The Real Poverty Trap:

the evidence suggests that welfare-state programs enhance social mobility, thanks to little things like children of the poor having adequate nutrition and medical care. And conversely,of course, when such programs are absent or inadequate, the poor find themselves in a trap they often can’t escape, not because they lack the incentive, but because they lack the resources.

The stats make the article worth a read. Basically, if you make it easier for people to be less poor, people will be less likely to be poor. No surprise there.