Evaluates a conditional cash transfer program, Family Rewards 2.0.

Family Rewards 2.0 was launched in July 2011 in the Bronx, New York and Memphis, Tennessee, modeled after the Opportunity NYC-Family Rewards program that was launched in 2007 “to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty by offering cash assistance to poor families to reduce immediate hardship, but conditioned the assistance on parents’ efforts to complete activities related to their children’s education, their family’s health care, and their work, in the hope of reducing poverty over the longer term” (p. ES-1). “Family Rewards 2.0 is a refinement of the original model in several ways, offering fewer rewards in each domain, restricting the education rewards to high school students, and offering guidance to help families earn rewards” (p. ES-1). Early findings of the implementation of the new design are presented and indicate that, after some recruitment and start up challenges in the first year, the program was operating as envisioned in both cities. (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

 Full publication title: Implementing A Conditional Cash Transfer Program In Two American Cities: Early Lessons from Family Rewards 2.0


Major Findings & Recommendations

Findings regarding implementation and reward receipt: • “Parents and teenagers had a good understanding of the rewards and the verification procedures, although they did experience a fair number of coupon rejections during the first two years” (p. ES-6). • “Nearly all families earned at least some rewards, and the average family who earned rewards earned $2,160 during Year 2” (p.ES-7). • “The family guidance component evolved substantially over time, moving from less intensive interactions focused on paperwork in Year 1 to more intensive interactions designed to help families take steps to earn rewards in Year 2” (p. ES 7-9). • “The program was implemented well in both cities, although differences in local context required adaptations by NPOs to stay connected with participants” (p. ES-9). • “Families in both cities were fairly involved in earning rewards, although families in Memphis earned somewhat less than families in the Bronx” (p. ES-10). Findings that compare Family Rewards 2.0 to 1.0: • “Families in Family Rewards 2.0 seem to have understood the rewards more completely than families in 1.0, and they were more likely to earn rewards” (p. ES 10). • “However offering fewer rewards meant that the total amount of cash transferred to families was less in Family Rewards 2.0 than in 1.0” (p. ES-11). • “When fully in place in Year 2, the revised model, and most probably the more intensive family guidance component, succeeded in increasing reward rates among the types of families who earned the least in Family Rewards 1.0” (p. ES-11). (Abstractor: Author and Website staff)