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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: Bagdasaryan, Sofya; Matthias, Ruth; Ong, Paul; Houston, Douglas
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    The federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 was the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. welfare program for poor families with children since its inception in the 1935 Social Security Act. To comply with the new federal law, California passed its Temporary Assistance to Needy Families plan in August 1997. Counties began implementing the new program, CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids), on January 1, 1998.

    The federal law increased work participation requirements for able-bodied adults and restricted the circumstances under which recipients can be exempted from working or engaging in work-related activities. If adults fail to comply with program rules without good cause, states reduce or eliminate cash aid to their households. These sanctions, or the threat of these sanctions, are intended both to motivate recipients to comply with work-related program requirements and, for those under sanction, to hasten their return to compliance (generally referred to as “curing” or “lifting” the sanctions).

    The...

    The federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 was the most sweeping overhaul of the U.S. welfare program for poor families with children since its inception in the 1935 Social Security Act. To comply with the new federal law, California passed its Temporary Assistance to Needy Families plan in August 1997. Counties began implementing the new program, CalWORKs (California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids), on January 1, 1998.

    The federal law increased work participation requirements for able-bodied adults and restricted the circumstances under which recipients can be exempted from working or engaging in work-related activities. If adults fail to comply with program rules without good cause, states reduce or eliminate cash aid to their households. These sanctions, or the threat of these sanctions, are intended both to motivate recipients to comply with work-related program requirements and, for those under sanction, to hasten their return to compliance (generally referred to as “curing” or “lifting” the sanctions).

    The federal legislation gave states some leeway in defining the terms of recipient compliance and in prescribing the severity of the sanction for noncompliance. In California, CalWORKs requires adult heads of single-parent families to engage in 32 hours a week of work and work-related activities averaged over a month (the federal minimum in order to count toward the state’s work participation rate requirement is 30 hours). As under prior law, California imposes partial-family sanctions: a reduced cash grant to children in families in which the adult or adults have lost assistance because of noncompliance. In California, the policy did not change markedly, but sanctions are imposed more frequently than under the Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) program, the predecessor to CalWORKs.

    In order to better understand how California counties administer sanctions, the University of California’s Welfare Policy Research Project commissioned a study to answer six questions:

    (1) How do counties implement sanction procedures prescribed by CalWORKs? (2) How, if at all, do counties attempt to prevent sanctions, and how do they help recipients to lift a sanction once it has been imposed? (3) How knowledgeable are county welfare workers about CalWORKs sanction policies, and (4) what opinions do they hold about the purpose and efficacy of sanctions? (5) How well do recipients in these counties understand sanction policies, and (6) what have their experiences been with these policies? To address these questions, we examined in depth the sanction policies and procedures in four highly disparate counties: Alameda, Fresno, Kern, and San Diego. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Davis, Dana-Ain; Aparicio, Ana; Jacobs, Audrey; Kochiyama, Akemi; Queeley, Andrea; Thompson, Beverley Yuen; Mullings, Leith
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    In 1996, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, popularly known as welfare reform. Title I of this legislation replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) entitlement program with Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF). TANF is a block grant from the federal government that provides states with an annual Family Assistance grant. There is a five-year lifetime limit on the receipt of TANF funds and after two years all able-bodied recipients must work full time for their benefits.

    Conservative and neo-liberal politicians have lauded the success of welfare reform for decreasing the welfare rolls in the media. However, recent scholarship has pointed to the disproportionate impact of welfare reform policy on communities of color. Economic vulnerabilities due to race and ethnicity have long been one aspect of poverty. The racial imbalance of who constitutes the poor has been accentuated by welfare reform policy, as immigrants, Latina, African American and Asian women absorb the punitive aspects of...

    In 1996, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, popularly known as welfare reform. Title I of this legislation replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) entitlement program with Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF). TANF is a block grant from the federal government that provides states with an annual Family Assistance grant. There is a five-year lifetime limit on the receipt of TANF funds and after two years all able-bodied recipients must work full time for their benefits.

    Conservative and neo-liberal politicians have lauded the success of welfare reform for decreasing the welfare rolls in the media. However, recent scholarship has pointed to the disproportionate impact of welfare reform policy on communities of color. Economic vulnerabilities due to race and ethnicity have long been one aspect of poverty. The racial imbalance of who constitutes the poor has been accentuated by welfare reform policy, as immigrants, Latina, African American and Asian women absorb the punitive aspects of welfare reform.

    To address these issues, the New York State Scholar Practitioner Team sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Devolution Initiative developed the Community Outreach and Research Project. This project was organized in concert with three other New York State Devolution Initiative grantees: The Children’s Defense Fund-NY, Inc; Citizens Action of New York; and Citizens’ Committee for Children. The project also benefited from the support of the New York Immigration Coalition. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Pandey, Shanta; Porterfield, Shirley; Choi-Ko, Hyeji; Yoon, Hong-Sik
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2003

    This paper documents the impact of the 1996 federal welfare legislation on rural families in Missouri. We analyze primary data obtained from interviews with 162 single-mother families with children residing in six rural counties in Missouri who are either former or current welfare recipients. This information was substantiated by focus group interviews with current or former welfare recipients conducted between 1998 and 2000. The results provide useful insights into the impacts of welfare reform on families in rural America. Welfare recipients in rural areas have higher levels of education and job experience than the general welfare population in the nation, but they live in areas with fewer job opportunities and very poor public transportation. Those who are employed are making an average of $5.50 per hour and continue to live in poverty. With the economy slowing down across the nation, rural welfare recipients are beginning to increase again, after several years of decline. For rural women to exit welfare, improvement in a variety of work support programs including wages, EITC...

    This paper documents the impact of the 1996 federal welfare legislation on rural families in Missouri. We analyze primary data obtained from interviews with 162 single-mother families with children residing in six rural counties in Missouri who are either former or current welfare recipients. This information was substantiated by focus group interviews with current or former welfare recipients conducted between 1998 and 2000. The results provide useful insights into the impacts of welfare reform on families in rural America. Welfare recipients in rural areas have higher levels of education and job experience than the general welfare population in the nation, but they live in areas with fewer job opportunities and very poor public transportation. Those who are employed are making an average of $5.50 per hour and continue to live in poverty. With the economy slowing down across the nation, rural welfare recipients are beginning to increase again, after several years of decline. For rural women to exit welfare, improvement in a variety of work support programs including wages, EITC, Food Stamps, childcare, and transportation will have to be made. In addition, opportunities for postsecondary education must be available for low-income women who want to pursue their education beyond high school. (author abstract)

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