SOC.POL_Discussion 1: Social Security and Social Welfare Programs

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policy-based_profession_chapter_chapter_7_.pdf

7

Fighting Poverty Temporary Assistance to Needy F a m i l i e s

C H A P T

Crilical Thinking

Diuersily in Practice

H i s t o r i c a l A n a l y s i s 121 Recent Welfare Reform Efforts

S o c i a l A n a l y s i s 127 Problem Description Population Relevant Research Values and Welfare Reform

E c o n o m i c A n a l y s i s 138 Macroeconomic Issues Microeconomic A n a l y s i s

E v a l u a t i o n 144 Is T A N F Succeeding?

C o n c l u s i o n 152 A m e r i c a n Values Related to Welfare Have

Permanently Changed

Human Riglits

& Justice

Welfare is Not the Problem; Poverty is the Problem

Public Assistance is a Social Condition, Not a Social Problem

S e l e c t e d W e b s i t e s o n W e l f a r e R e f o r m 154

Administration for C h i l d r e n and Families A m e r i c a n Public H u m a n Services

Association Electronic Policy Network Urban Institute Welfare Watch

P r a c t i c e T e s t 155

C O N N E C T I N G C O R E C O M P E T E N C I E S in this chapter

Professional Identity

Ethical Practice

Critical Thinking

Diversity in Practice

Human Rights

& Justice

Research Based

Practice

Human Behavior

Policy Practice

Practice Engage Contexts Assess

Intervene Evaluate

118

6 C H A P T E R R E V I E W

S u c c e e d with Li U social Log onto www.mysocialworklab.com and select the 1. Watch the Sue Dowling interview, focusing on ques- Career Exploration videos from the left-hand menu. Answer the following questions. (If you did not receive an access code to MySocialWorkLab with this text and wish to purchase access onUne, please visit www.mvsocialworklab.com.')

tion 9, "What are your biggest challenges?" What does her answer say about the importance of social work practitioners understanding the politics of social welfare policy?

P R A C T I C E T E S T

Diversity in Practice

1. The political context of policy is first seen in: a. Who gets the most money to address a problem b. Who gets the contract to evaluate a policy c. The politics of problem definition d. Which social welfare problems become campaign

issues

2 . A central component of politics is: a. Power b. Compassion c. Regulation d. Campaigning

3. Stakeholders are; a. Players or backers of players in a poker game b. Contractors or developers of a public works project c. Funders of a social services program d. Anyone affected by a policy

4 . Power is: a. Always in the hands of a few b. About who gets what, when, and how e. Something that can be multiplied when shared d. b. and c.

I 5. Illegal immigrants cannot vote or take an active part in the policy process. Why, then, are strong policies to keep them out not easily implemented? a. b. c. d.

Ituman Rights

8, Justice

I 6.

Farmers and businesses need their labor Social workers oppose immigration restrictions The Border Patrol is underfunded Coyotes (immigrant smugglers) make large contributions to key members of Congress

Which of the following is NOT an assumption of the pluralist model of policy making? a. Interest groups have relatively equal power b. There is a wide variety of organized interests in

the political system

c. Some groups can set the public agenda before debate begins

d. All interest groups must compete in the market place of ideas

7. The main idea of the incremental approach is: a. Groups with large amounts of power almost

always get their way b. All groups are represented in the policy process c. Most people are either apathetic or mislead d. Change occurs through a series of small steps

8. According to the elitist model of policy-making, policy is made by: a. Corporate executives, military leaders, and other

high power groups b. Intellectuals c. Republicans d. Academics

9. The final stage of policy making is: a. Assessment b. Diagnosis c. Implementation d. Assigning blame

10. Implementation of a policy is often disappointing because: a. All of the attention is given to finding a solution to

a problem and little is left for how the solution is going to work

b. Agencies assigned to implement the policy may not have the capacity to do it

c. Those implementing the policy can introduce their own biases

d. All of the above

Log onto MySocialWorkLab once you have completed the Practice Test above to take your Chapter Exam and demonstrate your knowledge of this material.

Answers

P (01 3 (6 e (8 p (Z 3 (9 B (g P (t' P (e B (2 o ( i

Chapter / ; Fighting Poverty: Temporary Assistance to Needy FcmdUes 119

Welfare reform, a l w a y s a hot-button i s s u e , has been center stage i n the p o l i t i - c a l arena since B i l l C l i n t o n , as a candidate, p r o m i s e d to " e n d w e l f a r e as w e k n o w i t . " W h e n the R e p u b l i c a n s seized control of the 104th Congress, they made the reform of w e l f a r e a kej^ p l a n k i n their Contract w i t h A m e r i c a . A f t e r a protracted fight that i n c l u d e d one p r e s i d e n t i a l veto of a w e l f a r e reform b i l l , P r e s i d e n t C l i n t o n , o n A u g u s t 22, 1996, signed H . R . 3734, the P e r s o n a l R e s p o n - s i b i l i t y a n d W o r k O p p o r t u n i t y R e c o n c i l i a t i o n A c t ( P R W O R A ) of 1996. T h i s act r e p l a c e d the basic architecture of the p u b l i c assistance system that h a d been i n place s i n c e the 1935 signing of the S o c i a l S e c u r i t y A c t by r e p l a c i n g the A i d to F a m i l i e s w i t h Dependent C h i l d r e n ( A F D C ) program w i t h a n e w program c a l l e d T e m p o r a r y A s s i s t a n c e to Needy F a m i l i e s ( T A N F ) . T h i s n e w act leaves us fac- ing a n u n c h a r t e d landscape i n p u b l i c assistance. A s P r e s i d e n t C l i n t o n noted w h e n he signed the act, " T h i s is not the end of w e l f a r e reform; this i s the begin- n i n g . We have to f i l l i n the blanks."^

A s w e have noted elsewhere, the t e r m welfare c o n c e p t u a l l y refers to a w i d e range of programs.^ I n c l u d e d i n the category are programs s u c h as S o c i a l S e c u - r i t y , Worker's C o m p e n s a t i o n , S u p p l e m e n t a l S e c u r i t y Income, a n d a n u m b e r of others. H o w e v e r , it i s clear that w h e n speaking of w e l f a r e , or w e l f a r e reform, o n l y one program is being referred t o — p u b l i c assistance, w h i c h u s e d to be the A F D C program a n d is n o w T A N F . P u b l i c assistance is the p u b l i c program designed to a i d the v e r y poorest members of our society. A l t h o u g h it is true that m e n a n d m a r r i e d couples c o u l d t e c h n i c a l l y q u a l i f y for A F D C a n d are eligible for T A N F , i n r e a l i t y beneficiaries of p u b l i c assistance have a l w a y s been, a n d w i l l continue to be, almost entirely w o m e n a n d their c h i l d r e n .

A l t h o u g h the trend throughout the t w e n t i e t h century w a s to move w e l f a r e programs to the federal l e v e l , programs for w o m e n a n d their c h i l d r e n h a v e r e m a i n e d u n d e r tight state control. A F D C w a s r u n through a joint federal-state p a r t n e r s h i p , w i t h the federal government p r o v i d i n g a set of regulations govern- i n g the operation of the program a n d a p p r o x i m a t e l y 75 percent of the f u n d i n g . T h e i n d i v i d u a l states p r o v i d e d the a d d i t i o n a l 25 percent of f u n d i n g a n d set their o w n e l i g i b i l i t y a n d benefit l e v e l s . U n d e r the T A N F program, the states h a v e even more control of the program, w i t h the federal government p r o v i d i n g o n l y the most general g u i d e l i n e s . States are a l l o w e d to use T A N F f u n d i n g i n a n y m a n n e r "reasonably c a l c u l a t e d to a c c o m p l i s h the purposes of T A N F . " T h i s s i t u a t i o n has r e s u l t e d i n w i d e v a r i a t i o n s i n the program, w i t h m a x i m u m m o n t h l y benefits for a f a m i l y of three ranging f r o m a l o w of $170 i n M i s s i s s i p p i to a h i g h of $923 i n A l a s k a . T h i s l a c k of u n i f o r m i t y between states w a s c o n s i d - ered a w e a k n e s s of the A F D C program. U n d e r T A N F i t is defined as a strength, because the theory i s that each state w i l l e x p e r i m e n t w i t h different approaches, i n c r e a s i n g the l i k e l i h o o d that some effective i n n o v a t i o n s w i l l be f o u n d .

To q u a l i f y for p u b l i c assistance, a person m u s t be v e r y poor. U n d e r A F D C , total l i q u i d assets for a f a m i l y c o u l d not exceed $1,000; i f the f a m i l y o w n e d a car, its market v a l u e w a s l i m i t e d to $4,000. U n d e r T A N F these figures v a r y f r o m state to state, w i t h most a l l o w i n g $1,000 to $1,500 i n c a s h a n d some i n c r e a s i n g the v a l u e of a car a n a p p l i c a n t c a n o w n . I f a f a m i l y ' s assets exceed state g u i d e l i n e s , they are r e q u i r e d to spend their assets before q u a l i f y i n g for a i d . G e n e r a l l y , benefits come i n a package that i n c l u d e s food stamps a n d M e d - i c a i d . T h e s e a d d i t i o n a l benefits theoretically p r o v i d e a f a m i l y w i t h s u f f i c i e n t resources to s u r v i v e . Benefits u n d e r T A N F are e v e n stingier t h a n under A F D C because the federal regulations require only that states s p e n d a n amount equal to at least 75 percent of their h i s t o r i c spending l e v e l ( c a l l e d m a i n t e n a n c e of effort, or M O E ) a n d p r o v i d e options for the a d d i t i o n a l 25 percent to be spent for purposes other t h a n direct assistance.

120 Part III: The Framework AppMed

A n u m b e r of scholars have observed that a major thrust of w e l f a r e reform d u r i n g the latter h a l f of the t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y w a s a n effort to separate pro- grams b e l i e v e d to be for the " d e s e r v i n g p o o r " out of the w e l f a r e category a n d to define t h e m as s o c i a l i n s u r a n c e , a n o n s t i g m a t i z i n g category. D o n a l d N o r r i s a n d L u k e T h o m p s o n note;

F i r s t many elderly were covered under Social Security. Later the number of elderly w h o were covered was expanded. Subsequently, many people w i t h disabilities were given aid through the vocational rehabilitation acts, and later, through Supplementary Security Income. Many of the unemployed were covered under systems of unemployment compensation, either through companies or through state governments. Gradually, these groups of "deserving poor" recipients became isolated from A F D C recipients.'^

F e m i n i s t scholars s u c h as L i n d a G o r d o n a n d T h e r e s a F u n i c i e l l o have argued that w e have s y s t e m a t i c a l l y separated programs u s e d by m e n a n d w h i t e s out f r o m programs u s e d largely by w o m e n a n d m i n o r i t i e s a n d defined the former as s o c i a l i n s u r a n c e , a category w i t h little stigma, a n d the latter as w e l f a r e , a h i g h l y stigmatized category a n d one a l w a y s c o n s i d e r e d i n n e e d of reform."* T h e T A N F program reinforces this stigmatization process through its i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n of the idea that r e m a i n i n g home to rear c h i l d r e n is not a legitimate s o c i a l role for poor w o m e n .

W i t h the passage of the P e r s o n a l R e s p o n s i b i l i t y a n d W o r k O p p o r t u n i t y R e c o n c i l i a t i o n A c t of 1996, w e began a n e w era i n p u b l i c assistance p o l i c y . F o r the p r i o r s i x t y years, the receipt of f i n a n c i a l assistance b y the needy w a s con- sidered a right of c i t i z e n s h i p ; the federal government cast i t s e l f i n the role of leading the states t o w a r d more progressive a n d h u m a n e s o c i a l p o l i c i e s ; staying home a n d parenting c h i l d r e n w a s d e f i n e d as a legitimate s o c i a l role for the mothers of s m a l l c h i l d r e n ; a n d the r e a l i t y that w o r k w a s not available for a l l people w a s at least i m p l i c i t l y accepted. T h i s has n o w a l l changed. F i n a n c i a l assistance i s n o w to be granted o n l y o n a temporary basis; the federal govern- ment has abdicated its l e a d e r s h i p role a n d n o w seeks only to get out of the w a y of the states; w o m e n are expected to be i n the labor market; a n d it i s a s s u m e d that jobs are available for a l l people i f they w i l l j u s t look h a r d enough a n d accept w h a t e v e r comes along. I n the f o l l o w i n g sections, w e look at the factors that have l e d to the current s i t u a t i o n , attempt to make some sense of the s i t u - ation, a n d make some projections about w h e r e the n a t i o n w i l l go f r o m here.

M u c h of the study of p u b l i c assistance relies on h i s t o r i c a l data. T h e most important questions i n v o l v e trends i n numbers of recipients, length of time on assistance, number of recipients w h o become employed, number w h o leave the w e l f a r e r o l l s a n d stay off, and number w h o leave but then return. T h e P R W O R A passed i n 1996 a n d i m p l e m e n t e d i n 1997 makes this a n a l y s i s d i f f i c u l t for two reasons. F i r s t , the federal government has changed the data-collecting proce- dures a n d this makes c o m p a r i s o n s to data p r i o r to 1997 d i f f i c u l t . S e c o n d , because the l a w has been i n effect for fewer t h a n thirteen years, trends w i t h i n the program are harder to d i s c e r n . T h e fact that the years s i n c e passage of the l a w have been ones of e x t r a o r d i n a r y economic g r o w t h makes assessment of the effects of the n e w program even harder to calculate. N o w that the economy' has entered a recession, perhaps w e w i l l get a better i d e a of the true i m p a c t of the T A N F program. A s a r e s u l t of these factors, some of the data i n this chapter refer to the n o w - d e f u n c t A F D C program. A l t h o u g h w e m a y not be c o m p a r i n g apples a n d oranges, w e r e a l i z e that w e are c o m p a r i n g tangerines a n d oranges— s i m i l a r things, but not r e a l l y a n exact c o m p a r i s o n . T h i s i s not the most desir- able p o l i c y a n a l y s i s s i t u a t i o n , but it i s , unfortunately, u n a v o i d a b l e .

