The Effects of a Time-Limited Welfare Program on Children: The Moderating Role of Parents' Risk of Welfare Dependency

Pamela Morris, Dan Bloom, James Kemple, Richard Hendra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study examined the effect of a time-limited welfare program on school-age children using data on almost 3,000 children (ages 5-17 at the four year follow up-point) from the random assignment evaluation of Florida's Family Transition Program (FTP). FTP was one of the first welfare reform initiatives to impose a time limit on the receipt of cash assistance, and it combined the time limit with a rich array of mandatory services. The effects of FTP on children were moderated by families' risk of long-term welfare dependency. Contrary to predictions laid out at the outset, there were few effects of FTP on middle childhood and adolescent children for children of parents most likely to be long-term welfare dependent (those most likely to hit the time limit). However, consistent negative effects on this same age group of children were found for children of parents least likely to be long-term welfare dependent - parents who had the largest employment gains - and effects of FTP were most strongly negative for the oldest adolescent children. The findings suggest a different theoretical model for movements into employment than the one suggested in the previous literature for job loss. The findings are discussed in terms of their contribution to research and policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-874
Number of pages24
JournalChild development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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