In the UK, Prime Minister Brown has pledged £200 grants in exchange for participating in health and social programs:
Ten pilot projects in low-income neighbourhoods will trial the one-off grants as part of a £125 million three-year drive announced in the Budget to find innovative solutions to child poverty.
Based on schemes in the US, where parents are rewarded for things like making sure their children attend health check-ups and receive immunisation jabs, the grants are targeted at the most hard-to-reach parents who currently do not take up services offered by children’s centres.
The pilots will test whether offering cash incentives can encourage socially-excluded parents to participate in agreed programmes of action to improve their children’s well-being.
I’m actually not aware of programs like that here in the US, but I think they’re a great idea. It’s a small price to pay for healthy kids and a little boost to social mobility.