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.
The Importance of Evidence
In this essay, adapted from remarks made to the Growth Philanthropy Network/Social Impact Exchange 2014 Conference on Scaling Impact, MDRC President Gordon Berlin explains why developing reliable evidence of effectiveness is critical when expanding programs to a large scale.
Both Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Security Income serve low-income individuals with disabilities. Yet the programs’ differences in approach and structure pose challenges to coordinating services. The Administration for Children and Families and the Social Security Administration contracted with MDRC and its partners to conduct the TANF/SSI Disability Transition Project. Five publications from the project have just been released.