Despite the critical role child care subsidies play in welfare-to-work efforts, little research has examined how sites have approached putting these services together for families. The Urban Institute engaged in a multiyear study to help fill the information gap about the complex interactions of these two systems on behalf of welfare families (box 2). This study occurred in three phases.
Although a large number of job-ready welfare recipients have left welfare since the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193-PRWORA), 5.5 million "harder-to-serve" populations including those with substance abuse problems still remain in state TANF caseloads. Although researchers and policy makers need to better understand the connections between substance abuse and welfare dependency, little is known about states' response to substance-abusing TANF recipients.
Transportation assistance for low-income workers is complex, expensive, and rife with unintended consequences. Policymakers confuse ends and means when job access strategies are too focused on public transit systems. The policy challenge is helping low-income workers get to distant jobs on difficult schedules, but too often both policymakers and decisionmakers act as if the challenge is devising a way to make public transit "good enough" to serve the reverse commutes of low-income workers. This represents both a bias and a blind spot.
While policy-makers assert that increased public transit mobility can positively affect employment status for low-income persons, there is little empirical evidence to support this theory. It is generally assumed that public transit can effectively link unemployed, car-less, persons with appropriate job locations—hence the call for more public transit services to assist moving welfare recipients to gainful employment. Thus far, the available evidence is anecdotal, while general patterns of transit access in relationship to labour participation remain relatively unexplored.
This article examines the extent to which Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) recipients file income tax returns and take advantage of the Earned Income Credit (EIC), a program specifically designed to increase the economic self-sufficiency of lower income earners by supplementing earned and other income to make working more profitable. This study consisted primarily of Black and Hispanic women (n = 317), recruited for a longitudinal study designed to examine the effects of welfare reform on drug using and non-drug using welfare recipients.
The basic analysis describes how the income of a single parent with two children changes as she moves from not working to working at a part-time job at minimum wage, then to full-time work at minimum wage, and finally to a full-time job paying $9/hour. In calculating income, we consider the family's earnings, its Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grant, the cash value of food stamps it receives, federal and state earned income tax credits, any other state tax credits, and all federal and state tax liabilities.
This brief report is intended to assist the conversation regarding how housing to address critical housing needs can be provided. This report is by no means complete. It paints a small picture of what the universe of housing trust funds is doing to address extremely low-income housing needs. Twelve state housing trust funds selected for their emphasis on serving this population and were surveyed. Ten responded in the limited time frame available and their responses are summarized on the following pages. (author abstract)
Child care subsidies are an important support service for families moving from welfare to work. The connections between child care and work, and the work oriented focus within the welfare system since welfare reform, have increased the need for links between the welfare-to-work and child care subsidy systems to ensure families receiving TANF and moving off TANF are connected to child care subsidies. This paper summarizes findings from the third phase of the study.