THE BRONX - The country's first conditional cash incentive program is nearing its end after disbursing $14 million to poor families in New York City.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's family rewards program began three years ago as a way to break the cycle of poverty. Its goal has been to improve the education and health of 2,400 participating families with the use of private money.

Researchers found that the incentives did increase high school attendance and helped more families get to the doctor, but did not improve student performance in elementary or middle schools.

The findings will be evaluated at the program's end in August. The mayor will then decide whether to start another similar incentive or try a larger one funded with taxpayer money.