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Cash Assistance Policies

This policy inventory compiles some family cash assistance policies that states can choose to put into place to support economic security for families with young children.

Universal Basic Income

  • Establishing a guaranteed income program

More than 48 guaranteed income programs have been started in cities nationwide since 2020. Some efforts are publicly funded, and others have nongovernmental support.

New Mexico
passed a guaranteed income pilot in 2024.


Stanford University Basic Income Lab: Map of Universal Basic Income Experiments and Related Programs

Economic Security Project: Guaranteed Income: States Lead the Way in Reimagining the Social Safety Net and Cash as Care: Healthy Moms. Healthy Families. Healthy Communities.

New York Times: Guaranteed Income Programs Spread, City by City

NCSL: Economic Mobility Enacted Legislation Database

Baby Bonds or Child Trust Funds

  • Creating subsidized wealth building and investment accounts for individual children


As of 2023, baby bonds proposals have passed in Washington, DC, Connecticut, and California and been introduced at the federal level and in eight additional states.


NCSL: Economic Mobility Enacted Legislation Database

Prosperity Now: Baby Bonds

Urban Institute: The State of Baby Bonds

Urban Institute: As Baby Bonds Gain Momentum, States Must Grapple with These Four Implementation Questions

Prosperity Now: Toolkit: The American Opportunity Accounts Act and How to Talk about Baby Bonds

Design Baby Bonds to Reduce Wealth Inequities

  • Automatic enrollment and universal eligibility
  • Higher seed-fund amounts for children in the lowest-wealth households
  • Flexible allowable uses of funds
  • Making bonds publicly funded
  • Providing substantial seed amounts and value at disbursement
  • Designating the child as the individual recipient of the funds at adulthood


Urban Institute: What Do We Know About Baby Bonds?

Make Cash Transfer Policies Work for Families

  • Start cash assistance policies during pregnancy.
  • Remove administrative barriers that make it challenging for families of infants and toddlers to access cash transfers.
  • Support enrollment in cash transfer programs for families of infants and toddlers by enacting inclusive eligibility requirements.
  • Increase the value of cash transfers for the families of infants and toddlers.
  • Incorporate cash transfers into comprehensive infant and toddler poverty reduction strategies that also include in-kind support.


Child Trends: Cash Transfers Support Infant and Toddler Development

Center on Poverty and Social Policy: Starting Sooner: Should Cash Payments Begin During Pregnancy?

Unemployment Insurance
  • Setting new unemployment insurance policy.

States can set their own policies on the coverage, duration, and amount of state-provided unemployment benefits, and the New America playbook noted below shows that implementation – how unemployment insurance is delivered – matters.

State policies vary considerably. Only one state offers a minimum of 28 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits.


CBPP: Policy Basics: How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Are Available?

CBPP: Historic Unemployment Programs Provided Vital Support to Workers and the Economy During Pandemic, Offer Roadmap for Future Reform

New America: A Playbook for Improving Unemployment Insurance Delivery

NCCP: Early Childhood Profiles

CBPP: States Should Strengthen Unemployment Insurance Systems to Weather Possible Downturn Ahead

Establishing/Increasing Minimum Wage

  • Establish a state minimum wage that meets or exceeds $12/hour and is indexed to inflation for a family of three

Eleven states have enacted a minimum wage that meets this threshold.


NCCP: Early Childhood Profiles

PN3 Policy Impact Center: State Minimum Wage