How do conditional cash transfers (CCTs) to low-income families affect youth time use, family interactions, youth academic expectations and motivations, and youth mental health and behavior problems? Opportunity New York City Family Rewards (ONYC-Family Rewards) is a CCT program designed to increase human capital by encouraging changes in both parent and child behavior. The cash transfers are offered to families in three keys areas: children’s education, family preventive health care, and parents’ employment. The core evaluation of this program was designed and conducted by MDRC, and involves random assignment of families to a program group offered the opportunity to take advantage of the CCTs for three years or a control group that is not. This was an add-on to the original study in which investigators examined impacts of the program on key “mechanisms of action” that may underlie any impacts of the program as well as key outcomes not targeted directly by this program (e.g., youth mental health and problem behavior). The add-on examined approximately 500 youth who entered the study in the ninth grade and their families, selected from the full sample of the ONYC-Family Rewards Program evaluation (5,000 families and 11,000 children). The add-on assessment occurred approximately two years after families enrolled in the program, at which point the research team conducted surveys with parents and their youth. The team has fielded the parent and youth survey instruments, conducted analyses of the impact of the program on outcomes of interest, and is currently drafting a report on the findings for release in 2012.
How do conditional cash transfers (CCTs) to low-income families affect youth time use, family interactions, youth academic expectations and motivations, and youth mental health and behavior problems?