Chapter /: Fighting Poverty: Temporari^ Assistance to Needy Families 121

H I S T O R I C A L A N A L Y S I S

There are still people, for example Libertarian Party presidential candidate Ron Paul, who believe that the government should not be involved in providing financial assistance to the poor, that this should be an entirely voluntary activity

T h e idea of pubhc assistance, defined as the obligation of the government to pro- v i d e a n economic safety net for people, and of people's right to expect s u c h a safety net based s i m p l y on citizenship, has a very short history i n the U n i t e d States. A s recently as the end of the nineteenth century, this idea w a s considered absurd a n d offensive by most people. T h e great p h i l a n t h r o p i c leader of the nineteenth century, Josephine S h a w L o w e l l , stated the o p i n i o n of m a n y people i n v o l v e d i n the early development of social w o r k i n this country w h e n , at the 1890 National Conference of Charities and Correction, she said:

E v e r y dollar raised by taxation comes out of the pocket of some i n d i v i d - u a l , u s u a l l y a poor i n d i v i d u a l , and makes h i m so m u c h the poorer, and therefore the question is between the m a n w h o earned the dollar by h a r d w o r k , and the m a n w h o , however w o r t h y and suffering, d i d not earn it, but wants i t to be given to h i m to buy h i m s e l f and his f a m i l y a day's food. If the m a n w h o earned it w i s h e s to divide it w i t h the other man, it is u s u - a l l y a desirable thing that he s h o u l d do so, and at any rate it is more or less h i s o w n business, but that the l a w , by the h a n d of a p u b l i c officer, s h o u l d take i t from h i m and h a n d it over to the other m a n , seems to be an act of gross tyranny and injustice. . . . T h e less that is given [of p u b l i c assistance] the better for everyone, the giver and the receiver.^

B a s e d o n this belief that government h a d no right to l e v y taxes i n order to p r o v i d e f i n a n c i a l assistance to people, there w a s r e a l l y no s u c h thing as a large p u b l i c assistance s y s t e m u n t i l the t w e n t i e t h century. T h r o u g h o u t the n i n e - teenth a n d the early years of the t w e n t i e t h century, poverty a n d related s o c i a l

problems w e r e dealt w i t h p r i m a r i l y through l o c a l v o l u n t a r y organizations, w i t h gifts f r o m w e a l t h y donors ( s u c h as M r s . L o w e l l ) p r o v i d - i n g most of the f i n a n c i a l support. T h e little p u b l i c support p r o v i d e d w a s m o s t l y through a means k n o w n as indoor relief. T h i s meant that a s s i s t a n c e w a s p r o v i d e d to p e o p l e o n l y t h r o u g h i n s t i t u t i o n s s u c h as p o o r h o u s e s , orphanages, m e n t a l h o s p i t a l s , schools for the

. ^m^^^mk^mm^mm deaf a n d b l i n d , a n d so forth. T h e p r o v i s i o n of ^^^^|HB|^^^H d i r e c t c a s h benefits to people, a p r a c t i c e

' ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ H h k n o w n as outdoor relief, w a s f r o w n e d on ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ F ^ because it w a s b e l i e v e d to encourage i n d o -

* • lence a n d dependency. I f direct c a s h r e l i e f w a s p r o v i d e d , i t w a s thought that i t s h o u l d not come from tax revenues a n d that o n l y a v o l u n - tary organization w a s capable of the l e v e l of s c r u t i n y a n d s u p e r v i s i o n of recipients that prudence r e q u i r e d .

A s the t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y d a w n e d , the r a p i d g r o w t h of l u b a n i z a t i o n , i n d u s t r i a l i z a - tion, a n d i m m i g r a t i o n resulted i n a l e v e l of p o v e r t y a n d r e l a t e d s o c i a l p r o b l e m s that threatened to s w a m p private c h a r i t i e s . M a n y people w e r e becoming c o n c e r n e d w i t h the n u m b e r of c h i l d r e n w h o w e r e r e s i d i n g i n

122 Part III: The Framework AppL'ed

orphanages due not to parental desertion or death but to parental poverty. T h e s e w e r e generally the c h i l d r e n of w i d o w s w h o c o u l d not earn enough money to support their c h i l d r e n a n d so p l a c e d t h e m i n orphanages because it w a s the mother's only option. I n response to this problem, developments early i n the century began to reestablish f i n a n c i a l assistance as a p u b l i c r e s p o n s i b i l - ity. T h e first development w a s the establishment i n a n u m b e r of c i t i e s , K a n s a s C i t y being the first i n 1908, of boards of p u b l i c w e l f a r e to c a r r y out " d u t i e s of the c i t y t o w a r d a l l the poor, the delinquent, the u n e m p l o y e d , a n d the deserted a n d unfortunate classes i n the c o m m u n i t y , a n d to s u p e r v i s e the private agen- cies w h i c h s o l i c i t e d money f r o m the p u b l i c for these purposes."° T h e second development w a s the 1909 W h i t e House Conference on C h i l d r e n c o n v e n e d by President Theodore Roosevelt. A major r e c o m m e n d a t i o n of this conference w a s that c h i l d r e n s h o u l d not be separated from their parents s i m p l y for reasons of poverty. A system of outdoor r e l i e f w a s strongly endorsed as being prefer- able to i n s t i t u t i o n a l placement.

F o l l o w i n g the W h i t e H o u s e Conference on C h i l d r e n , advocates for the poor began to lobby s u c c e s s f u l l y for state w e l f a r e l a w s that became k n o w n as " m o t h e r s ' p e n s i o n s . " T h i s rather strange t e r m w a s b o r r o w e d f r o m the p o w e r - f u l a n d p o p u l a r i n d u s t r i a l i n s u r a n c e m o v e m e n t , w h i c h w a s s u c c e s s f u l l y lob- b y i n g for w o r k e r ' s c o m p e n s a t i o n , u n e m p l o y m e n t i n s u r a n c e , a n d r e t i r e m e n t programs as m e a s u r e s to i n s u r e w o r k e r s against the r i s k s of i n d u s t r i a l e m p l o y m e n t . T h e p e r s p e c t i v e i m p l i e d i n the n a m e " m o t h e r s ' p e n s i o n " w a s that w o m e n w i t h c h i l d r e n w e r e p r o d u c t i v e w o r k e r s of a sort a n d h a d a r i g h t to i n s u r a n c e against w i d o w h o o d , the p r i m a r y threat to t h e i r l i v e l i h o o d , j u s t as m e n h a d a right to i n s u r a n c e against i n d u s t r i a l a c c i d e n t . T h e f i r s t m o t h - e r s ' p e n s i o n l a w s w e r e p a s s e d i n M i s s o u r i a n d I l l i n o i s i n 1 9 1 1 . W i t h i n t w o y e a r s , s i m i l a r l a w s w e r e p a s s e d i n seventeen a d d i t i o n a l states, a n d by 1919 t h i r t y - n i n e states h a d m o t h e r s ' p e n s i o n s programs.

T h e r e are two aspects of the mothers' p e n s i o n m o v e m e n t that are p a r t i c u - l a r l y important for u n d e r s t a n d i n g the history of p u b l i c assistance. T h e first is that these programs w e r e a i m e d , to quote President Theodore Roosevelt, at " c h i l d r e n of parents of w o r t h y character."^ T h i s meant w o m e n w h o w e r e w i d - o w e d or w h o h a d d i s a b l e d h u s b a n d s . A s m a l l percentage of r e c i p i e n t s w e r e d i v o r c e d mothers, but these w e r e considered w o r t h y o n l y i f it c o u l d be demon- strated that the divorce w a s no fault of the w o m e n , p r i m a r i l y instances i n w h i c h the h u s b a n d h a d deserted the f a m i l y . T h e programs w e r e never ^ i n t e n d e d for the c h i l d r e n of u n w e d mothers, a n d v e r y few s u c h c h i l d r e n r e c e i v e d a i d . T h e second important aspect of these l a w s i s that they w e r e based o n a t r a d i t i o n a l m o d e l of the f a m i l y i n w h i c h the mother w a s expected to stay home a n d care for her c h i l d r e n . T h e v e r y name " m o t h e r s ' p e n s i o n s " i m p l i e d that being a w i f e a n d mother w a s analogous to a career a n d w i d o w s w e r e enti- t l e d to support w h e n this career w a s d i s r u p t e d . T h e r e w e r e no w o r k p r o v i - sions, or even expectations, contained i n these l a w s .

A l t h o u g h mothers' p e n s i o n programs established an important precedent i n the development of p u b l i c assistance, it w a s not u n t i l the Great D e p r e s s i o n of the 1930s that state a n d federal government a c t u a l l y began to p l a y a major role. M o t h e r s ' p e n s i o n s programs w e r e a l w a y s quite s m a l l ; i n 1930, for e x a m - p l e , fewer t h a n 3 percent of female-headed households r e c e i v e d benefits u n d e r these programs.^ P r i v a t e agencies, w i t h substantial l o c a l government support, c o n t i n u e d to p r o v i d e the b u l k of f i n a n c i a l relief. T h e central role of p r i v a t e agencies w a s strongly endorsed by s o c i a l w o r k e r s a n d leaders i n p h i l a n t h r o p y , w h o questioned the m o r a l i t y of government p r o v i d i n g assistance a n d doubted the a b i l i t y of government to p r o v i d e efficient a n d effective professional s o c i a l

Chapter 7: Fighting Poverty: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families 123

s e r v i c e s . T h i s s i t u a t i o n began to change r a p i d l y w i t h the onset of the Depres- s i o n i n 1929 a n d its i n c r e a s i n g severity into the 1930s.

T h e Depression shocked the nation i n general, a n d social workers i n partic- ular, into the realization that l o c a l programs supplemented by private relief agen- cies w e r e not adequate for dealing w i t h the massive economic problems of a n urban i n d u s t r i a l societ}'. W h e n the Depression h i t , private agencies almost immediately r a n out of money a n d began to rely to a m u c h greater extent than p r e v i o u s l y on state and l o c a l governments for assistance. T h e state a n d l o c a l gov- ernments i n t u r n got into f i n a n c i a l p e r i l a n d turned to the federal government for assistance. T h e realization that private agencies a n d state and l o c a l governments c o u l d not cope w i t h the economic c r i s i s , along w i t h the fear that i f something dramatic w a s not done r e v o l u t i o n might w e l l occur, resulted i n the passage of the S o c i a l S e c u r i t y A c t i n 1935. T h i s act w a s the first national framework for a social welfare system. T h e S o c i a l S e c u r i t y A c t , as it f i n a l l y emerged after m a n y com- promises, w a s designed to alleviate f i n a n c i a l dependency through two l i n e s of defense: contributory s o c i a l insurance a n d p u b l i c assistance. One of the p u b l i c assistance programs w a s A i d to Dependent C h i l d r e n ( A D C ) , a program estab- l i s h e d to serve single mothers w i t h s m a l l c h i l d r e n , b a s i c a l l y the same group tar- geted by state mothers' pension l a w s . T h i s is the program that later w a s c a l l e d A i d to F a m i l i e s w i t h Dependent C h i l d r e n ( A F D C ) i n recognition of the fact that mothers as w e l l as their c h i l d r e n w e r e receiving assistance.

It is not s u r p r i s i n g that A F D C became more a n d more controversial over the years, because evidence indicates that its designers d i d not r e a l l y u n d e r s t a n d w h a t they were passing a n d certainly c o u l d not predict w h a t the program w o u l d e v e n t u a l l y become. Scholars often romanticize N e w D e a l programs a n d characterize their designers as h u m a n i s t s a n d liberals w i t h a far-reaching v i s i o n of a just society a n d a r e a l i s t i c p l a n for a c h i e v i n g it.^ However, the evidence indicates that the designers of the A F D C program supported it only because they b e l i e v e d that the program w a s temporary a n d w o u l d w i t h e r a w a y as s o c i a l i n s u r a n c e came into effect. Further, the designers of A F D C never i m a g i n e d that the program w o u l d support the c h i l d r e n of u n w e d mothers. F r a n k l i n Roosevelt characterized w e l f a r e as " a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the h u m a n s p i r i t " a n d argued that federal job creation w a s far preferable to welfare.^" E d i t h Abbott, a s o c i a l w o r k e r a n d prominent s o c i a l reformer, advocated for A F D C w i t h the assurance that it w o u l d support only " n i c e " f a m i l i e s . S o c i a l w o r k e r a n d Sec- retary of Labor Frances P e r k i n s supported the program u n d e r the m i s u n d e r - standing that the term dependent mother referred o n l y to w o m e n w h o w e r e w i d o w s , m a r r i e d to disabled w o r k e r s , or d i v o r c e d due to no fault of their o w n . It never occurred to her that u n w e d mothers w o u l d be i n c l u d e d i n the d e f i n i - tion of dependent}^ H i s t o r i a n L i n d a Gordon states.

T h e authors of the New Deal welfare programs, often thought of as s p i r i - tual allies of contemporary liberals, w o u l d severely disapprove of w h a t the N e w Deal programs have subsequently become w i t h liberal encour- agement: a source of more-or-less permanent support for single mothers w h o , i n m a n y instances, are not w h i t e and "not nice."^^

B y the 1950s, policymakers began to realize that the A F D C program w a s not going to wither a w a y and w a s i n fact providing benefits to a number of people considered " u n d e s i r a b l e . " T h e fact that the program d i d not w i t h e r but instead grew, often at a n alarming rate, l e d to calls for welfare reform. Reform strategies can be l u m p e d into two large categories. T h e first category is attempts to l i m i t the number of people eligible for the program. These policies have taken the form of "suitable h o m e " and " m a n i n the house" rules and residency requirements. T h e

124 Part HI: The Framework AppHed

suitable home and m a n i n the house rules stated that a i d w o u l d not be given to c h i l d r e n w h o were l i v i n g i n i m m o r a l environments, generally defined as home situations i n w h i c h it appeared that the mother w a s having a s e x u a l relationship w i t h a m a n to w h o m she w a s not married. These rules were struck d o w n by the Supreme Court i n 1968 i n King v. Smith. Residency requirements denied assis- tance to any person w h o h a d not resided i n a locale for a certain period of time, sometimes as long as five years. These requirements were declared unconstitu- tional by the Supreme Court i n the case of Shapiro v. Thompson i n 1969.

T h e second group of reform strategies has i n c l u d e d efforts to m o v e people off w e l f a r e a n d onto s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y through r e h a b i l i t a t i n g the r e c i p i e n t or else r e m o v i n g e n v i r o n m e n t a l barriers. T h e r e has been a series of these efforts, beginning i n the m i d - 1 9 5 0 s a n d c o n t i n u i n g to current reform efforts. T h e one element that u n i t e s a l l these efforts is their u n i f o r m l a c k of effectiveness. Major strategies h a v e been:

Social Service Strategies

Amendments to the S o c i a l Security A c t i n 1956 and again i n 1962 f a c i l i - tated the p r o v i s i o n of social services to welfare recipients. T h e idea was that social workers w o u l d help recipients solve the problems that were preventing them from being self-supporting. T h i s approach lost c r e d i b i l - ity w h e n welfare rolls d i d not decline but actually increased at a r a p i d rate f o l l o w i n g f u l l implementation of the strategy i n the 1960s.

Institutional Strategies

F i r s t tried i n the 1960s as part of L y n d o n Johnson's War on Poverty, these attempted to empower i n d i v i d u a l s and neighborhoods. These programs were based on a "blocked opportunity" thesis that attributed poverty to environmental variables. These programs r a p i d l y r a n into p o l i t i c a l prob- lems, welfare r o l l s d i d not decline, and they were discontinued after a very short life. I n the 1980s, a few institutional strategies were i m p l e - mented, namely enterprise zones and p u b l i c housing " o w n e r s h i p " i n i t i a - tives, but these have also met w i t h little success.

