Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2016

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Christine Stauber

Second Advisor

Dr. Sheryl Strasser

Abstract

Conditional cash transfer programs provide poor families with cash payments when they meet established behavioral requirements. These programs aim to reduce the effects of poverty in the short term by providing cash transfers. In the long-term, the conditions focused on health and education invest in human capital to address generational poverty.

This capstone outlines the successes and lessons learned from conditional cash transfer programs in the United States and abroad to inform the policy implications for the design and implementation of a CCT in DeKalb County, GA. Conditional cash transfers are an innovative approach used for decades in developing countries. DeKalb County would benefit from a CCT program that aims to improve high school graduation rates and poor health outcomes. The CCT conditions should dictate regular school attendance, proper wellness visits for women and children, and adherence to Georgia’s vaccination schedule.

I propose the design and implementation of a conditional cash transfer program in South DeKalb County using private funds as modeled by Opportunity NYC. The pilot program should initially target the community assessment areas (CAAs) of Redan, SW DeKalb/MLK and McNair/Cedar Grove because they are disproportionately affected by chronic illnesses, violence and high infant mortality rates compared with other CAAs within DeKalb County. I suggest the following recommendations:

1) Complete a needs assessment to understand the social, political and economic needs of the targeted communities. 2) Discuss feasibility of a CCT by constructing an advocacy coalition with social local organizations with health and education focus.

3) Develop a task force featuring non-profits, schools in the targeted CAAs and government agencies to support the implementation of the program. 4) Construct a pilot CCT program that focuses on improving health outcomes and educational attainment in South DeKalb County using effective CCT models.

5) Design an evaluation protocol based on the toolkit provided by Opportunity NYC to determine the program’s effectiveness.

Index Words: poverty, health outcomes, dekalb county, conditional cash transfers

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