Safety Net Investments in Children

Safety Net Investments in Children. Brookings Institution. Hilary W. Hoynes and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach.  March 8, 2018

 In this paper, the authors examine what groups of children are served by core childhood social safety net programs—including Medicaid, EITC, CTC, SNAP, and AFDC/TANF—and how they have changed over time. They find that virtually all gains in spending on the social safety net for children since 1990 have gone to families with earnings, and to families with income above the poverty line. These trends are the result of welfare reform and the expansion of in-work tax credits. The authors review the available research and find that access to safety net programs during childhood improves outcomes for children and society over the long run. This evidence suggests that the recent changes to the social safety net may have lasting negative impacts on the poorest children. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 67 pages].

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