Wisconsin’s Learnfare program is intended to encourage enrollment, regular attendance, and high school graduation or the completion of high school equivalency programs among 13- to 19-year-old recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). These teenagers, who can be either dependent children or parents, risk losing part or all of their families’ monthly AFDC grants if they do not maintain enrollment and acceptable school attendance. In addition, the program offers participating families assistance in identifying and correcting the causes of attendance problems, and services such as day care for the teenagers’ children, transportation, and referral to alternative education programs. The program was administered by the Department of Health and Social Services until July 1996, when that responsibility was transferred to the new Department of Workforce Development.
This evaluation report describes the effects of Learnfare on the school participation and school completion of teenagers and on their families’ public assistance payments. Because individuals entered the sample at different times, some were in the study for longer than others. All sample members were tracked for at least four semesters after introduction to Learnfare. Six semesters of data are reported for those who entered the sample earliest. (author abstract)