The Wall Street Journal provides an informative update on the second generation Family Rewards conditional cash transfer program. The story helps set the record straight by pointing out that the original Family Rewards program produced some promising findings—something that hasn’t received much attention in most media reports.

One of those promising findings was improved on-time graduation rates for students with basic academic proficiencies. This is important because many students who are academically proficient in the 9th grade do not remain proficient, nor do they graduate on time. The research suggests the reward payments may have motivated proficient students to remain focused, maintain their academic success, and graduate.

The story also describes how findings of this sort enabled program designers to simplify the second generation Family Rewards program and focus it on interventions that were most effective. This demonstrates another important point; learning is iterative and program designers evolve successful programs through experience.

We are excited that CEO and MDRC are now testing a refined version of Family Rewards, and we look forward to the additional learning that will be produced. Public Works Partners is also proud to have provided technical assistance to the human services organizations that are implementing the second generation Family Rewards program.