Welfare Reform In The United States

2782 words - 11 pages

"The U.S. Congress kicked off welfare reform nationwide last October with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, heralding a new era in which welfare recipients are required to look for work as a condition of benefits." Originally, the welfare system was created to help poor men, women, and children who are in need of financial and medical assistance. Over the years, welfare has become a way of life for its recipients and has created a culture of dependency. Currently, the government is in the process of reforming the welfare system. The welfare reform system’s objective was to get people off the welfare system and onto the job market. The hope was to move people from dependency to self-reliance. This new system has been termed as workfare.

Opposition to the new welfare reform system has occurred. Some believe that, "participation in a welfare-to-work program might create new problems for children by adding strains to family life or by exposing children to poor substitute care arrangements
for policies that design welfare-to-work programs that pursue the dual goals of economic self-sufficiency for families and healthy development of children."
"Welfare policies aimed at improving family circumstances for both children and parents must not make the error of focusing solely on parents; if the intention is to enhance the immediate and long-term development of both generations within the nuclear family, then policies must differentiate between youth and their parents."http://www.cyfernet.org/welfare/roleextprog/four_themes.html.

These issues have brought about numerous debates. These debates have focused on the welfare reform system. Pros and cons of this new system have been debated, focusing on the welfare of the child, the parent, the employer, and the taxpayer. This paper will analyze the welfare reform system. Through my analysis I will examine several areas of concern in the welfare reform system. First, as an overview, I will look at the Personal Responsibility & Work Opportunity Act. Second, I will look at the Welfare to Workfare program. We will then examine how welfare recipients with disabilities will be handled under this new reform and finally this paper will examine how the federal government plans on if at all ensuring job retention occurs.

THE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILTY AND WORK OPPORTUNITY ACT

"The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996, or the welfare reform law established the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). TANF is a block grant program designed to make dramatic reforms in the nation's welfare system."(http://www.acf.dhls.gov/HyperNews/get/opre2/wtwreg.html) This grant became effective as of July 1, 1997. This grant replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. It also replaced several other programs such as Emergency Assistance or EA program. The goal of TANF is to promote family responsibility and self-...

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