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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Wood, Robert; Wheeler, Justin
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2006

    Spurred on by President Clinton’s promise “to end welfare as we know it,” Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996. This federal welfare reform legislation made sweeping changes to federal welfare policy, imposing work requirements on recipients as a condition for cash assistance, as well as lifetime limits on benefit receipt. The legislation also gave states much greater flexibility in setting their specific welfare policies. It established the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides a block grant to states—or a fixed, guaranteed level of funding regardless of the number of families eligible for cash assistance. Under this funding arrangement, states have a great deal of latitude in choosing how they spend their federal TANF dollars and can spend these funds on a wide variety of programs, as long as they are consistent with the broad goals of TANF set out in the federal legislation.

    In the ten years since federal welfare reform, states have chosen a variety of approaches to...

    Spurred on by President Clinton’s promise “to end welfare as we know it,” Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996. This federal welfare reform legislation made sweeping changes to federal welfare policy, imposing work requirements on recipients as a condition for cash assistance, as well as lifetime limits on benefit receipt. The legislation also gave states much greater flexibility in setting their specific welfare policies. It established the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which provides a block grant to states—or a fixed, guaranteed level of funding regardless of the number of families eligible for cash assistance. Under this funding arrangement, states have a great deal of latitude in choosing how they spend their federal TANF dollars and can spend these funds on a wide variety of programs, as long as they are consistent with the broad goals of TANF set out in the federal legislation.

    In the ten years since federal welfare reform, states have chosen a variety of approaches to implementing their TANF programs. Because of the greater flexibility offered to states by PRWORA, there is now substantially more state-to-state variation in welfare programs than there was in the years leading up to TANF. This paper takes a close look at the implementation of TANF in three states—New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. We begin with a brief overview of the characteristics of the three states and their TANF caseloads. Next, we examine their basic TANF policies and how these policies compare to other states. We then describe their experiences with implementing these policies and provide more detail about the programs and services they offer TANF recipients in their states. We end the paper with a discussion of their TANF-related outcomes and how these compare to the rest of the United States. (author abstract)