Human Capital Strategies

I n the 1960s, as the social service and institutional strategies were losing popularitjf, the argument w a s advanced that a more direct approach to poverty w a s called for. T h i s approach s i m p l y s a i d that people were poor because they c o u l d not get good jobs, a n d they could not get good jobs because they d i d not possess valuable s k i l l s . Economists refer to a per- son's saleable s k i l l s and attributes as h u m a n capital. To address this problem, a series of job training programs has been attempted, beginning i n the early 1960s w i t h the Manpower Development and T r a i n i n g A c t (for the disadvantaged i n general) and the C o m m u n i t y Work and T r a i n - ing Programs (specifically for welfare recipients). I n 1967 the W I N (Work Incentive) program w a s implemented, w h i c h was a joint effort of state welfare departments and employment service offices. T h i s program required a l l A F D C recipients w i t h o u t preschool age c h i l d r e n to p a r t i c i - pate. A s w i l l be discussed i n the next section, the h u m a n capital approach continues to be popular, its latest manifestations being the 1988 J O B S (Job Opportunity and B a s i c S k i l l s ) program, b a s i c a l l y an extension and expansion of W I N , and the w o r k and training require- ments that are central to the T A N F program that replaced A F D C i n 1996.

Chapter 7: Fighting Poverty: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families 125

Job Creation and Subsidization Strategies

One of the major c r i t i c i s m s of the h u m a n capital approach is that there are not jobs available for most of the participants. Various attempts have been made to counter this c r i t i c i s m by creating public service, or pub- l i c l y subsidized, private-sector jobs. T h e Works Progress A d m i n i s t r a t i o n and the C i v i l i a n Conservation Corps of the Depression era serve as mod- els for this approach. I n recent years, the most popular v e r s i o n of this approach has been providing subsidies to employers to offset the costs of creating n e w jobs for l o w - s k i l l workers. T h e Targeted T a x Credit and the W I N T a x Credit are two examples. A popular, i f somewhat perverse, t w i s t on this approach has sometimes been to require welfare recipients to perform u n p a i d c o m m u n i t y service i n return for their grant.

Child Support Strategies

T h i s approach w a s developed i n response to the changing composition of A F D C caseloads, where the majority of cases were c h i l d r e n w i t h l i v i n g fathers w h o d i d not provide support. I n the mid-1970s, the federal Office of C h i l d Support Enforcement was created to assist states i n efforts to gain and enforce c h i l d support from absent fathers. F e d e r a l legislation i n 1984 and 1988 strengthened c h i l d support provisions. W h e n a w o m a n a p p l i e d for A F D C , she was required to identify the father of her c h i l d r e n and file for a c h i l d support order i f she hadn't already done so; i f she h a d and the father was delinquent, she w a s required to swear out a w a r r a n t for c o l l e c t i o n . " T h i s p o l i c y has continued under T A N F .

Recent Welfare Reform Efforts I n the 1980s, w i t h the election of R o n a l d Reagan to the p r e s i d e n c y a n d the beginning of a long conservative trend i n societ}', pressure for substantial w e l - fare reform began to mount. T h e first major effort c l i m a x e d i n 1988 w i t h pas- sage of the F a m i l y S u p p o r t A c t , v i e w e d by m a n y as a major reform of w e l f a r e a n d one that w o u l d quiet the c a l l s for reform for m a n y years. T h i s w a s not to be. A l m o s t before the i n k w a s dry on the F a m i l y Support A c t , c r i t i c s began to c o m p l a i n that it h a d not gone far enough a n d to d e m a n d even more drastic reforms. T h e s e efforts r e s u l t e d i n the passage, a n d subsequent veto by P r e s i - dent C l i n t o n , of the P e r s o n a l R e s p o n s i b i l i t y A c t of 1995. F o l l o w i n g the veto of this act, the 104th Congress m o d i f i e d the b i l l s l i g h t l y a n d passed the P e r s o n a l R e s p o n s i b i l i t y a n d W o r k O p p o r t u n i t y R e c o n c i l i a t i o n A c t of 1996. I n w h a t m a n y v i e w e d as a crass e x a m p l e of p o l i t i c a l o p p o r t u n i s m . President C l i n t o n signed the b i l l into l a w on A u g u s t 22, 1996. T h e s e w e l f a r e reform efforts have been e x a m p l e s of w h a t T h o m a s Corbett labels the " m a k e w o r k p a y " a n d the " m a k e ' e m s u f f e r " s t r a t e g i e s . T h e " m a k e w o r k p a y " strategy is based on the idea that people make r a t i o n a l choices a n d , t h u s , i f w e w a n t people to choose w o r k over vv^elfare, w e n e e d to p r o v i d e w o r k opportunities that w i l l enable t h e m to be s u b s t a n t i a l l y better off t h a n they are w h i l e r e c e i v i n g assistance. T h e " m a k e 'em s u f f e r " strategy is based on the same basic idea but comes at it f r o m the opposite d i r e c t i o n . Rather t h a n attempting to p r o v i d e options more attrac- tive t h a n w e l f a r e , these strategies impose penalties o n a range of behaviors that are seen as c o u n t e r p r o d u c t i v e to becoming self-sufficient. Welfare r e c i p i e n t s are r e q u i r e d to attend school, participate i n w o r k t r a i n i n g , i m m u n i z e their c h i l - dren, a n d s i m i l a r things. I f recipients do not accept these r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , they are p e n a l i z e d b y reductions i n their w e l f a r e grants.

126 Part III: The Framework Apphed

Critical Thinking

As a policy analyst, how might you synthesize the history of welfare reform efforts in order to recom- mend modifications to the TANF program?

T h e 1988 F a m i l y S u p p o r t A c t , p r i m a r i l y a " m a k e w o r k p a y " effort, h a d as its centerpiece a n e m p l o y m e n t a n d t r a i n i n g program c a l l e d Job O p p o r t u n i t i e s a n d B a s i c S k i l l s ( J O B S ) . T h e purpose of t h i s program, c o m m o n l y c a l l e d " w o r k - f a r e , " w a s to p r o v i d e the necessary resources (education, t r a i n i n g , a n d c h i l d care) to enable w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s w h o w e r e capable of w o r k i n g to do so, a n d i t i n c l u d e d p r o v i s i o n s r e q u i r i n g t h e m to take advantage of these resources.

T h i s attempt at w e l f a r e r e f o r m w a s not a success. T h e A F D C r o l l s c o n t i n - u e d to r i s e , a n d by 1996 no state h a d come a n y w h e r e close to meeting the goal of h a v i n g 20 percent of r e c i p i e n t s i n jobs or job t r a i n i n g .

Due to the apparent failure of the 1988 F a m i l y Support A c t to meet its i n i t i a l goals, and to conservative concern that the b i l l w a s too soft on recipients, welfare reform w a s attempted again i n the 104th Congress. I n 1996, H . R . 3734, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation A c t of 1996, w a s passed and signed into l a w by President Clinton. T h e major provisions of H . R . 3734 are:

I T h e A i d to F a m i l i e s w i t h Dependent C h i l d r e n ( A F D C ) program w a s replaced by the Temporary Assistance to Needy F a m i l i e s ( T A N F ) program.

I U n d e r T A N F , states receive a block grant i n a n amount c a l c u l a t e d to be the highest of (1) the average payment they r e c e i v e d u n d e r A F D C i n f i s - c a l years 1992 through 1994; (2) the amount they r e c e i v e d i n f i s c a l year 1994; or (3) the amount they r e c e i v e d i n f i s c a l year 1995. ( A F D C w a s a n u n c a p p e d entitlement program. T h e states h a d a right to r e i m b u r s e - ment from the federal government for 75 percent of the cost of A F D C grants u p to a n u n l i m i t e d amount, as long as they f o l l o w e d regula- tions.) States h a v e m u c h more freedom regarding h o w to s p e n d T A N F money than they h a d u n d e r A F D C , but w h e n it is spent they have no right to a d d i t i o n a l f u n d s from the federal government. A contingency f u n d has been established to h e l p states that exceed their b l o c k grant amounts, but t h i s i s available o n l y u n d e r s p e c i f i c a n d l i m i t e d c o n d i - tions (i.e., an e x c e p t i o n a l increase i n u n e m p l o y m e n t ) .

I A d u l t s r e c e i v i n g c a s h benefits are r e q u i r e d to w o r k or participate i n a state-designed program after two years or their payments w i l l be ended. T h i s w o r k requirement is d e f i n e d as one i n d i v i d u a l i n a h o u s e h o l d w o r k i n g at least t h i r t y hours per w e e k .

I States must have at least 50 percent of their total single-parent welfare caseloads i n jobs by 2002. States that f a i l to meet tlris requirement w i l l have their block grant reduced by 5 percent or more i n the following year.

I States are a l l o w e d to s a n c t i o n , through a r e d u c t i o n or t e r m i n a t i o n of c a s h benefits, people w h o f a i l to f u l f i l l the w o r k requirement.

I P a y m e n t s to r e c i p i e n t s u s i n g federal funds m u s t end after a m a x i m u m of f i v e 3'ears for a l l s p e l l s (times r e c e i v i n g assistance) c o m b i n e d , therebj' r e q u i r i n g that f a m i l i e s become self-supporting at that point.

I Persons i m m i g r a t i n g to the U n i t e d States after the passage of H . R . 3734 w i l l be i n e l i g i b l e for most means-tested programs, i n c l u d i n g T A N F , food stamps, a n d M e d i c a i d , for their first f i v e years of residence.

» I l l e g a l aliens w i l l be barred from a l l means-tested programs.^'^

President C l i n t o n expressed reluctance to sign this b i l l , saying, " Y o u can put wings on a pig, but that s t i l l does not make it an eagle." H e also expressed the belief that the 105th Congress w o u l d repeal or soften significant portions of the legisla- tion. However, the late Senator D a n i e l Pafrick M o y n i h a n , probably the leading expert on social welfare policy i n the Senate at the time, steongly asserted his belief that the votes s i m p l y w o u l d not be there to modify' this law. A s predicted by Sen- ator M o y n i h a n , there have as yet been no major modifications to soften this law.

Chapter 7: Fighting Poverty: Temporary Assistance to Needy FamiUes 127

S O C I A L A N A L Y S I S

F r o m the previous section, it is apparent that pubHc assistance i n this country has a l w a y s been controversial, generating m a n y strong feelings about w h a t the prob- l e m is and about the character of those benefiting from the program. I n this sec- tion, w e attempt to provide an accurate description of the problem, the population affected, the state of our knowledge regarding these, and the social values that shape our p u b l i c assistance programs. Because the T A N F program d i d not go into effect u n t i l J u l y 1997, some of the data available relate to the A F D C program.^^

Problem Description

A t the heart of our c h r o n i c dissatisfaction w i t h our w e l f a r e programs i s the fact that p u b l i c assistance addresses two different problems, a n d the solutions to these problems are i n h e r e n t l y contradictory. O n the one h a n d , p u b l i c w e l f a r e deals w i t h the p r o b l e m of c h i l d poverty. T h e s o l u t i o n to c h i l d poverty is f a i r l y s i m p l e a n d straightforward—the p r o v i s i o n of c a s h a n d other benefits to poor c h i l d r e n i n l e v e l s s u f f i c i e n t to l i f t them out of poverty. O n the other h a n d , pub- l i c assistance i s concerned w i t h the p r o b l e m of a d u l t dependency, people w h o are p e r c e i v e d as not doing the things necessary to be f u l l y f u n c t i o n i n g , con- tributing members of society. T h e s o l u t i o n to this p r o b l e m is also f a i r l y straightforward—reduce or completely e l i m i n a t e benefits i n order to force peo- ple to support t h e m s e l v e s . T h e d i f f i c u l t y i s , of course, that it i s not possible to p u r s u e these two goals s i m u l t a n e o u s l y . I f w e raise benefits i n order to reduce c h i l d poverty, w e r i s k encouraging adult dependency. I f w e become h a r s h a n d stingy i n order to reduce adult dependency, c h i l d r e n w i l l i n e v i t a b l y suffer. Because it is not possible to m a x i m i z e t w o divergent goals at the same t i m e , w e address t h e m s e r i a l l y , first p a y i n g attention to one a n d t h e n to the other. T h u s , a r o u n d of w e l f a r e reform that reduces c h i l d poverty by i n c r e a s i n g ben- efits w i l l be p e r c e i v e d as i n c r e a s i n g a d u l t dependency a n d w i l l lead to a reform effort to counteract t h i s . T h e reform effort w i l l attempt to reduce dependency by cutting benefits, w h i c h w i l l increase c h i l d poverty a n d lead to c a l l s for reform because of t h i s . T h e process w i l l go r o u n d a n d r o u n d ad i n f i n i t u m . T h i s p a r t i a l l y e x p l a i n s w h y the T A N F r e a u t h o r i z a t i o n b i l l , s c h e d u l e d for 2 0 0 1 , w a s not passed u n t i l 2006.

Population A large part of the u n p o p u l a r i t y of p u b l i c assistance has to do w i t h the p u b l i c ' s perception of characteristics of the recipients a n d of the program. T h e stereo- type of the t y p i c a l r e c i p i e n t i s a n e v e r - m a r r i e d m i n o r i t y - g r o u p w o m a n l i v i n g i n the i n n e r c i t y of a large u r b a n area, h a v i n g her first c h i l d at a v e r y young age, h a v i n g a large n u m b e r of c h i l d r e n , a n d r e c e i v i n g assistance on a more or less permanent basis. I n a d d i t i o n , the p u b l i c perceives the size of the p o p u l a t i o n a n d cost of the program as being huge a n d g r o w i n g at a n ever-increasing rate. L i k e most stereotypes, this one contains a seed of truth but is h i g h l y o v e r s i m - p l i f i e d . T h e f o l l o w i n g is a d e s c r i p t i o n of the T A N F p o p u l a t i o n based on the most accurate a n d recent data a v a i l a b l e .

Size I n 2006, there w e r e a n average of 1,802,567 f a m i l i e s averaging 2.3 members r e c e i v i n g T A N F , for a total of 4,145,904 r e c i p i e n t s (Table 7.1). T h i s sounds l i k e

128 Part III: The Framework Apphed

T a b l e Z . l C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the T A N F Population, 2002

Monthly average number of TANF families 1,802,557

Average number of persons in TANF families 2.3

Average number of children 1.9

Average monthly grant . • : • $355.00

Distribution of number of children in TANF families

One 49.0

Two 27.4

Three 13.4

Four or more 8.0

Distribution of cases by ethnicity

White • • • • - : • " : : 37.5

African American ' / . . . ' 35.5

Hispanic • - :•• / • 20.7

Other or multi-racial ,i 5.3

Unknown 0.9

Marital status of TANF parents

Single 59.5

Widowed 0.6

Married 10.5

Divorced 7.9

Separated 11.4

Education (Age 20 or older) •

Less than a high school diploma 40.7

High School Diploma 54.0

Associate Degree • , . i g

BA or higher . ^ : 1.3

Other credential • ' 1.5

Unknown . • 0.5

Employment status

Employed 22.9

Unemployed ' 77.1

Source: Adapted from data in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, TANF Seventh Annual Report to Congress, December 2006; 2 0 0 6 Green Book;. Ctiaracteristics and Financial Circumstances of TANF Recipients, www.acf.hhs.gov.

