Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

0test Project for Mothers on Welfare Finds Some Success 'New Chance,' a Seven-Year Program, Seeks to Start Young Women on Path to Education, Self-Sufficiency

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

0test Project for Mothers on Welfare Finds Some Success 'New Chance,' a Seven-Year Program, Seeks to Start Young Women on Path to Education, Self-Sufficiency

Article excerpt

AS Congress considers welfare reform and several states push for tighter eligibility for requirements, a report released yesterday provides a clue to the kind of approach that may help get young, disadvantaged mothers off welfare.

The report says a two-year-old test project - New Chance, that provides comprehensive services for young mothers on welfare and their children - is showing initially positive results. The Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) designed the program and released the report.

New Chance is a research and demonstration project that uses a comprehensive set of services geared toward self-sufficiency. It aims to equip young women to find jobs and get off welfare early in life, and to become better parents. It operates out of 16 sites in 10 states and includes 2,300 young mothers and their children. Each site is run by a community-based organization.

MDRC is in the second year of a seven-year study measuring the effectiveness of New Chance. It has found that the project is feasible to run and is reaching the women it targets.

New Chance enrolls mothers aged 16 to 22 who are high-school dropouts and receiving welfare - a group that often finds itself too old for high school-based programs or too young for programs targeting adult recipients.

It's a comprehensive program, providing education and employment services, parenting education, child care, and personal case management to the mothers. Children receive health care and develop-mentally oriented child care services. All the services are usually under one roof.

The sites are supported primarily through public funding from state and local human services and job-training agencies, with 28 public and private funders supporting the overall costs of New Chance.

The mothers typically attend the project five days a week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On-site child-care is often provided. The mornings are spent in classes that prepare women for the high school general equivalency diploma (GED); afternoon classes cover possible careers and employers' expectations, decision-making, family planning and child development. …

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