Baby’s First Years is a pathbreaking study of the causal impact of monthly, unconditional cash gifts to low-income mothers and their children in the first three years of the child’s life. The gifts are funded through charitable foundations. The study will identify whether reducing poverty can affect early childhood development and the family processes that support children’s development.

Information for participants

about the cash gift and card can

be found here.

Learn more about the researchers leading the project 

Recruitment completed in June 2019. 

Learn more about the study design and data collection here.

One thousand eligible mothers have been recruited in hospitals at the time of their child’s birth across four sites — New York City, greater New Orleans, the Twin Cities, and the Omaha metropolitan area. Mothers receive a monthly unconditional cash gift of either $333/month or $20/month for the first 40 months of their child’s life. Recruitment of study participants began in May 2018 and ended in June 2019. Quantitative data is being collected just after birth and when the child reaches 12, 24, and 36 months of age.

A companion qualitative study is being conducted in two of the four sites.

The qualitative study will involve four waves of semi-structured interviews with a subset of mothers in two sites over the course of the study to ask about their views and experiences of the cash gifts. These data will provide an opportunity to learn about how mothers describe in their own words their experiences with the cash gifts, including the meaning mothers attach to it, spend it, and how they think it has affected their lives.

Funded by NIH (NIH R01HD087384) and a consortium of private foundations, the study is led by an interdisciplinary group of experts in poverty and child development. These principal investigators are collaborating with a team of neuroscientists at each site who will lead the measurement of children’s brain development at 36 months of age.  Click here to learn more about the researchers.

© 2018

Affiliated Institutions