Work-based antipoverty programs for parents can enhance the school performance and social behavior of children

Child Dev. 2001 Jan-Feb;72(1):318-36. doi: 10.1111/1467-8624.00281.


We assess the impact of the New Hope Project, an antipoverty program tested in a random assignment experimental design, on family functioning and developmental outcomes for preschool- and school-aged children (N = 913). New Hope offered wage supplements sufficient to raise family income above the poverty threshold and subsidies for child care and health insurance to adults who worked full-time. New Hope had strong positive effects on boys' academic achievement, classroom behavior skills, positive social behavior, and problem behaviors, as reported by teachers, and on boys' own expectations for advanced education and occupational aspirations. There were not corresponding program effects for girls. The child outcomes may have resulted from a combination of the following: Children in New Hope families spent more time in formal child care programs and other structured activities away from home than did children in control families. New Hope parents were employed more, had more material resources, reported more social support, and expressed less stress and more optimism about achieving their goals than did parents in the control sample. The results suggest that an anti-poverty program that provides support for combining work and family responsibilities can have beneficial effects on the development of school-age children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parenting
  • Parents*
  • Poverty / prevention & control*
  • Random Allocation
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors