The principle guiding the New Hope Project — a demonstration program that was implemented in two inner-city areas in Milwaukee from 1994 through 1998 — was that anyone who works full time should not be poor. New Hope offered low-income people who were willing to work full time several benefits, each of which was available for three years: an earnings supplement to raise their income above the poverty level; subsidized health insurance; subsidized child care; and, for people who had difficulty finding full-time work, referral to a wage-paying community service job. The program was designed to increase employment and income as well as use of health insurance and licensed child care, and it was hoped that children would be the ultimate beneficiaries of these changes.
A team of researchers at MDRC and the University of Texas at Austin is examining New Hope’s effects in a largescale random assignment study. This interim report from the study focuses on the families and children of the 745 sample members who had at least one child between the ages of 1 and 10 when they entered the study. The new findings draw on administrative records and survey data covering the period up to five years after study entry (Year 5), that is, two years after the program ended. A final report will examine New Hope’s effects after eight years.