Chapter 7: Fightmg Poverty: Temporary' Assistance to Needy Families 129

T a b l e 7.2 A F D C / T A N F C a s e l o a d Size, 1960 to 2003

Recipients Families U.S. Population Percentage of Year Population

1960 3,005,000 787,000 180,671,000 1.7 1965 , 4,329,000 1,039,000 194,303,000 2.2

1970 8,455,000 2,208,000 205,052,000 4.1

1975 11,155,185 3,498,000 215,973,000 ^ ^ • ^ i . . 5.2

1980 10,597,445 3,542,380 227,726,000 4.7

1985 10,812,525 3,691,510 238,466,000 4.5

1990 11,460,382 3,974,322 249,913,000 4.6

1995 13,652,232 4,876,240 263,034,000 5.2

1996 12,648,859 4,553,339 265,284,000 4.8

1997 10,936,298 3,946,304 267,536,000 • ' 4.1

1998 8,770,376 3,179,167 270,029,000 3.2

1999 6,889,315 2,535,824 272,878,000 2.5

2000 5,964,000 2,259,000 281,400,000 2.1

2001 u. 0.:: 5,488,616 2,124,726 284,800,000 ^, - vd 1.9

2002 5,187,006 2,080,862 287,984,799 1.8

2003 4,963,771 2,039,917 290,850,005 : '

2004 4,761,535 1,983,973 293,555,404 1.5

2005 4,593,686 1,914,035 296,410,404 1.5

2005 4,145,904 1,802,557 299,398,484 1.4

Source: U.S. Department of Healtti and Human Services—Administration for Ctiildren and Families. Fact Sheet—Welfare, www.acf.dtitis .gov/programs/opa/facts/tanf.htm.;U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, TANF Seventh Annual Report to Congress, December 2006.

a large number, a n d i n d e e d i t i s , but it i s o n l y 1.8 percent of the U . S . p o p u l a - t i o n . A s s h o w n i n Table 7.2, the size of the A F D C caseload rose at a t r u l y a l a r m i n g rate b e t w e e n 1960 a n d 1975, but the rate of g r o w t h s l o w e d c o n s i d - erably u n t i l 1990, w h e n it once again began to grow at a r a p i d rate. I n 1999, t w o years before the passage of T A N F , the w e l f a r e p o p u l a t i o n began to d e c l i n e . F o l l o w i n g the passage of T A N F , the w e l f a r e p o p u l a t i o n c o n t i n u e d to d e c l i n e . T h e d e c l i n e accelerated u n t i l b y 2002 the caseload w a s at the l o w e s t l e v e l since 1960.

Cost A l t h o u g h the w e l f a r e r o l l s w e r e growing u n t i l 1994, the e x p e n d i t u r e , adjusted for i n f l a t i o n , has d e c l i n e d since 1976. I n 1976, total payments ( i n 1990 dollars)

130 Part III: The Framework Apphed

T a b l e 7.3 A v e r a g e A F D C / T A N F F a m i l y S i z e a n d M o n t h l y Benefit

Average Monthly Benefit Year Average Family Size (jn Constant Dollars)

1970 4.0 676 1975 V 3.2 576

1980 3.0 483

1985 3.0 . 443 • 'V. 1990 2.9 434

1995 2.9 373

2000 2.6 349

2003 2.5 354

Source: Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives, Overview of Entitlement Programs: 1995 Greenbook (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1995), p. 3 2 5 ; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, TANF Seventfi Annual Report to Congress, December 2006, various tables.

came to approximately $22 b i l l i o n . B y 1990, this amount h a d s h r u n k to about $18.5 b i l l i o n . T h e cap for total federal cost of the T A N F program is set at $16.5 b i l - l i o n , w h i c h w a s the a c t u a l 1994 federal government e x p e n d i t u r e on the A F D C program. T h e reason for this d e c l i n e i n e x p e n d i t u r e s is that, although the n u m - ber of A F D C f a m i l i e s e x p a n d e d u n t i l 1994, the average size of these f a m i l i e s d e c l i n e d a n d the size of the average A F D C grant also d e c l i n e d at a r a p i d rate (Table 7.3). A d j u s t e d for i n f l a t i o n , the average A F D C p a y m e n t dropped f r o m $676 i n 1970 to $434 i n 1990 a n d to $ 3 8 1 by 1 9 9 3 . " T h e average T A N F pay- ment i n 2003 for a f a m i l y w i t h t w o c h i l d r e n w a s o n l y $365 per m o n t h . More detail regarding the cost of the A F D C a n d T A N F programs i s p r o v i d e d i n the section on economic a n a l y s i s .

Race of recipients T h e r a c i a l c o m p o s i t i o n of the T A N F program is o n l y s l i g h t l y changed from that of the A F D C program. S l i g h t l y more t h a n 64 percent of T A N F r e c i p i e n t s are m i n o r i t y group members. N e a r l y 36 percent are A f r i c a n A m e r i c a n , 2 1 percent are H i s p a n i c , a n d 6.2 percent are m u l t i r a c i a l , other, or u n k n o w n . T h e r a c i a l a n d ethnic differences i n the T A N F p o p u l a t i o n are e v e n more apparent w h e n the c o m p o s i t i o n of the total p o p u l a t i o n is c o n s i d e r e d . A p p r o x i m a t e ^ 8 1 per- cent of the total U . S . p o p u l a t i o n is w h i t e , w h e r e a s w h i t e s constitute only about 36 percent of the T A N F p o p u l a t i o n . A p p r o x i m a t e l y 7 percent of w h i t e moth- ers receive a i d . A f r i c a n A m e r i c a n s m a k e u p about 12 percent of the total pop- ulation, but account for 35.6 percent of T A N F caseloads. A p p r o x i m a t e l y 25 percent of A f r i c a n A m e r i c a n mothers receive a i d . T h e s e factors account for the p o p u l a r stereotype of T A N F being a m i n o r i t y program e v e n though a l i t t l e more t h a n one-third of the r e c i p i e n t s are w h i t e .

F a m i l y size Another popular stereotype of the T A N F program i s that welfare recipients have v e r ) ' large families. A c t u a l l y , welfare families are not particularly large. Data from 1995 indicate that mothers on A F D C gave birth to an average of 2.5 c h i l d r e n , com- pared to a n average of 2.1 c h i l d r e n for mothers not on A F D C (Figure 7.1) and that

Chapter 7: Fighting Poverty: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families 131

Number of births per 1,000 mothers, by current A F D C status and current age of mother: Summer 1993

2,586

On A F D C Not on A F D C

3,226 3,405

2,837

2,464

2,123 1,964

1,407

1,094

1,481

1,891 2,150

2,267 2,375

Total: 15-44 15-19 2 0 - 2 4 2 5 - 2 9 3 0 - 3 4 3 5 - 3 9 4 0 - 4 4

Current age of mother

F i g u r e 7.1 Fertility Rate of AFDC and Non-AFDC Mothers Source: Bureau of the Census Statistical Brief, Mothers Who Receive AFDC Payments—Fertiiity and Socioeconomic Characteristics (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, March 1995).

fertility rates for welfare recipients are declining. F e r t i l i t y data for T A N F mothers are not yet available, but they w i l l probably be similar. I n 2006, over h a l f of T A N F families had only one c h i l d and more than a quarter had two c h i l d r e n . Less than one-tenth of the families h a d more than three children.^" These figures are very close to those for a l l families w i t h mothers of childbearing age.

Age of mothers T A N F mothers are younger t h a n those w h o do not receive T A N F , averaging t h i r t y years of age, compared to t h i r t y - f o u r years for mothers not r e c e i v i n g T A N F . E i g h t percent of T A N F parents are teenagers, a n d 17 percent are t h i r t y - n i n e years or older.

Education T h e n u m b e r of years of s c h o o l i n g is s i g n i f i c a n t l y less for T A N F r e c i p i e n t s t h a n for the general p o p u l a t i o n . Nearlj? h a l f (45.2 percent) of T A N F r e c i p i e n t s never completed h i g h s c h o o l , c o m p a r e d to o n l y 14.5 percent of n o n r e c i p i e n t s . It i s interesting that the e d u c a t i o n a l l e v e l of T A N F r e c i p i e n t s is l o w e r t h a n i t w a s for A F D C r e c i p i e n t s . T h i s is probably a r e s u l t of the large n u m b e r of r e c i p i e n t s w h o have r e c e n t l y left the r o l l s . It i s reasonable to guess that those w i t h the highest e d u c a t i o n a l l e v e l s are those f i n d i n g e m p l o y m e n t a n d e x i t i n g the program.

Length of time on welfare (spells) P o l i c y analysts refer to the length of time a person is on assistance as a spell. T h e major concern of p o l i c y m a k e r s , as w e l l as of the general p u b l i c , about pub- l i c assistance programs is their belief that recipients get on the r o l l s a n d never leave. It is precisely this concern that is b e h i n d the T A N F time l i m i t of two years

132 Part III: Tha Framework Applied

for any one s p e l l a n d five years for the total of a l l spells. T h i s is a somewhat troublesome area to discuss because the terms c a n be confusing a n d the same data can be presented i n w a y s that create different i m p r e s s i o n s . F o r example, c r i t i c s of A F D C asserted that 65 percent of recipients of A F D C r e c e i v e d assis- tance for eight or more y e a r s , w h i l e defenders of the program s a i d that n e a r l y 60 percent of people were on A F D C for less t h a n two years. B o t h are, i n fact, u s i n g the same data, a n d w h a t both say is equally true. H o w can this be?

T h e a n s w e r is that statistics regarding w e l f a r e spells look quite different depending on w h e t h e r by " t i m e on w e l f a r e " y o u are referring to everyone w h o has ever h a d a w e l f a r e s p e l l or to the length of the s p e l l of people c u r r e n t l y on the r o l l s . L e t u s e x p l a i n by w a y of the f o l l o w i n g e x a m p l e :

Imagine y o u are asked to compile statistics on average length of room rental i n a s m a l l apartment motel i n your t o w n . T h e motel has ten u n i t s , and y o u f i n d that eight of the units have been occupied by the same peo- ple for the entire previous year. T h e other two u n i t s have been rented by different people each month. T h u s the motel has had a total of thirty-two tenants (the eight year-long tenants and twenty-four w h o each rented one of the other two rooms for a month). I f someone were to ask y o u , based on your analysis, w h a t the t y p i c a l tenant i n the apartment/motel i s , y o u c o u l d answer one of two w a y s . Y o u could say that the t y p i c a l tenant was a long-term renter, because at any one time 80 percent (eight of the ten) were long-term renters. However, y o u could just as honestly answer that the t y p i c a l tenant was a short-term renter, because over the past year 75 per- cent of a l l guests (twenty-four short-term renters out of a total of thirty-two) rented a room for only a month.

A s c a n be seen by i n s p e c t i o n of Table 7.4, the s i t u a t i o n w i t h w e l f a r e spells is s i m i l a r to the motel example. Of a l l the persons w h o ever began a w e l f a r e s p e l l , 59.25 percent r e c e i v e d assistance for less t h a n two years. So, for the majority of people w h o u s e d the A F D C program, it w o r k e d e x a c t l y as it w a s i n t e n d e d . A l m o s t 60 percent of people w h o r e c e i v e d assistance u s e d it to h e l p t h e m over a temporary l i f e c r i s i s (death i n the f a m i l y , d i v o r c e , i l l n e s s , job l a y - off, etc.), a n d then they got back on their feet a n d c o n t i n u e d l i f e as p r o d u c t i v e , t a x - p a y i n g c i t i z e n s . F e w people i n our society begrudge the program as it w o r k e d for these people.

However, of the people on the program at any one time, the current s p e l l for 49 percent of them w a s longer t h a n eight years. I f a l l the spells of the people on

T a b l e lA L e n g t h of T i m e on Welfare (Spells) (in P e r c e n t a g e s )

Years

Persons Beginning

a Spell

Persons on Welfare at a Point in Time

(Current Spell)

Persons on Welfare at a Point in Time

(Total Spells)

1-2 years 59.25 15 7 3-7 years 27.75 , 36 28 8-1- years 13.00 49 65 Totals 100.00 100 100

Source: Adapted from Greg J . Duncan and Saul D. Hoffman, "The Use and Effects of Welfare: A Survey of Recent Evidence," Social Service Review62 (June 1988), p. 2 4 3 . Used with permission of the University & Chicago Press.

Chapter 7: Fighting Poverty: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families ' 133

the program at any one time w e r e added together, 65 percent of the recipients h a d spells totaling eight or more years. T h u s , 65 percent of the people on A F D C at any one time w e r e c l e a r l y stuck i n the program. T h e y became dependent on it, a n d , for some reason, be i t personal l i m i t a t i o n or l a c k of opportunity, they w e r e unable to escape. N e a r l y everyone agreed that something different w a s needed for this segment of the population. T h i s is the challenge for the T A N F program.

T h e T A N F r o l l s have been f a l l i n g r a p i d l y , but most l i k e l y man)', probably most, of those l e a v i n g are those w h o w o u l d have been short-term recipients under the A F D C program. A recent study by Mathematic Policy' R e s e a r c h looked at welfare spells for T A N F r e c i p i e n t s . T h e study f o l l o w e d for five years a group of 2,000 T A N F recipients i n N e w Jersey w h o entered the program i n 1997-1998. T h e results w e r e s i m i l a r , although a little better, t h a n those f o u n d by earlier studies of A F D C recipients; 5 1 percent exited the T A N F r o l l s during their first year of a i d , 14 percent w e r e on T A N F for the entire five years of the studj', a n d 4 1 percent exited T A N F but c y c l e d back into the program at least once before e x i t i n g again. T h e question now, as w e deal w i t h the two-year s p e l l a n d five-year total l i m i t under T A N F i s : W h a t w i l l society's response be to the 14 percent of T A N F recipients w h o do not exit the program on their o w n ?

The onion metaphor A s s h o u l d be apparent from the preceding i n f o r m a t i o n , the w e l f a r e p o p u l a t i o n is m u c h more diverse t h a n the p o p u l a r stereotype. Cor- bett developed a u s e h i l metaphor relating the v a r i o u s parts of the w e l f a r e pop- u l a t i o n to layers of a n o n i o n . T h e outer l a y e r consists of r e c i p i e n t s w h o receive assistance for two or f e w e r years. T h e s e people generally enter w e l f a r e due to a discrete a n d e a s i l y observable event i n their l i v e s — i l l n e s s , job loss, d i v o r c e , or the l i k e . T h e y generally have c o m p a r a t i v e l y h i g h education, ability, a n d m o t i v a t i o n a n d , w i t h a few supports, w i l l reenter the labor market i n a short time. T h e o n l y t h i n g this group needs i s short-term f i n a n c i a l help a n d some assistance i n regaining entry into the labor market.

