April, 2004
Lashawn Richburg-Hayes, Stephen Freedman

In MDRC’s study of over 160,000 single-parent welfare recipients, families who repeatedly return to welfare assistance—“cyclers”—were less disadvantaged in the labor market than long-term welfare recipients. At the same time, they were less able than short-term recipients to attain stable employment and to work without welfare.


The Effects of Enhanced Versus Traditional Job Clubs in Los Angeles

August, 2008

This report, from the Employment Retention and Advancement Project, finds that unemployed welfare recipients in an enhanced job club had no better employment outcomes than participants in a traditional job club. At the end of the 18-month follow-up period, about half of both groups were employed.

The welfare system has been transformed over the past two decades, notably through the introduction of stricter work requirements and time limits on cash assistance in the 1990s. At the same time, government at both the federal and the state level invested in offering financial work supports of unprecedented scope to low-income parents. A top priority on the national...

The federal welfare overhaul of 1996 ushered in myriad policy changes aimed at getting low-income parents off public assistance and into employment. These changes — especially cash welfare’s transformation from an entitlement into a time-limited benefit contingent on work participation — have intensified the need to help low-income families become economically self-...