Panel Paper: Multiple Welfare Program Participation and School Performance Among Low-Income Children: The Moderating Role of Early Education Quality

Thursday, November 6, 2014 : 2:45 PM
Jemez (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Yang Jiang and Yumiko Aratani, Columbia University
Prior research has examined the impact of the receipt of only a single type of public assistance (e.g., child-care subsidy) on the academic skills of low-income children; however, little is known about the effect of multiple-public-assistance participation on the academic performance of children during early school years. This study attempts to fill this gap by examining 1) whether participation in multiple public-assistance programs improves the academic performance of low-income children when compared to participation in only one form of assistance or none; 2) whether the process quality and structural aspects of quality of preschool education moderate such relationship.

Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), a longitudinal birth cohort study of children born between 1998 and 2000, this study will employ propensity score matching (PSM) and regression modeling methods to examine the possible association between welfare program participation and school performance among low-income children. The goal is to provide evidence that would allow policy makers to better evaluate the complex impact of multiple public-assistance efforts on the academic performance of young children, and thus better address the needs of low-income families with young children. In addition, it highlights the importance of using both welfare programs and high-quality early-education programs to enhance the development of low-income children.