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New Book Shines Light on Successful Anti-Poverty Program

New Book Shines Light on Successful Anti-Poverty Program
AUSTIN, Texas—New Hope, an experimental program started by community activists and business leaders in Milwaukee to boost employment among the working poor and improve poor children’s lives, can be a model for national anti-poverty policies, says a new book co-authored by a professor of child development at The University of Texas at Austin.

The book, Higher Ground: New Hope for the Working Poor and Their Children, provides a compelling look at the program, using stories, surveys and employment records of individual participants.

“My co-authors and I wrote the book for a broad audience to reach the public and policymakers who might consider policies modeled on the New Hope program,” said Dr. Aletha Huston, the Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor of Child Development in the Department of Human Ecology. “We hope that the book will inspire others to replicate the program.”

Participants in the New Hope program were required to work a minimum of 30 hours per week to be eligible for earning supplements and health and child care subsidies. They also had access to career counseling.

The program not only increased work and reduced poverty, but also improved school achievement and reduced behavior problems for the children of participating adults. It increased children’s experience in childcare centers, after-school programs and other structured activities.

“Most significant to public policy is the long-term positive effect of the New Hope program on children,” said Huston. “The children weren’t part of the program’s intervention, but they clearly benefited from reduced poverty and access to health insurance and child care.”

Higher Ground by Greg Duncan, Huston and Thomas Weisner will be published by the Russell Sage Foundation this month. Duncan is a professor at Northwestern University, and Weisner is a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles
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Friday, 07 August 2020

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