Working Paper No. 7: Workforce Development, Welfare Reform, & Child Well-Being

Harvard University, Center on the Developing Child

Social Policy

Harvard Center on the Developing Child, December 2009

This working paper, one of an ongoing series of research reports published by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, explores the debate around workforce development and welfare reform. This debate often focuses exclusively on the skills, employment, and economic self-sufficiency of parents. Consequently, little attention has been paid to whether these programs can improve the chances that children in these families will break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Can policies promoting family self-sufficiency increase both parents’ incomes and their children’s school success? What kinds of work supports matter most for improving child well-being? How can these policies play a role in addressing national economic problems?