The 1996 welfare reform forced many poor parents into the labor market, with little understanding of how the parents' workforce participation would affect family life in general and the children in particular. In this paper, the authors use empirical data from a longitudinal study of a random sample of current and former welfare recipients and their children to examine the relationship between parental workforce participation, welfare receipt, and children's academic outcomes. Overall, findings show that children whose parents worked during only one or two of the three waves, as compared with those whose parents worked during all three waves, are significantly more likely to be achieving academically, receiving A's and B's, at Wave 3. The authors found a number of other factors to be significant predictors of children's academic achievement. They found that academic achievement decreases with age, and that girls are more likely to receive A's and B's than boys. They also found a strong relationship between academic achievement in Wave 1 and receiving A's and B's in Wave 3. They argue that while some level of parental employment may be beneficial for children's academic achievement, long-term employment in low-wage work seems to negatively impact their achievement. (author abstract)
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