This analysis examines whether young children's (N = 494) general physical health is associated with parental employment, welfare receipt, and health care access within a low-income population transitioning from welfare to work. A latent physical health measure derived from survey and medical chart data is used to capture children's poor health, and parental ratings of child health are used to identify excellent health. Controlling for a host of factors associated with children's health outcomes, results show that children of caregivers who are unemployed and off welfare have better health than children of caregivers who are working and off welfare. Children whose caregivers are unemployed and on welfare, or combining work and welfare, have health outcomes similar to children of caregivers who are working and off welfare. Health care access characteristics, such as gaps in health insurance coverage, source of primary care setting, and type of health insurance are associated with children's general physical health. Implications of these results for state TANF programs are discussed.
- Child well-being
- Physical health
- Welfare reform
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science