Toward Reduced Poverty Across Generations: Full Report

Early Findings from New York City's Conditional Cash Transfer Program

By MDRC

March 10, 2013

Summary

In 2007, with the help of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a conditional cash transfer program (CCT) started in New York City as an experimental, privately funded, ghetto-busting initiative. The CCT program, adapted from Mexico, offered money for immediate poverty relief, but conditions the assistance on families improving their education and workforce skills, thus reducing intergenerational poverty over time. New York City’s Family Rewards was the first comprehensive CCT program implemented in a developed country. This comprehensive report offers a preliminary assessment of the program’s operations and effectiveness, and includes research methodology, extensive investigation, initial findings, executive summary, team conclusions and evaluation data gathered during the program’s first 2 years of operation.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Family Rewards is a two-generation initiative for parents and children with both short-term & long-term poverty-reduction goals.

Family Rewards believes financial incentives can influence individuals’ short-term choices to improve financial and social stability over the long term.

Findings & Stats

Direct Contact

Family Rewards was designed to avoid case management or intensive hand-holding, focusing instead on directing incentives toward participants. This test model was seen as easier and less costly to operate on a larger scale. 

Reward Disbursement

44% of the $14.7 million that families received through the program were earned for education rewards, 38% were for health rewards, and 18% were earned for workforce rewards.

Statements & Quotations