This policy brief, developed by the Urban Institute for the federal Administration for Children and Families, describes how strategies have helped welfare recipients enter employment and increase their earnings. However, more remains to be learned about how best to substantially increase their self-sufficiency and financial well-being.
Implementation, Effects, and Experiences of Poor Families and Neighborhoods
Welfare caseloads fell, employment increased, and social conditions generally improved in Miami-Dade County after the 1996 federal welfare reform law was passed, but the county’s welfare-to-work program was poorly implemented and unusually harsh.
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.