Poor Parents Get Cash for Library Cards, Medical Check-ups

Filed under: Weird But True, Opinions

cash in handA New York City program that pays parents for getting their kids a library card, taking them to school or to a medical check-up has paid out more than $7.6 billion so far.

The program has been in place since September 2007, and is completely funded with private donations. It costs about $53 million annually, and experts say it is too early to tell whether the incentive of cold, hard cash in return for responsible parenting is making a difference for poor kids.

However, out of 5,700 participating children, 3,000 have gotten library cards, 3,600 had an annual physical check up, and roughly the same number have close to perfect school attendance records. City officials plan to compare these numbers with a "control group" of families who are not participating.

New York City pays families $200 per medical check up and $50 for each library card. There is a cap on the amount of money "good" parents can earn -- each participating family can receive an annual maximum of $5,000.

I'm all for teaching good parenting skills, especially to moms and dads who may not have great role models. On the other hand, what kind of message does it send to fork over fifty bucks just because you took your kid to the library? I have to wonder who came up with this plan. Has society fallen so far that the only way to create good parents is to pay them?

What do you think? Should parents be paid for doing what should be expected? And who benefits? Do the kids really see a difference in their lives?
Should parents be paid for parenting?
If it helps create good parents, yes28 (25.9%)
No, what happens when the cash flow stops?57 (52.8%)
Not sure, what are the long-term effects?23 (21.3%)

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.