Findings from the Self-Sufficiency Project: Effects on children and adolescents of a program that increased employment and income

Pamela Morris, Charles Michalopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper examines the effects on children of an antipoverty employment program for Canadian welfare recipients called the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP). The SSP made work pay better than welfare by offering a temporary, but generous, earnings supplement to single parents who left welfare for full-time employment. The SSP was tested using a rigorous random assignment research design. While the SSP was found to increase employment and income for parents of children in every age group, the effects of the program on the children themselves differed with their age. For very young children, the SSP had no effect on children's outcomes. For children in the middle childhood period at follow-up, the SSP increased children's cognitive functioning and health outcomes, but had no benefits on their social behavior. For adolescents, the SSP increased minor delinquency and substance use. The results are discussed in terms of their contribution to research and policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-239
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003



  • Experiments
  • Income
  • Maternal employment
  • Poverty
  • Welfare

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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