The Family Rewards program provided cash incentives to low-income families 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 provided cash incentives to low-income families 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, every two months, for each activity that families completed or each condition that they met from an established list. The payments varied from $25 for participating in semiannual parent-teacher conferences, to $400 when a child graduated from high school.

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 4th, 7th, or 9th grade, (2) lived in one of six high-poverty New York City  neighborhoods (which generally had a poverty rate double than the city’s overall poverty rate), (3) 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 also provided case management and supportive services.

Year evaluation began: 2007
Populations and employment barriers: Very low income, Parents
Intervention services: Financial incentives
Setting(s): Urban only

Effectiveness Rating and Effect By Outcome Domain

Back to top
View Table Help Need more context or definitions for the Outcome Domain table below? View the "Table Help" to get more insight into terms, measures, and definitions.

Scroll to the right to view the rest of the table columns

Outcome domain Term Effectiveness rating Effect in 2018 dollars and percentages Effect in standard deviations Sample size
Increase earnings Short-term Supported favorable $4,706 per year 0.23 4994
Long-term Supported favorable $3,640 per year 0.17 4993
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase employment Short-term Mixed support favorable 1% (in percentage points) 0.02 4994
Long-term Little evidence to assess support 0
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Decrease benefit receipt Short-term Little evidence to assess support unfavorable $44 per year 0.02 4966
Long-term Supported favorable $-39 per year -0.01 4749
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase education and training All measurement periods Little evidence to assess support favorable 1% (in percentage points) 0.02 3082

Studies of this Intervention

Back to top
Study Quality Rating Study Counts per Rating
High High 1