Child Trends, 4301 Connecticute Avenue, NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20008. Tel: 202-572-6000; Fax: 202-362-5533; Web site: http://www.childtrends.org.
Reports - Descriptive
Over the past decade, a quite sophisticated body of research and data has developed on the implications of welfare reform and devolution for children and on the development of children in low-income families more generally. However, policy initiatives and findings from recent research suggest several ways to improve and expand available data. Studies consistently indicate that outcomes for children in low-income families and families that receive welfare assistance are substantially below outcomes for children in more advantaged families. This Research Brief was developed to update discussions of welfare reform through the lens of child well-being. It briefly sketches the history of research on welfare reform and children and shares the conceptual models that provided initial mappings of the ways in which welfare reform might affect children. The brief then presents a revised conceptual model that takes into account issues raised in the actual implementation of welfare reform, such as whether any income gains experienced by low-income families translate into additional resources for children. At the same time, the revised conceptual model acknowledges new research findings that have bearing on welfare reform, such as the role of biological fathers, father-figures, and the partners of mothers in families receiving or leaving welfare. Finally, this Research Brief highlights ongoing disparities and identifies areas in which research gaps exists, pointing out, for instance, the need for better information about adolescents and infants whose mothers have entered the work force in the wake of welfare reform. (Contains 3 figures.)