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.
Lessons from the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) Project
Many recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low-income individuals find or keep jobs for a while, but far fewer remain steadily employed and advance in the labor market. This report describes results and draws lessons from rigorous evaluations of 12 programs seeking to improve employment retention and advancement among low-wage workers.
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.
Early Implementation Experiences of Employment Retention and Advancement Programs
Describing the initial experiences of 15 Employment Retention and Advancement programs in 8 states, this report emphasizes implementation issues and focuses on connections among the agencies and institutions that deliver retention and advancement services to low-income workers and hard-to-employ populations.
Implementation, Effects, and Experiences of Poor Families and Neighborhoods
Based on a comprehensive body of evidence, this report from the Project on Devolution and Urban Change examines how changes in Pennsylvania’s welfare reform policies combined with a strong regional economy in the late 1990s to create substantial change in the welfare system in Philadelphia.
Evidence from Connecticut and Minnesota
Using data from two random assignment welfare reform experiments, this report contributes insights to efforts to foster economic self-sufficiency in both the assisted housing and the welfare policy arenas.
Five-Year Impacts of Pre-Employment Services in the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies
This report finds that — over a five-year follow-up period — both mandatory employment-focused and education-focused welfare-to-work programs helped young adults attain higher earnings.
The Milwaukee County Experience
This report examines the implementation of the community service jobs component of Wisconsin’s Temporary Aid for Needy Families program during the program’s first three years of operation.
How to Design and Implement Financial Work Supports
This latest MDRC how-to guide identifies program features and practices that can help states better target financial work incentives and maximize their effectiveness.
This report studies the post-welfare experiences of three groups — two that received federal housing assistance when they left the welfare rolls and an unassisted group that did not — to see how they differ with respect to their labor market outcomes, material well-being, and propensity to return to the welfare rolls or rely on other forms of public assistance.