The Family Rewards 2.0 program provided cash incentives to low-income families receiving government assistance for completing activities related to children’s education, family health, and parents’ work and education, with the goal of reducing long-term poverty.

The Family Rewards 2.0 program provided cash incentives to low-income families receiving government assistance for completing activities related to children’s education, family health, and parents’ work and education, with the goal of reducing long-term poverty.

The Family Rewards 2.0 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 $40 for each month that a child in the household attended 95 percent of scheduled school days, to $400 when a parent earned a GED.

Family Rewards 2.0 incentivized activities to support children’s educational attainment, including achievement levels on standardized tests and parental engagement with students’ education. It also incentivized preventive health care practices for the family, such as receiving annual medical checkups. Finally, Family Rewards 2.0 incentivized employment by providing payments for maintaining full-time work and earning a GED.

In addition, this updated version of the Family Rewards program provided case management—including discussions of family finances and budgeting—and supportive services to help families achieve the goals linked to cash incentives. 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 entering 9th or 10th grade by the start of the study, (2) received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, (3) lived in an area served by one of four neighborhood partner organizations that delivered the program , and (4) had at least one parent age 18 or older who was a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

The Family Rewards 2.0 program was implemented in the Bronx, NY, and Memphis, TN.

The Family Rewards 2.0 program was an updated version of the Family Rewards program, which offered cash incentives for education, health care, and work activities, but did not provide case management or supportive services.

Year evaluation began: 2011
Populations and employment barriers: Cash assistance recipients, Parents
Intervention services: Case management, Financial incentives, Supportive services, Financial education
Setting(s): Urban only

Effectiveness Rating and Effect By Outcome Domain

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Outcome domain Term Effectiveness rating Effect in 2018 dollars and percentages Effect in standard deviations Sample size
Increase earnings Short-term Not supported unfavorable $-816 per year -0.04 2565
Long-term Supported favorable $1,150 per year 0.06 2565
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase employment Short-term Little evidence to assess support unfavorable -2% (in percentage points) -0.05 2565
Long-term Little evidence to assess support unfavorable -2% (in percentage points) -0.05 2565
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Decrease benefit receipt Short-term Not supported unfavorable $146 per year 0.05 2456
Long-term Little evidence to assess support unfavorable $118 per year 0.04 2456
Very long-term No evidence to assess support
Increase education and training All measurement periods Little evidence to assess support favorable 4% (in percentage points) 0.08 2016

Studies of this Intervention

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Study Quality Rating Study Counts per Rating
High High 1