Welfare rolls declined after Temporary Assistance for Needy Families became law in 1996, and there was widespread consensus that its reforms were a bipartisan success story. But the onslaught of the Great Recession exposed serious flaws in the law. This memo describes a two-part solution based on experience and evidence.
Subsidized employment programs use public funds to create jobs for the unemployed. This two-page memo describes how they can provide short-term income support to individuals with serious barriers to employment or to broader groups during poor economic times — while having positive effects on reducing recidivism, increasing child support payments, or reducing reliance on welfare.
An evaluation of a retention and advancement program for recently employed welfare recipients shows modest increases in employment and large reductions in welfare receipt during the first two years of follow-up.
Evidence from the UK Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Demonstration
The largest ever random assignment test of a social policy in Britain is being applied in a demonstration of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) program. This report, written by MDRC and British colleagues as part of a consortium of social policy research firms and produced for the UK Department for Work and Pensions, examines how well random assignment worked.
An evaluation of a job placement, retention, and advancement program for individuals receiving welfare showed some effects — but not consistent or large effects — on employment and retention outcomes during the first two years of follow-up.