The Family Rewards program provided cash incentives to families with low income for completing activities related to children’s education, family health, and parents’ work and education, with the goal of reducing immediate hardship and long-term poverty.
The Family Rewards program issued payments to participating families’ bank accounts for each activity that families completed or each condition that they met from an established list. The payments varied from $20 per month, per parent, for a parent maintaining public or private health insurance, to $600 when high school students accumulated 11 course credits or passed a statewide standardized exam. Payments were delivered every two months based on the activities or milestones recently completed.
Family Rewards incentivized activities to support children’s educational attainment, including school attendance, achievement levels on standardized tests, and parental engagement with students’ education. It also incentivized preventive health care practices, such as maintaining health insurance coverage for all members of the family. Finally, Family Rewards incentivized employment by providing payments for maintaining full-time work and participating in approved education and job-training activities. Families in the program received cash incentives every two months for up to three years.
Families were eligible for the program if they (1) had at least one child in fourth, seventh, or ninth grade, (2) lived in one of six high-poverty New York City neighborhoods (which generally had a poverty rate double the city’s overall poverty rate), (3) had a child enrolled in the National School Lunch Program (which served as a proxy for identifying families that earned income at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level), and (4) were permanent residents of the United States.
The Family Rewards program was implemented in New York City, NY.
The Family Rewards program was an earlier version of the Family Rewards 2.0 program, which offered cash incentives for education, health care, and work activities, and provided case management and supportive services.