Children and Welfare Reform: A View from an Experimental Welfare Program in Minnesota

Lisa A. Gennetian, Cynthia Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Little is known about the effects of the most recent welfare reform initiatives-which include work mandates, time lilnits, and enhanced earnings disregards-on children’s outcmnes. This is partly because the ways in which maternal employment and income affect children more generally are not well understood. This article describes the effects on child development of the Minnesota Family Investment Pro)., ‘Tam (MFIP), a welfare program that began prior to 1996 federal welfare reform legislation. The present study utilized MFIP’s unique, three-group research design to untangle the effects of different components of the program, and, in turn, discover how each component’s effects on parents’ income or employment affected children’s development. This study’s findings showed that MFlP increased employment rates and decreased poverty and, according toreports from mofhers, children were less likely to exhibit problem behaviors and more likely to perform better and be more highly engaged in school. These findings, based on a total of 879 participants, bolster fhe longstanding literature that has associated poverty with worse outcomes for children by confirming, in a rigorous experiment, That incremental increases in income for working poor parents bring benefits to children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEffective Interventions for Children in Need
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781351941457
ISBN (Print)9780754628255
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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