Year Published: 
2016
Date Posted Online: 
March 14, 2017
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