T h e m i d d l e layer of the o n i o n is composed of people w h o receive assis- tance for t w o to eight years a n d are often on-and-off-again r e c i p i e n t s . T h e s e people have l i m i t e d options. T h e y generally have some basic s k i l l s a n d educa- tion, but the e m p l o y m e n t opportunities do not e x i s t to elevate t h e m out of poverty on a permanent basis. T h e i r fortunes are h i g h l y related to the f u n c t i o n - ing of the economy. W h e n the economy is doing w e l l , members of the m i d d l e l a y e r w i l l have opportunities available to them that a l l o w them to escape w e l - fare, i f perhaps not poverty. W h e n the economj' i s doing poorly, because of their r e l a t i v e l y l o w l e v e l of education a n d s k i l l s , people i n this layer w i l l be the first to be l a i d off. A p p r o p r i a t e i n t e r v e n t i o n s for members of this l a y e r are educational/vocational preparation to h e l p t h e m be more competitive a n d measures to strengthen the economy.

T h e core of the onion is composed of recipients w h o r e m a i n on assistance for eight or more j/ears, sometimes referred to as being systems dependent. T h i s is the group w e u s u a l l ) ' picture w h e n discussing public welfare. I n addition to l o w earn- ing capacity brought on hy l a c k of education, training, a n d job experience, this group also faces barriers to self-sufficiency s u c h as drug abuse, psychological problems, health problems, abusive personal relationships, and so on. T h i s group is also often suspected of l a c k i n g basic motivation and of possessing values that are not conducive to w o r k . T h i s group requires far more extensive interventions to achieve self-sufficiency than do members of the two outer laj^ers.

F i n a l l y there is the v e r y i n n e r core. T h e s e people are p e r m a n e n t l } ' f u n c - t i o n a l l y l i m i t e d due to severe p h y s i c a l or emotional i m p a i r m e n t . F o r these

134 Part IIP The Framework Apphed

people, s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y is s i m p l y not a r e a l i s t i c objective. T h e response to t h i s group s h o u l d be to recognize that they w i l l never be totally self-sufficient a n d to develop n o n s t i g m a t i z i n g w a y s of p r o v i d i n g i n c o m e support. Corbett b e l i e v e s , " A n e x p a n d e d d i s a b i l i t y program (e.g., a l i b e r a l i z a t i o n of S u p p l e m e n - tal S e c u r i t y I n c o m e ) seems a n appropriate v e h i c l e through w h i c h to assist this group."^^All of this has clear i m p l i c a t i o n s for the reform of T A N F .

T A N F time limits One of the centerpieces of the T A N F program is the s i x t y - m o n t h l i f e t i m e l i m i t on receipt of assistance. A c c o r d i n g to Corbett's typology, there are t w o groups, those he c a l l s the core a n d the i n n e r core, w h o most l i k e l y w i l l not be able to a c h i e v e s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y . W h a t w i l l h a p p e n to these people? F r o m the beginning, this has been one of the big questions of the T A N F program. A s i t turns out, the s i x t y - m o n t h time l i m i t is not i n f l e x i b l e . A f a m i l y can continue to receive benefits for longer t h a n 60 months i n one of three w a y s . T h e first is referred to as a n extension, w h e r e b y states c a n continue to p r o v i d e benefits i n situations of h a r d s h i p or domestic v i o l e n c e . T h e second i s referred to as exemptions, w h e r e b y the T A N F c l o c k does not r u n u n d e r c e r t a i n c i r c u m - stances, s u c h as c h i l d - o n l y cases (the c h i l d i s r e c e i v i n g benefits but the care- taker i s not) or cases l i v i n g o n a n I n d i a n r e s e r v a t i o n or i n a n A l a s k a n N a t i v e v i l l a g e . E x t e n s i o n s a n d exemptions cannot total more t h a n 20 percent of a state's total caseload. T h e t h i r d means of extending benefits b e y o n d 60 months is that states m a y elect to continue a d d i t i o n a l r e c i p i e n t s on benefits by p a y i n g for t h e m out of state f u n d s , u n d e r w h a t is referred to as Separate State P r o - grams ( S S P s ) . A s of 2002, 36,051 f a m i l i e s w e r e r e c e i v i n g benefits u n d e r a n extension, 890,124 u n d e r a n e x e m p t i o n , a n d 149,075 through SSPs.^*

Relevant Research A vast amount of research r e l e v a n t to w e l f a r e reform is a v a i l a b l e , most of w h i c h is s y s t e m a t i c a l l y ignored by p o l i c y m a k e r s . I n Chapter 3, w e b r i e f l y m e n - t i o n e d the N e w Jersey, Seattle, a n d D e n v e r I n c o m e M a i n t e n a n c e E x p e r i m e n t s , the largest a n d most ambitious attempts to test a n alternative approach to pub- l i c assistance. We w i l l o n l y tangentially m e n t i o n these studies here, e v e n though they are c o n s i d e r e d l a n d m a r k s , because the approacJi tJiey tested, k n o w n as a guaranteed a n n u a l i n c o m e or negative i n c o m e tax, is a l i b e r a l w e l - fare reform approach no longer i n the p u b l i c assistance p o l i c y arena. .The largest body of research r e l e v a n t to w e l f a r e r e f o r m consists of n u m e r o u s s t u d - ies being c o n d u c t e d for the purpose of e v a l u a t i n g current reform efforts. T h e s e w i l l be d i s c u s s e d i n some d e t a i l i n the section on e v a l u a t i o n . T h e r e is also a good deal of research on the economics of w e l f a r e , some of w h i c h w i l l be r e v i e w e d i n the economic a n a l y s i s section. I n t h i s section, w e r e v i e w research that studies one of the greatest concerns of w e l f a r e p o l i c y m a k e r s — w h e t h e r the receipt of w e l f a r e promotes u n d e s i r a b l e behavior among r e c i p i e n t s .

A constant feature of w e l f a r e p o l i c y is the fear that by g i v i n g people assis- tance w e w i l l somehow damage their m o r a l character by, i n the terminology of economics, exposing t h e m to m o r a l h a z a r d . Major concerns are that receipt of p u b l i c assistance w i l l promote f a m i l y i n s t a b i l i t j ' b y enabling w o m e n to leave their husbands or to have c h i l d r e n w i t h o u t ever being m a r r i e d ; that receipt of w e l f a r e w i l l damage the recipient's s p i r i t of independence (i.e., w i l l make the person p e r m a n e n t l y dependent); a n d , f i n a l l y , that c h i l d r e n w h o grow u p i n w e l f a r e households w i l l t h i n k being o n w e l f a r e is a n o r m a l state of affairs a n d w i l l hence be more l i k e t y to t u r n to w e l f a r e for their o w n support w h e n they become adults.

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D a v i d E U w o o d a n d M a r y Jo Bane have s t u d i e d the relation of welfare receipt to f a m i l y formation. T h e y looked at a l i s t of f a m i l y structure variables a n d , u s i n g several databases, a n a l y z e d the effects of w e l f a r e receipt on these variables. T h e data i n d i c a t e d no effect of w e l f a r e receipt on births to u n m a r r i e d mothers a n d only a s m a l l effect on divorce, separation, or the establishment of female-headed households. Interestingly, the one r e a l l y significant effect of w e l - fare they f o u n d w a s that i n states w i t h l o w benefit l e v e l s , welfare mothers w e r e more l i k e l y to l i v e w i t h t h e i r parents t h a n they w e r e i n high-benefit states. T h e i r c o n c l u s i o n w a s that they f o u n d little evidence that receipt of w e l f a r e w a s a p r i m a r y cause of v a r i a t i o n i n f a m i l y structure.

T h e effect of more generous w e l f a r e p a y m e n t s o n f a m i l y s t a b i l i t y w a s also one of the major questions i n the I n c o m e M a i n t e n a n c e E x p e r i m e n t s . F i n d i n g s f r o m the e x p e r i m e n t s i n G a r y , N e w Jersey, a n d the R u r a l s t u d i e s w e r e i n c o n c l u s i v e . H o w e v e r , the f i n d i n g s f r o m Seattle a n d D e n v e r i n d i c a t e d that the more generous negative i n c o m e t a x benefit w a s strongly r e l a t e d to i n c r e a s e d m a r i t a l d i s s o l u t i o n rates for b o t h b l a c k s a n d w h i t e s . Rates for H i s - p a n i c s also i n c r e a s e d , but i n c r e a s e s w e r e s m a l l e r a n d not s t a t i s t i c a l l y signif- i c a n t . T h e s e data w e r e r e a n a l y z e d i n the late 1980s, u s i n g more s o p h i s t i c a t e d s t a t i s t i c a l t e c h n i q u e s , a n d the p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n b e t w e e n the program a n d i n c r e a s e d rates of m a r i t a l d i s s o l u t i o n w a s f o u n d to be s p u r i o u s . H o w e v e r , b y the t i m e the r e a n a l y s i s w a s r e l e a s e d , the damage to the idea of a negative i n c o m e t a x as a w e l f a r e a p p r o a c h h a d been done, a n d the topic w a s no longer i n the p o l i c y arena.

L e r m a n r e v i e w e d the first f i v e years of T A N F data l o o k i n g for effects on f a m i l y structure. Consistent w i t h the findings of E U w o o d a n d B a n e , he f o u n d that the p o l i c y changes h a d no effect. I n fact, the proportion of m a r r i e d r e c i p - ients has c o n t i n u e d to d e c l i n e , as has the rate of m a r r i e d parenthood generally.^'

A popular stereotype of p u b l i c assistance i s that c h i l d r e n w h o grow u p i n w e l f a r e households w i l l be m u c h more l i k e l y t h a n n o n w e l f a r e c h i l d r e n to become welfare-dependent adults themselves. T h i s is related to the " c u l t u r e of p o v e r t y " idea referred to earlier—that c h i l d r e n w h o grow u p on w e l f a r e w i l l be taught v a l u e s that are p o s i t i v e t o w a r d w e l f a r e receipt a n d therefore w i l l not have the a v e r s i o n to w e l f a r e that people w h o d i d not grow u p i n w e l f a r e house- h o l d s generally have. Consequently, the argument goes, w h e n times get tough, these people w i l l be more l i k e l y to t u r n to w e l f a r e for support than w i l l people w h o grew u p i n n o n w e l f a r e h o u s e h o l d s . U s i n g fourteen years of data from the U n i v e r s i t y of M i c h i g a n ' s P a n e l S t u d y of Income D y n a m i c s , M a r t h a H i l l a n d M i c h a e l P o n z a looked at the intergenerational t r a n s m i s s i o n of w e l f a r e depen- dency. T h e y f o u n d that w e l f a r e c h i l d r e n t y p i c a l l y d i d not become w e l f a r e - dependent a d u l t s . O n l y 19 percent of the c h i l d r e n f r o m A f r i c a n A m e r i c a n w e l f a r e f a m i l i e s a n d 26 percent of c h i l d r e n from w h i t e w e l f a r e f a m i l i e s w e r e h e a v i l y w e l f a r e dependent i n their o w n homes. I n terms of intergenerational t r a n s m i s s i o n of w e l f a r e dependency, there w e r e no s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t dif- ferences b e t w e e n A f r i c a n A m e r i c a n s w h o grew u p i n welfare-dependent homes a n d those w h o d i d not. F o r w h i t e s , the o n l y s i g n i f i c a n t difference w a s for people w h o grew u p i n homes w i t h the v e r y highest l e v e l of p a r e n t a l w e l - fare dependence, a n d e v e n these differences w e r e not consistent across a l l of the models tested.^**

It s h o u l d be noted that questions c o n c e r n i n g the r e l a t i o n s h i p between w e l - fare receipt a n d the behavior/character of r e c i p i e n t s are e x t r e m e l y c o m p l e x a n d the research results are not clear to the p o i n t of being u n a s s a i l a b l e . H o w - ever, as Greg D u n c a n a n d S a u l H o f f m a n state,

136 Fort III: The Pramework Apphed

T h e fact tliat s e v e r a l m i l l i o n i n d i v i d u a l s are p e r s i s t e n t l } ' dependent on w e l f a r e raises questions of whetfier w e l f a r e i t s e l f promotes d i v o r c e or out-of-wedlock b i r t h s , discourages marriages, or i n s t i l l s counterpro- d u c t i v e attitudes and v a l u e s i n r e c i p i e n t s . Sparse e v i d e n c e on the effects of w e l f a r e on the attitudes of r e c i p i e n t s f a i l s to s h o w a n } ' s u c h l i n k s . 29

H a s w e l f a r e p o l i c y m a k i n g been affected by relevant research? T h e e v i - dence does not i n d i c a t e that i t has. W h y i s this so? T h e a n s w e r is that the research evidence i s i n direct c o n f l i c t w i t h some v e r y deeply h e l d U . S . v a l u e s .

Values and Welfare Reform A s is the case i n most areas of s o c i a l w e l f a r e p o l i c y , i n p u b l i c assistance deeply h e l d v a l u e s supersede e m p i r i c a l k n o w l e d g e . P u b l i c assistance exists at the intersection of two c o n f l i c t i n g sets of v a l u e s , one s u p p o r t i v e of w e l f a r e a n d one d e e p l j ' antagonistic to it. T h e v a l u e s that are antagonistic to w e l f a r e are:

The United States as the L a n d of Opportunity

Most of us S I N C E R E L Y B e l i e v e that i n this country there i s opportunit}' for everyone, i f only a person looks for it. A n y o n e w i t h a good heart a n d a w i l l i n g s p i r i t c a n f i n d w o r k a n d get ahead. T h e idea that i n our post- i n d u s t r i a l , international economy there is no place for m a n y w o r k e r s offends this belief. P u b l i c welfare is seen as an accusation that the econ- omy does not w o r k w e l l a n d , as s u c h , is seen as almost u n - A m e r i c a n . T h e booming economy of recent years has reinforced this belief.

I n d i v i d u a l i s m

Americans believe that i n d i v i d u a l s are autonomous and have control over their owm destinies. We believe that people should get f u l l credit for their successes and take f i d l blame for their problems. We are s t i l l fascinated by.

One of tfie jewels in tfie crown of American values is tfie expectation that everyone will work hard. People receiving TANF are viewed as violating this value and thus the program's emphasis on getting recipients back to work is a very popular feature.

Chapter 7: Fightmg Poverty: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families 137

u p l i f t e d by, and—more important—^believe i n the rags-to-riches A m e r i - can success story. We reject the notion of collective responsibility for i n d i v i d u a l problems. A s p u b l i c welfare i s , by definition, collective responsibility, w e t h i n k it is a bad thing. I n d i v i d u a l s s h o u l d support themselves a n d not r e l y on their neighbors.

