Health benefits from lone parents welfare to work policies unlikely

Welfare-to-work interventions and their effects on the mental and physical health of lone parents and their children

This review indicates that welfare to work interventions probably have little to no effect on the health of lone parents. The review also found that effects on lone parent employment rates were small, as those who were not in the interventions often found work on their own.

The studies included in the review were large welfare to work studies, conducted in North America, where welfare reform was implemented in the 1990s.

Key findings include:
· Although in some countries law-makers and policy advisors have argued that such policies will have positive health benefits, the Cochrane review findings indicate that there is probably very little to no effect on health.
· Poverty and depression remained high among all participants in the studies analysed, whether they took part in a welfare to work intervention or not.
· Lone parents appear to find work by themselves when jobs are available.
· Economic conditions may have a stronger influence on lone parent employment than interventions in the welfare system that mandate employment.
· Employment increased both for parents who were in welfare to work programmes and those who were not, but income did not increase.

Read the review here

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