Effectiveness of Cash-Plus Programs on Early Childhood Outcomes

Recently, many cash transfers have been marketed as cash-plus programs to improve the effectiveness of the transfer. A recent study featuring PISC International Scholar and External Advisory Board Member David Humphreys, PhD, evaluates the impact of these cash-plus transfers on children and infants less than five years old. Most transfers are conducted during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, often in communities facing high rates of poverty and food insecurity. The team systematically used data from forty-two databases, donor agencies, grey literature sources, and trial registries. Results indicate that cash-plus food transfers were most effective in preventing acute malnutrition in crisis contexts. Furthermore, cash plus primary healthcare transfers are the most effective in reducing mortality. Although further research is necessary to compare basic cash transfers to cash-plus transfers, it is evident that cash plus food or primary care programs are the most beneficial to children under the age of five living in vulnerable communities.

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