Work

W o r k is considered important because it p r o v i d e s the means for sur- v i v a l . H o w e v e r , w e also t h i n k of w o r k as a m o r a l v i r t u e , v a l u a b l e for its o w n sake, not just for its c o n t r i b u t i o n to our m a t e r i a l w e l l - b e i n g . L a z i - ness a n d idleness are v i e w e d as evidence of w e a k m o r a l character. Because w e l f a r e a l l o w s people to s u r v i v e w i t h o u t w o r k i n g , w e tend to suspect that i t is a contributor to i m m o r a l i t y . A s s u c h , p u b l i c w e l f a r e i s v i e w e d as more of a m o r a l p r o b l e m t h a n a n economic one.

The Traditional Nuclear F a m i l y

T h e nuclear f a m i l y — h u s b a n d , w i f e , a n d c h i l d r e n — i s v i e w e d as the m a i n p i l l a r of a stable, m o r a l society. T h i s type of f a m i l y is considered a m o r a l v i r t u e , and the more a f a m i l y deviates from this i d e a l the greater the degree of social disapproval. A s the welfare population is p r i m a r i l y composed of female-headed families w i t h a h i g h proportion never mar- r i e d , the morality of these f a m i l i e s , and by extension the w h o l e program, is suspect.

I n support of p u b l i c w e l f a r e are the f o l l o w i n g v a l u e s :

H u m a n i t a r i a n i s m

A l t h o u g h some of our v a l u e s m a y be rather h a r s h , at the core the A m e r - i c a n people believe that i t is w r o n g , e v e n s i n f u l , to a l l o w other people, e s p e c i a l l y c h i l d r e n , to suffer w h e n w e have it i n our p o w e r to h e l p .

Sense of Community

D a v i d E U w o o d has stated, " T h e autonomy of the i n d i v i d u a l and primacy of the f a m i l } ' tend to p u s h people i n i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c and often isolating directions. B u t the desire for commrmity remains strong i n everjdliing from religion to neighborhood. Compassion and sympathy for others can be seen as flowing from a sense of connection w i t h and empathy for others."^"

T h u s , our v a l u e s regarding p u b l i c w e l f a r e amoimt to w h a t L l o y d Free a n d H a d l e y C a n t r i l have referred to as a " s c h i z o i d c o m b i n a t i o n of operational l i b - e r a l i s m w i t h ideological conservatism."^^ O n the one h a n d , strongly h e l d v a l - ues l e a d us to c o n c l u d e that p r o v i d i n g f i n a n c i a l assistance to people is a bad thing. A s s i s t a n c e leads, i n the p u b l i c m i n d , to people g i v i n g u p i n d i v i d u a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for their l i v e s ; it a l l o w s people to l i v e w i t h o u t w o r k i n g , w h i c h encourages the development of sloth a n d l a z i n e s s , major character flaws; it a l l o w s w o m e n to l i v e w i t h o u t h u s b a n d s , w h i c h is seen as contributing to fam- i l y b r e a k d o w n . O n the other h a n d , w e feel d r i v e n out of a sense of c o m p a s s i o n a n d desire for c o m m i m i t y to h e l p people w h o are suffering. T h i s v a l u e c o n f l i c t over p u b l i c assistance is r e a l l y not h a r d to u n d e r s t a n d . T h e different v a l u e s relate to the different objectives of the program d i s c u s s e d earlier. T h e objective of doing something about the p r o b l e m of c h i l d poverty i s addressed by our v a l - ues of h u m a n i t a r i a n i s m a n d desire for c o m m u n i t y . T h e objective of discourag- ing a d u l t dependency i s addressed by the v a l u e s of i n d i v i d u a l i s m , w o r k , a n d

138 Part IIP The Framework Apphed

f a m i l y . E U w o o d asks, " C a n w e design s o c i a l p o l i c i e s that are consistent w i t h a l l these v a l u e s or that at least m i n i m i z e the conUicts b e t w e e n t h e m ? " H e con- c l u d e s , a n d w e agree, that "the c o n f l i c t is inevitable."''^

E C O N O M I C A N A L Y S I S

A l t h o u g h w e generally c l a s s i f y p u b l i c assistance as s o c i a l w e l f a r e p o l i c y , w e m u s t recognize that at its core i t is economic p o l i c y . T h e need for p u b l i c assis- tance results from a f a i l u r e i n our economy to p r o v i d e a place for everyone. T h u s , probably the most important questions about p u b l i c assistance are eco- n o m i c questions. T h e major macroeconomic questions are: H o w m u c h does w e l f a r e cost? Is the cost growing? a n d W h a t are the e m p l o y m e n t prospects of w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s i n the market economy? T h e major m i c r o e c o n o m i c c o n c e r n is w h e t h e r w e l f a r e receipt serves as a w o r k d i s i n c e n t i v e : Is the total package of benefits so great that a person is better off on assistance t h a n he or she w o u l d be w o r k i n g , thus leading to a r a t i o n a l economic d e c i s i o n to favor w e l f a r e over w o r k ? A second m i c r o e c o n o m i c c o n c e r n has to do w i t h the economic effects of w e l f a r e receipt on f a m i l y formation. A f i n a l m i c r o e c o n o m i c concern, one that has not been g i v e n m u c h attention but deserves more, i s : W h a t are the behaviors that w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s a c t u a l l y engage i n i n order to s u r v i v e on the m i n i m a l grants they receive?

Macroeconomic Issues L i s t e n i n g to politicians a n d to the popular m e d i a leads to the c o n c l u s i o n that p u b l i c assistance i s tremendously expensive and is d r i v i n g our economy into r u i n . It is also frequently alleged that the cost of p u b l i c assistance has been increasing at a r a p i d rate a n d has been a major contributor to past federal budget deficits, although this concern has lessened after the implementation of TANF.^^

How much does public assistance actually cost? T h e s u r p r i s i n g a n s w e r i s that i n terms of the total government budget, not v e r y m u c h . T h e total c o m b i n e d spending of federal a n d state governments on T A N F i n 2 0 0 1 w a s a little more t h a n $25.5 b i l l i o n , 60 percent f r o m federal revenues a n d 40 percent from the state treasuries. I n absolute terms, of course, this is a lot of money, and, presented w i t h nothing to compare i t to, i t does seem l i k e a reason for major concern. H o w e v e r , w h e n v i e w e d i n context, the amount seems s m a l l . T h e 2009 federal budget alone amounts to more t h a n $ 3 . 1 t r i l l i o n . T h e federal share of T A N F w a s less t h a n 1 percent of this figure. B e t w e e n 1996 a n d 2 0 0 1 , the amount states spent on T A N F ( i n constant d o l l a r s ] d e c l i n e d from $15 b i l l i o n to $9.7 b i l l i o n . B y w a y of c o m p a r i s o n , i n 2009 the Department of Defense i s s c h e d u l e d to receive $515.4 b i l l i o n , a n d $388 b i l l i o n has been a l l o - cated to the T r o u b l e d A s s e t s R e l i e f Program ( T A R P ) . T h u s , it can be seen that p u b l i c assistance i s not a major contributor to either federal or state deficits, a n d cutting costs for the program by r e p l a c i n g A F D C w i t h T A N F has not r e s u l t e d i n a great savings, although states are somewhat better off.

Is the cost of public assistance growing? T h e other c o m m o n macroeconomic c o n c e r n regarding p u b l i c assistance is that its cost i s growing at a r a p i d rate a n d i s , i n fact, out of control. T h i s is also not true. A s w e noted earlier, the cost, i n constant dollars, has a c t u a l l y d e c l i n e d since 1976. T h e reason for t h i s perception of the g r o w t h of p u b l i c assistance

Chapter /: Fighting Poverty: Temporaryr Assistance to Needy Families 139

probablj'' has to do w i t h the fact that data on the cost of A F D C , a n d n o w T A N F , have general!}' been l u m p e d i n w i t h general s o c i a l spending, w h i c h has, as c a n be seen i n F i g u r e 7.2, i n c r e a s e d s i g n i f i c a n t l y since 1980. H o w e v e r , the l i o n ' s share of the increase i s accounted for by S o c i a l S e c u r i t y , M e d i c a r e , a n d M e d - i c a i d . A F D C a n d food stamps i n c r e a s e d at modest l e v e l s , a n d the cost w a s d e c l i n i n g even before the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n of T A N F i n 1997. E v e n w h e n look- ing at total s o c i a l spending, m a n y economists argue that the rate of g r o w t h has been v e r y moderate. R i c h a r d S u t c h , for e x a m p l e , has a n a l y z e d s o c i a l spending a n d c o n c l u d e s , " S i n c e the n i i d - 1 9 7 0 s , s o c i a l spending, has been stable . . . T h e i m p a c t of recessions i n 1 9 7 5 - 1 9 7 6 , 1 9 8 2 - 1 9 8 3 , a n d 1 9 9 1 - 1 9 9 2 can be seen, but, o v e r a l l , s o c i a l spending has been growing at about the same rate as the economy for t w e n t y y e a r s . A s c a n be seen i n F i g u r e 7.3, the cost of T A N F has a c t u a l l y d e c l i n e d since 1996.

Prospects for employment of welfare recipients One of the major p r o v i s i o n s of the T A N F program i s a l i m i t of t w o years for any one w e l f a r e s p e l l a n d a l i f e t i m e l i m i t of f i v e years for the total of a l l spells. T h i s has been referred to as a " s h o c k - t h e r a p y " approach, b a s i c a l l y t e l l i n g r e c i p i e n t s that they h a v e o n l y a l i m i t e d amount of time to get their l i v e s together a n d t h e n they, a n d their c h i l d r e n , w i l l be o n their o w n . C e n t r a l to t h i s p r o v i s i o n is the " ^ s u m p t i o n t h a t there is w o r k for everyone i f they w i l l j u s t do w h a t is neces- sary to obtain it. T h u s , a k e y research question for p u b l i c assistance p o l i c y is w h e t h e r this a s s u m p t i o n is true.

140 Part III- The Framework Apphed

Federal spending for major benefit programs by fiscal year In 1993 dollars

'80 '81 '82 '83 '84 '85 '86 '87 '88 '89 '90 '91 '92 '93 '94

F i g u r e 2.2 Entitlement Spending Source: Congressional Budget Office, Office of Management and Budget.

A n interesting opportunity for a n a t u r a l e x p e r i m e n t o n this shock-therapy approach o c c u r r e d i n M i c h i g a n w h e n the state terminated its general assis- tance ( G A ) program i n 1 9 9 1 . G e n e r a l assistance is a state-financed w e l f a r e pro- gram i n t e n d e d to benefit people w h o look v e r y m u c h l i k e the T A N F p o p u l a t i o n but w h o are not eligible for T A N F for one reason or another, generally because they do not have c h i l d r e n at home. S a n d r a Danziger a n d Sherrie K o s s o u d j i l o o k e d at former G A r e c i p i e n t s i n M i c h i g a n t w o j'ears after their t e r m i n a t i o n f r o m the program to see h o w the}' h a d fared. T h e y f o i m d that about one-half of former r e c i p i e n t s w i t h a h i g h school d i p l o m a or G E D w e r e w o r k i n g , but fewer t h a n one-quarter of those l a c k i n g these credentials w e r e e m p l o y e d . A m o n g those w h o w e r e w o r k i n g , v e r y f e w w e r e earning enough money to elevate themselves over the poverty l i n e . T h i s study "suggests that w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s w h o r e a c h the time l i m i t , but are not offered w o r k opportunities, w i l l have dif- f i c u l t y obtaining a n d h o l d i n g jobs."^^

P r i o r to the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n of T A N F , a n u m b e r of scholars predicted that the labor market w o u l d not be able to absorb the i n f l o w of former w e l f a r e r e c i p - i e n t s . T h e i r gloomy predictions, at least i n i t i a l l y , turned out to be incorrect. E a r l y data i n d i c a t e d that people e x i t i n g welfare w e r e generally w o r k i n g a n d w e r e enjoying incomes m u c h greater t h a n they h a d as recipients."''^ A study of labor markets i n t w e n t y large metropolitan areas c o n c l u d e d that the markets h a d been able to absorb the n e w w o r k e r s w i t h o u t increasing the u n e m p l o y m e n t rate.''^ H o w e v e r , it s h o u l d be noted that the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n of T A N F occurred i n w h a t B r a u n e r and Loprest refer to as "stellar labor market conditions."^^^ H o w e v e r , n o w that the country is i n a recession a n d T A N F caseloads are begin- n i n g to rise i n m a n y states, the employment picture for people l e a v i n g w e l f a r e , as w e l l as for those w h o have recently left, m a y be quite different.'*"

T h e c o n c l u s i o n f r o m a n a n a l y s i s of the macroeconomic aspects of p u b l i c assistance i s that the cost i s so s m a l l i n r e l a t i o n to other parts of the economy

Chapter 7: Fightmg Poverty: Temporaiy Assistance to Needy Families 141

1996 ($32.4 billion)

Administrative

2000 ($26.4 billion)

Ctiild C a r e Administrative

Individual development accounts, < 1 % (3 states) Family formation, 2 % (10 states) Out-of-wedlock pregnancy prevention, 2 % (15 states) Tax credits, 3 % (6 states) Transportation, 10% (47 states)

Separate state programs, 17% (32 states)

-Social Services Block Grant, 19% (44 states)

-Unspecified, 47% (45 states)

F i g u r e 2.3 Distribution of F e d e r a l a n d State W e l f a r e S p e n d i n g , 1 9 9 6 a n d 2 0 0 0 (in 2 0 0 0 D o l l a r s ) Source: Sheila R. Zedlewski, David Merriman, Sarah Staveteig, and Kenneth Finegold, " T A N F Funding and Spend- ing across the States," in Alan Weil and Kenneth Finegold, Eds., Welfare Reform: The /VexMcf (Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2 0 0 2 ) , p. 234. Original source note: 1996 data collected from federal sources on individual spending on programs replaced by TANF; 2 0 0 0 data from the ACF. Reprinted by permission.

that its effects o n the economy are m i n i m a l . Neither substantial reductions nor increases i n w e l f a r e benefits w i l l have any great effect o n aggregate measures of the performance of the economy.

Microeconomic Analysis Is Public Assistance a Work Disincentive? T h e major m i c r o e c o n o m i c c o n c e r n w i t h p u b l i c assistance i s that i t serves as a w o r k d i s i n c e n t i v e . T h e argument goes that people g i v e n a choice between l i v - ing on w e l f a r e or w o r k i n g for a l i v i n g w i l l choose to w o r k only i f they w i l l be s i g n i f i c a n t l y better off as a r e s u l t of doing so. A s Sar L e v i t a n a n d F r a n k G a l l o note, the total package to w h i c h a w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t i s entitled (cash grant, food stamps. M e d i c a i d , a n d , i n some cases, s u b s i d i z e d housing) often exceeds the compensation available f r o m l o w - w a g e w o r k . T h e y note that i n 1991 the aver- age n o n w o r k i n g mother w i t h t w o c h i l d r e n r e c e i v e d almost $7,500 i n com- b i n e d A F D C / f o o d stamp benefits, c o m p a r e d w i t h $8,900 earned i n c o m e f r o m a m i n i m u m wage job."*^ I f the person r e c e i v e d s u b s i d i z e d h o u s i n g , or i f the job d i d not i n c l u d e free m e d i c a l coverage, the total w e l f a r e package w o u l d exceed the m i n i m u m - w a g e job by a good m a r g i n .

