Federal Welfare Reform Essay

Federal Welfare Reform Essay

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Federal Welfare Reform: A Critical Perspective

Abstract:
This project will examine “welfare reform,” which was signified by the signing of the Personal
Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWOA) in 1996. PRWOA replaced the original welfare
act of 1935, titled Aid to Dependent Children (later changed to Aid to Families with Dependent
Children), with the program Temporary Assistance to needy Families (TANF). Under PRWOA, TANF
was instated as a system of block grants allocated to states to implement their own forms of
assistance and replaced programs like the cash-assistance program, Aid to Families with Dependent
Children, and the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training. The most influential change of this
legislation among others has been the implementation of required work hours and strict time limits
to how long families may receive aid, implying that people can simply will their way out of poverty
provided they work hard enough. While the significant fall of TANF cash assistance caseloads
within the program’s first five years has been celebrated as proof of reform’s success, the new era
of welfare can only be considered a success if America views the transformation of the welfare
poor to the working poor an achievement.

Review of the Literature:
In conducting my research, it was interesting to find dramatically divergent perspectives on the
topic of welfare reform, especially considering that each perspective gave the impression that their
argument was based on quantitative facts. The sources I consulted that were affiliated with the
federal government, such as statistics and fact sheets from the Administration for Children and
Families (ACF) as well as the Whitehouse website, were the most optim...


... middle of paper ...


...erg, Heidi. “Recent TANF Proposals Would Hinder Successful State Efforts to Help Families
Overcome Barriers to Employment and Find Better- Paying Jobs.” Center on Budget and Policy
Priorities. 9 May 2002.

Melendez, Edwin et al. “Community College Participation in Welfare Programs: Do State Policies
Matter?” Community College Journal of Research and Practice. 27.3 (2003).

Shipler, David K. The Working Poor: Invisible in America. Vintage Books. New York, 2004.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

Factsheets “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).” October 2003.
.

The White House. Office of the Press Secretary. Factsheet. “President Calls for Action on
Welfare Reform.” 14 January 2003.
.

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