This paper analyzes the effect of growing up on welfare on young people's involvement in a variety of social and health risks. Young people in welfare families are much more likely to take both social and health risks. Much of the apparent link between family welfare history and risk taking disappears, however, once family structure and mothers’ decisions regarding their own risk taking and investment in their children are taken into account. Interestingly, the authors find no significant effect of socio-economic status per se. Overall, no evidence is found that growing up on welfare causes young people to engage in risky behavior.