This report examines the implementation and impacts of the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), which operated as a field trial in Ramsey County (which includes the City of St. Paul) between July 1996 and June 1998. Part of a state welfare reform initiative, the Ramsey County MFIP program (MFIP-R) was designed as a “work first” program which offered welfare recipients financial incentives for work and required them, after they had been on welfare for one year, to participate in job search activities to facilitate their quick entry into the workforce. Seven other counties operated MFIP demonstration programs offering the same financial incentives for work as MFIP-R; but these programs did not require recipients to participate in work-related activities until they had been on welfare for two years, and they offered a broader menu of employment-related activities under the participation mandate.
This study is part of a series of papers and reports produced in an evaluation of MFIP in all eight demonstration counties, which was conducted by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) under contract with Minnesota’s Department of Human Services (DHS). It is released in conjunction with the final report on the impacts of MFIP in the other seven field trial counties.
The evaluation analyzes the MFIP-R program from several perspectives using several data sources. Information from a recipient survey is used to describe how single-parent MFIP-R recipients experienced the program in Ramsey County and the kinds of jobs they found during the first year after they entered the program. Administrative records data are used to analyze the effects of the program on recipients’ employment, earnings, and welfare receipt within 12 months of program entry, compared with Minnesota’s traditional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program and its employment and training arm, known as STRIDE. Finally, the study compares the MFIP-R impacts in Ramsey County with the early MFIP results in three urban counties (Hennepin, Anoka, and Dakota Counties).