1 4 2 Part IIP The Framework Apphed

T h e evidence regarding the degree to w h i c h w e l f a r e acts as a w o r k d i s i n - centive is m i x e d a n d generally f i n d s less of a n effect t h a n logic w o u l d predict. F r a n k L e v y a n d R i c h a r d M i c h e l c o n d u c t e d a l o n g i t u d i n a l c o m p a r i s o n of A F D C benefits as a proportion of the average wage of w o r k e r s i n the r e t a i l trade i n d u s t r y . T h e i r h y p o t h e s i s w a s that the higher the ratio of w e l f a r e to wages, the more l i k e l y it w o u l d be that people w o u l d choose w e l f a r e over w o r k . T h u s , i f w e l f a r e benefits were i n c r e a s i n g relative to wages, the size of the w e l f a r e r o l l s s h o u l d s h o w an increase; i f w e l f a r e benefits w e r e d e c l i n i n g relative to wages, the w e l f a r e r o l l s s h o u l d s h r i n k . A n a l y z i n g t w e n t y - f i v e years of data, they f o u n d that this r e l a t i o n s h i p d i d not h o l d . A l t h o u g h the ratio of w e l f a r e to wages d e c l i n e d d u r i n g this p e r i o d , the w e l f a r e r o l l s expanded.**^ After con- d u c t i n g a thorough r e v i e w of the literature, economist Robert Moffitt came to a different c o n c l u s i o n . He f o u n d that "the available research u n e q u i v o c a l l y indicates that the A F D C program generates n o n t r i v i a l w o r k d i s i n c e n t i v e s . " T h e researchers w h o s e w o r k Moffitt r e v i e w e d f o u n d that the amount of w o r k r e d u c t i o n w a s s m a l l , however, ranging b e t w e e n 1 h o u r to 9.8 hours per week.*"* T h e Income M a i n t e n a n c e E x p e r i m e n t s that tested the more generous negative i n c o m e tax approach to w e l f a r e assistance also h y p o t h e s i z e d that the approach w o u l d r e s u l t i n a r e d u c t i o n i n the hours of w o r k by members of the e x p e r i m e n - tal groups. L i k e the researchers r e v i e w e d by Moffitt, they f o u n d that this w a s i n d e e d the case, but that the reductions w e r e s m a l l . H u s b a n d s i n the e x p e r i - m e n t a l group w o r k e d 1 1 9 h o u r s per year [7 percent) less t h a n control group h u s b a n d s , w i v e s w o r k e d 9 3 hours ( 1 7 percent) less, a n d female f a m i l y heads w o r k e d 1 1 3 hours ( 1 7 percent) less.

I n any case, w i t h the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n of T A N F , this c o n c e r n becomes moot. I n passing T A N F , p o l i c y m a k e r s accepted the a s s u m p t i o n that p u b l i c assistance is a w o r k d i s i n c e n t i v e a n d structured the program i n s u c h a w a y as to enforce labor market p a r t i c i p a t i o n .

Diversity in Practice

What lessons about public assistance policy can we glean from the welfare recipients inter- viewed by Edin and Lein?

Economic survival strategies of welfare recipients States determine the l e v e l of w e l f a r e benefits based on a concept c a l l e d " l e v e l of n e e d . " L e v e l of n e e d is w h a t the state determines as the m i n i m u m amount f a m i l i e s of v a r i o u s sizes need to s u r v i v e . T h e state then sets a percentage of this amount, u s u a l l y a r o u n d 5 0 percent, as the p u b l i c assistance grant l e v e l . N o w , the question the authors have often pondered i s t h i s : H o w i n the w o r l d do w e expect people to s u r v i v e w h e n , b y our o w n c a l c u l a t i o n s , w e p r o v i d e t h e m w i t h one-half of the m i n i m u m amount necessary for s u r v i v a l ? Sociologist K a t h r y n E d i n a n d anthropologist L a u r a L e i n have researched this question a n d have come u p w i t h an a n s w e r : People cannot, a n d do not, s u r v i v e o n w e l f a r e bene- fits alone.

I n order to study the question of h o w w e l f a r e mothers s u r v i v e economi- c a l l y , E d i n i n t e r v i e w e d a sample of fifty w o m e n i n Chicago i n 1 9 8 9 , a n d she a n d L e i n i n t e r v i e w e d s e v e r a l h u n d r e d more i n Massachusetts, S o u t h C a r o l i n a , a n d Texas b e t w e e n 1 9 9 0 a n d 1994.*'* T h e y i n v e s t e d considerable time develop- ing r e l a t i o n s h i p s of trust w i t h the w o m e n i n their sample; based on these r e l a - t i o n s h i p s , the w o m e n w e r e w i l l i n g to r e v e a l c a n d i d details of their economic l i v e s . E d i n a n d L e i n collected detailed data on the w o m e n ' s h o u s e h o l d budgets a n d on their sources of income. W h a t they f o u n d is that the w o m e n w e r e not able to come a n j ' w h e r e close to m a k i n g ends meet on the amount they r e c e i v e d from the c o m b i n a t i o n of w e l f a r e a n d food stamps. I n the Chicago sample, for example, the w o m e n h a d average m o n t h l y expenses of $ 8 6 4 a n d average i n c o m e f r o m w e l f a r e a n d food stamps of $ 5 2 1 . T h u s , their average m o n t h l y s h o r t f a l l w a s $ 3 4 3 .

Chapter 7: Fighting Poverty: Temporary Assistance to Needy Famihes 143

W i t h a n average m o n t h l y s h o r t f a l l of $343, h o w d i d these mothers s u r v i v e ? T h e a n s w e r f o u n d b y E d i n a n d L e i n is that v i r t u a l l y a l l of the w o m e n h a d a d d i - t i o n a l sources of i n c o m e they d i d not report to the w e l f a r e department (reported i n c o m e w o u l d r e s u l t i n a r e d u c t i o n of the w e l f a r e grant, although generally not dollar for d o l l a r ) . T h e w o m e n ' s sources of i n c o m e v a r i e d . Some i n c o m e w a s obtained from f a m i l y a n d f r i e n d s , some from the absent fathers of the c h i l d r e n , some w a s earned i n the regular economy a n d h i d d e n from author- ities b y means of false S o c i a l S e c u r i t y n u m b e r s , a n d some (a v e r y s m a l l amount, averaging o n l y $38) w a s earned i n the u n d e r g r o u n d economy through activities s u c h as drug dealing a n d prostitution. T h e average f a m i l y i n c o m e from the Chicago sample w a s $897, $ 5 2 1 obtained from w e l f a r e a n d food stamps, a n d $376 obtained from unreported sources. T h r o u g h these means, the w o m e n w e r e able to cover their basic m o n t h l y expenses w i t h a n average of $33 of discretionary i n c o m e left over.

The effects of public assistance on family structure It has long been a major c o n c e r n of p u b l i c assistance p o l i c y that by a l l o w i n g w o m e n to have c h i l d r e n w i t h o u t being m a r r i e d , w e l f a r e assistance encourages single parenthood. T h i s c o n c e r n i n t e n s i f i e d as the proportion of A F D C c h i l - d r e n w h o w e r e born out-of-wedlock grew from 38 to 60.4 percent between 1979 a n d 1994.*^ One e x p l a n a t i o n for this increase i s that it s i m p l y reflected changes i n U . S . mores, w h i c h n o w define u n w e d parenthood as acceptable w h e n o n l y a few years ago it c l e a r l y w a s not. A n o t h e r e x p l a n a t i o n , h o w e v e r , is that the increase i n the proportion of w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s w h o are u n w e d moth- ers i s , at least partial!}', due to perverse economic i n c e n t i v e s not to marry, cre- ated by w e l f a r e programs. T h e argument, n i c e l y s u m m a r i z e d by economists L e v y a n d M i c h e l , is based on one long-advanced by b l a c k w r i t e r s , first W. E . B . D u B o i s i n 1899, later by E . F r a n k l i n F r a z i e r i n 1939, a n d most r e c e n t l y r e v i v e d by H a r v a r d U n i v e r s i t y sociologist W i l l i a m J u l i u s W i l s o n . T h e idea is that i f a m a n does not have a n adequate job a n d has few prospects for f i n d i n g one, he w i l l not be v i e w e d as a n acceptable prospect for marriage. I n i n n e r c i t y areas, the n u m b e r of m e n w h o have jobs that pa}' more t h a n a w o m a n c a n get on pub- l i c assistance is decreasing. " T h u s i f w e l f a r e benefits are higher t h a n the i n c o m e s of a significant portion of m e n , i t m a y p r o v i d e a n i n c e n t i v e to create more female-headed families.'"*^

L e v y a n d M i c h e l a n a l y z e d this theory u s i n g data from the Current Popula- tion Survey c o n d u c t e d on a n ongoing basis by the C e n s u s B u r e a u . T h e y f o u n d that i n 1960, 69 percent of b l a c k males aged t w e n t y to twenty-four a n d 83 per- cent aged t w e n t y - f i v e to t h i r t y - f o u r h a d incomes above the average A F D C grant of $1,269. B y 1983, o n l y 38 percent of b l a c k males aged t w e n t y to t w e n t y - f o u r a n d 7 1 percent aged t w e n t y - f i v e to t h i r t y - f o u r h a d incomes greater t h a n the average A F D C grant, w h i c h w a s $ 4 , 7 4 1 . T h e y c o n c l u d e that t h i s data c o n f i r m s W i l s o n ' s f i n d i n g s that the increase i n female-headed f a m i l i e s i n b l a c k i n n e r city areas i s due to the decrease i n the n u m b e r of m e n w h o are able to p r o v i d e a n i n c o m e large enough to support a f a m i l y at above-welfare l e v e l s . It is impor- tant to note that L e v y a n d M i c h e l do not c o n c l u d e that r i s i n g w e l f a r e benefits are responsible for the d e c l i n e i n two-parent f a m i l i e s . I n d e e d , as noted p r e v i - ously, i n constant dollars the a c t u a l amount of w e l f a r e benefits has been d e c l i n i n g . Rather, the c u l p r i t appears to be the l a c k of e m p l o y m e n t opportuni- ties a v a i l a b l e to people w i t h l o w education, l i t t l e experience, a n d few job s k i l l s .

T h e c o n c e r n that p u b l i c assistance m a y be a contributor to the formation of single-parent f a m i l i e s w a s c e n t r a l to the 1996 w e l f a r e reform legislation that

144 Part UP. The Framework Apphed

r e p l a c e d A F D C w i t h T A N F . T h r e e out of four legislated purposes of T A N F s p e c i f i c a l l y address f a m i l y formation objectives: ( l ) end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, w o r k , a n d marriage; (2) prevent a n d reduce the i n c i d e n c e of out-of-wedlock pregnancies a n d establish a n n u a l n u m e r i c a l goals for p r e v e n t i n g a n d r e d u c i n g the i n c i - dence of these pregnancies; a n d (3) encourage the formation a n d m a i n t e n a n c e of two-parent families.*^ T h e s e objectives have been p u r s u e d through two p r i - m a r y means. T h e first i s the H e a l t h y Marriage I n i t i a t i v e , w h i c h has p r o v i d e d grants totaling over $25 m i l l i o n i n 2 0 0 2 - 2 0 0 4 to support " a range of activities to increase access to marriage strengthening services a n d awareness about the v a l u e s a n d benefits of h e a l t h y marriage for c h i l d r e n , a d u l t s , a n d c o m m u n i - t i e s . " T h e most p r o m i n e n t of these activities has been a w i d e l y distributed c o m p e n d i u m p r o v i d i n g basic facts a n d i n f o r m a t i o n from research studies on marriage a n d its benefits, as w e l l as examples of e x i s t i n g programs, c u r r i c u l a , a n d p r o m i s i n g practices. Other frequent a c t i v i t i e s i n c l u d e grants to support the development a n d i m p l e m e n t a t i o n of a n array of marriage a n d r e l a t i o n s h i p s k i l l s classes a n d related marriage-strengthening services. U n d e r the D e f i c i t R e d u c t i o n A c t of 2005, the H e a l t h y Marriage I n i t i a t i v e is h m d e d at $150 m i l - l i o n each year to support healthy-marriage a n d fatherhood programs. T h e r e i s c u r r e n t l y no h a r d evidence that these programs have any effect on either pro- moting marriage or on r e d u c i n g the n u m b e r or rate of out-of-wedlock b i r t h s .

T h e s e c o n d m e a n s of a d d r e s s i n g o u t - o f - w e d l o c k b i r t h s s p e c i f i c a l l y c o n - c e r n s the b e l i e f that teenagers w e r e h a v i n g c h i l d r e n as a m e a n s of setting u p t h e i r o w n h o u s e h o l d s a n d t h u s e s c a p i n g p a r e n t a l c o n t r o l . R e b e c c a B l a n k h a s n a m e d t h i s the " i n d e p e n d e n c e effect" of w e l f a r e a n d has f o u n d some e v i d e n c e s u p p o r t i n g its existence.*^ T A N F r e q u i r e s that m o t h e r s y o u n g e r t h a n 18 y e a r s of age m u s t l i v e w i t h a parent or g u a r d i a n a n d m u s t be e n r o l l e d i n h i g h s c h o o l i n order to r e c e i v e w e l f a r e b e n e f i t s , thereby e l i m i - n a t i n g t h i s s u p p o s e d b e n e f i t of p r e g n a n c y for y o u n g teenagers. T h e r e i s some e a r l y e v i d e n c e that t h i s p o l i c y m a y be c o n t r i b u t i n g to a r e d u c t i o n of the f e r t i l i t y rate of 15- to 1 7 - y e a r - o l d g i r l s .

E V A L U A T I O N

F o r the t h i r t y 3'ears p r i o r to its end, the p r i m a r y goal of the A F D C program w a s to get r e c i p i e n t s into jobs a n d thereby off the r o l l s . Before 1967, i t w a s gener- a l l y accepted that A F D C w a s i n t e n d e d to a l l o w deserving mothers to r e m a i n home w i t h their c h i l d r e n . W o r k w a s , u n d o u b t e d l y u n i n t e n t i o n a l l y , discour- aged through a p o l i c y that r e d u c e d the amount of a recipient's grant dollar for dollar w h e n that person h a d earned i n c o m e . I n 1967 the p o l i c y of A F D C offi- c i a l l y changed to encourage w o r k through the passage of the W I N (Work I n c e n - t i v e ) program. T h e W I N program e m p l o y e d a carrot-and-stick approach, the carrot being a f o r m u l a that decreased a recipient's grant at a rate equal to o n l y a portion of earnings so she w o u l d a l w a y s be better off w o r k i n g t h a n not. T h e s t i c k w a s a p r o v i s i o n that a l l o w e d states to drop people f r o m the r o l l s w h o d e c l i n e d to participate i n e m p l o y m e n t or t r a i n i n g " w i t h o u t good c a u s e . " V a r i - ous iterations of the W I N program r e m a i n e d i n effect u n t i l the program w a s r e p l a c e d i n 1988 w i t h the J O B S (Job O p p o r t u n i t i e s a n d B a s i c S k i l l s ) program, the centerpiece of the F a m i l y Support Act.^° T h e T A N F program emphasizes e m p l o y m e n t even more h e a v i l y , w i t h the n e w t w i s t of time l i m i t s . R e c i p i e n t s are n o w eligible to receive assistance for only two years for any single w e l f a r e s p e l l a n d for a l i f e t i m e total of f i v e years for a l l spells c o m b i n e d . T h e T A N F

Chapter /: Fighting Poverty: Temporary' Assistance to Needy Families 1 4 5

program adopted a n e w p h i l o s o p h y of w e l f a r e k n o w n as " W o r k F i r s t . " T h i s p h i l o s o p h y h o l d s that t r a i n i n g is preferable to i d l e n e s s , but w o r k , regardless of the type, i s preferable to t r a i n i n g . U n d e r the A F D C program, a r e c i p i e n t c o u l d e n r o l l i n a registered n u r s e t r a i n i n g program e v e n i f nurse's aides jobs w e r e available. U n d e r T A N F a n d W o r k F i r s t , the r e c i p i e n t i s r e q u i r e d to take the job as a nurse's aide, e v e n i f at m i n i m u m wage.

T h u s , the most important e v a l u a t i o n questions c u r r e n t l y facing p u b l i c assistance p o l i c y m a k e r s relate to the effectiveness of e m p l o y m e n t t r a i n i n g a n d placement programs for T A N F r e c i p i e n t s . T h e most c r i t i c a l questions are: Do r e c i p i e n t s w h o are p r o v i d e d w i t h these services a c t u a l l y get jobs? Do those w h o get jobs earn enough to get t h e m off the w e l f a r e r o l l s a n d out of poverty? W h a t is the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the jobs obtained a n d the q u a l i t y of life of for- mer recipients? Do job programs result i n cost savings for the programs? F o r t u - nately, there has been s i g n i f i c a n t effort e x p e n d e d to evaluate e m p l o y m e n t programs for w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s .

Most evaluations of w e l f a r e - t o - w o r k programs have f o u n d p o s i t i v e results for the programs, but i n a l l cases the results have been slight. T h e W I N program h a d v e r y poor re sults. A s s u m m a r i z e d by James Patterson, evaluations of W I N f o u n d that

of the 2.8 m i l l i o n welfare recipients eligible for W I N i n 1 9 6 7 , only about 7 0 0 , 0 0 0 were deemed by local authorities to be 'appropriate for referral.' T h e rest were i l l , needed at home, considered untrainable, or w i t h o u t access to day care. Of the 7 0 0 , 0 0 0 , only 4 0 0 , 0 0 0 were actually enrolled i n W I N as of m i d - 1 9 7 2 , four years after the program got under w a y . A r o u n d a quarter of these completed training, and only 5 2 , 0 0 0 , Or less than 2 per- cent of the total pool, actually were employed—at an average wage of around $ 2 an hour.^* [ M i n i m u m wage i n 1 9 7 2 w a s $ 1 . 6 0 per hour).

R o n a l d Reagan's w o r k - o r i e n t e d w e l f a r e r e f o r m program i n C a l i f o r n i a , passed i n 1 9 7 1 w h e n he w a s that state's governor, has often been c i t e d as a m o d e l for n a t i o n a l w e l f a r e r e f o r m efforts. H o w e v e r , an e v a l u a t i o n of that pro- gram f o u n d that although the stated goal of the program w a s to place ,30,000 w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s i n jobs, at its peak it managed o n l y 1 , 0 0 0 placements.

T h e poster c h i l d for w e l f a r e - t o - w o r k programs is the G A I N program i n R i v e r s i d e , C a l i f o r n i a . T h i s program, started u n d e r the J O B S program, has demonstrated the largest m e a s u r e d impacts to date. J u d i t h G u e r o n s u m m a r i z e s the e v a l u a t i o n results as "double-digit increases i n the share of A F D C r e c i p i - ents w o r k i n g , a 5 0 percent increase i n average earnings, a o n e - s i x t h r e d u c t i o n i n w e l f a r e p a y m e n t s , i m p r e s s i v e effects on long-term r e c i p i e n t s . " H o w e v e r , she notes that t h i s is a n e x c e p t i o n a l program, a n d the difference between it a n d more t y p i c a l programs i s w i d e . She c o n c l u d e s , " T h e more t y p i c a l program, w h i l e a c h i e v i n g p o s i t i v e re sults, r e m a i n s severely strapped for f u n d s , does not r e a c h most of the people w h o c o u l d theoretically be subject to its mandates, a n d has not d r a m a t i c a l l y changed the message of welfare."^^ Moreover, T h e r e s a A m o t t reports that although the C a l i f o r n i a program has a c h i e v e d sig- n i f i c a n t res ults, the a c t u a l earnings of the average p a r t i c i p a n t w e r e o n l y $ 7 8 5 greater over a two-year p e r i o d t h a n the earnings of members of a control group w h o d i d not participate i n the program.''*

L e v i t a n a n d G a l l o r e v i e w e d thirteen e x p e r i m e n t a l studies (evaluations that i n c l u d e d a treatment/experimental group a n d a control group) that w e r e con- ducted on e m p l o y m e n t programs between 1 9 7 8 a n d 1 9 9 3 . T h e j ' f o u n d that the e m p l o y m e n t rate of the treatment group subjects w a s s t a t i s t i c a l l y higher i n f i v e studies, the same or l o w e r i n s i x studies, a n d u n k n o w n i n the r e m a i n i n g t w o .

1 4 6 Part IIP The Framework AppHed

I n e l e v e n of the thirteen studies, the e x p e r i m e n t a l group members h a d statisti- c a l l y higher earnings t h a n the control group. H o w e v e r , once again, although earnings i n c r e a s e d s i g n i f i c a n t l y , the amount w a s s m a l l — r a n g i n g for one year f r o m a l o w of $ 1 2 to a h i g h of $ 1 , 6 0 7 .

A r e v i e w of w e l f a r e - t o - w o r k evaluations reveals that the basic a s s u m p t i o n of these programs m a y be false. T h i s a s s u m p t i o n i s that w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s do not w a n t to w o r k a n d that to get t h e m to w o r k requires t w o things. T h e first i s a stern motivator, s u c h as a time l i m i t on w e l f a r e , to scare t h e m into seeking s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y . T h e second is the p r o v i s i o n of a few resources s u c h as b r i e f education, t r a i n i n g , a n d job c o u n s e l i n g programs to h e l p t h e m c a p i t a l i z e on their m o t i v a t i o n to become self-sufficient. B u t v i r t u a l l y every e v a l u a t i o n prior to the passage of the P e r s o n a l R e s p o n s i b i l i t y a n d W o r k O p p o r t u n i t y R e c o n c i l - i a t i o n A c t f o u n d no r e a l p r o b l e m i n r e c i p i e n t w i l l i n g n e s s to w o r k . T h e prob- l e m s that have been f o u n d a l l are related to the fact that the programs seriously underestimate the barriers to e m p l o y m e n t for most long-term w e l f a r e r e c i p i - ents. O n the one h a n d , the l e v e l of problems that r e c i p i e n t s have w i t h h e a l t h , drug abuse, l o w a b i l i t y l e v e l , l o w intelligence, l a c k of job experience, c h i l d care, transportation, a n d so forth contribute to v e r y l o w e m p l o y a b i l i t y of m a n y r e c i p i e n t s . O n the other h a n d , the n u m b e r of jobs available that require f e w s k i l l s a n d a generally l o w a b i l i t y l e v e l i s inadequate i n a l l but the best eco- n o m i c times. To m o u n t a r e a l l y s u c c e s s h d w e l f a r e - t o - w o r k program w o u l d require two changes. F i r s t , m a n y more services a n d resources w o u l d n e e d to be put at the service of c l i e n t s t h a n is c u r r e n t l y the case. S e c o n d , the govern- ment w o u l d need to intervene i n the job m a r k e t a n d create jobs of last resort to prevent former r e c i p i e n t s from h a v i n g to r e t u r n to the w e l f a r e r o l l s d u r i n g p e r i - ods of economic d o w n t u r n . L e v i t a n a n d G a l l o argue: " S o c i e t y ' s w o r k i s never done. T h e r e is no shortage of u s e f u l w o r k that c o u l d be performed to f u l f i l l needs u n m e t by the market economy. T h e l i m i t e d s k i l l s of A F D C r e c i p i e n t s w o u l d dovetail w e l l w i t h c h i l d care, long-term care, a n d other services that already r e l y h e a v i l y on u n s k i l l e d l o w - w a g e labor."''''''

Is TANF Succeeding? To a n s w e r the question of w h e t h e r w e l f a r e r e f o r m is succeeding, w e first m u s t ask w h a t i s meant by success. P u b l i c p o l i c y m a k e r s , a n d m u c h of the p u b l i c i n general, seem to define the success of w e l f a r e programs b y the single c r i t e r i o n of r e d u c t i o n i n the n u m b e r of r e c i p i e n t s . We argue that success m u s t be mea- s u r e d not o n l y by t h i s , but also by the c r i t e r i o n of w h e t h e r the n e w program i m p r o v e s the l i v e s of the poor. T h e evidence gathered to date o n the T A N F pro- gram indicates that i t has succeeded b y the first c r i t e r i o n , but there is c o n s i d - erable c o n c e r n about the second.

T A N F and the welfare rolls I n 1 9 9 6 , Congress passed the P e r s o n a l R e s p o n s i b i l i t y a n d W o r k O p p o r t u n i t y R e c o n c i l i a t i o n A c t , the l e g i s l a t i o n that set u p the T A N F program, i n spite of the negative results of e v a l u a t i o n s of p r i o r programs that m a n d a t e d w o r k for w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s . T h e o p i n i o n of m u c h of the c o u n t r y at that time w a s that the g r o w t h of the w e l f a r e r o l l s w a s out of c o n t r o l a n d some h a r d - n o s e d m e a - sures w e r e needed i n order to stop the a l a r m i n g increase. L i t t l e noted by p o l - i c y m a k e r s or the general p u b l i c w a s that the r o l l s h a d a c t u a l l y been d e c l i n i n g for t w o y e a r s , d r o p p i n g f r o m 5 m i l l i o n to 4 . 5 m i l l i o n b e t w e e n 1 9 9 4 a n d 1 9 9 6 , the year the P e r s o n a l R e s p o n s i b i l i t y a n d W o r k O p p o r t u n i t y R e c o n c i l i a t i o n A c t became l a w .

Chapter 7: Fighting Poverty: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families 147

T h e general perception of T A N F , based e x c l u s i v e l y on the c r i t e r i o n of r e d u c t i o n i n the n u m b e r of r e c i p i e n t s , i s that the program has been a n u n q u a l - i f i e d success. A s can be seen from i n s p e c t i o n of F i g u r e 7.4, the n u m b e r of cases has d e c l i n e d from 4,533,000 at the beginning of the program i n 1996 to 1,802,567 i n 2006. T h i s represents a decrease of more t h a n 60 percent, a t r u l y remarkable number. T h i s figure w o u l d i n d e e d be cause for celebration i f a l l the people l e a v i n g the w e l f a r e r o l l s h a d a c h i e v e d s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y a n d a better l i f e , but t h i s i s not the case. Studies of f a m i l i e s that h a v e left the T A N F r o l l s s h o w that at any point i n time about 60 percent are e m p l o y e d a n d 40 percent are not."'' S e v e r a l factors account for the n u m b e r of people w h o have left T A N F w i t h o u t being e m p l o y e d . One is that a n u m b e r of a p p l i c a n t s have been p l a c e d i n d i v e r s i o n programs rather t h a n being c e r t i f i e d for T A N F benefits. T h e r e are two types of d i v e r s i o n programs. I n the first, the state agency a d m i n i s t e r i n g T A N F offers a n a p p l i c a n t a one-time c a s h p a y m e n t , i n r e t u r n for w h i c h the per- son gives u p her e l i g i b i l i t y for assistance for a s p e c i f i e d p e r i o d of time. T h e idea is that the one-time p a y m e n t w i l l solve the i m m e d i a t e problem, or prob- l e m s , that are p r e v e n t i n g the person from w o r k i n g a n d being self-sufficient [car repair, w o r k wardrobe, back rent, a n d the l i k e ) . I f the person spends the m o n e y a n d s t i l l i s not i n a p o s i t i o n to w o r k , she is out of l u c k u n t i l the period for w h i c h she has agreed e x p i r e s . I n the second type of d i v e r s i o n program, a n u m - ber of states require a p p l i c a n t s to look for w o r k for a s p e c i f i e d p e r i o d of time before their a p p l i c a t i o n for T A N F w i l l be accepted. M a n y do not f i n d w o r k but become so discouraged by the bureaucratic hassle that they never r e t u r n to complete the a p p l i c a t i o n process.

T h e second factor that e x p l a i n s w h y so m a n y people have left T A N F w i t h - out being e m p l o y e d is that they have been sanctioned [read " k i c k e d out of the

Averge monthly number of families (millions)

1994: Highest Welfare Caseload, 5,046, 000

1996: Passage of PRWORA, Caseload

is 4,533,000 \

2006: Caseload is 1,802,567

- i - 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001

Fiscal Year

2003 2005

F i g u r e 2.4 Total Welfare Cases, 1985-2000 Source: Adapted from Alan Weil and Kenneth Finegold, Welfare Reform: The / V e x M c f (Washington DC: Urban Institute Press, 2 0 0 2 ) , p. xx. Original source note: Administration for Children and Families ( 1 9 8 8 - 1 9 9 7 ) . Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (2000), and Administration for Children and Families (2000a, 2000b, 2 0 0 1 a , 2001b); 2002 data from TANF Sixth Annual Report to Congress. 2 0 0 3 - 2 0 0 6 data from TANF Seventh Annual Report to Congress, December 2 0 0 6 . Reprinted by permission.

148 Part IIP The Framework Apphed

program"] for f a i l i n g to c o m p l y w i t h program r u l e s . A r e c i p i e n t c a n be sanc- tioned for something as m i n o r as f a i l i n g to respond to a letter directing her to attend a meeting. I n s p e c t i n g v a r i o u s government reports, L e n s concludes that sanctions h a v e i n c r e a s e d by 30 percent n a t i o n a l l y since 1994 a n d that i n any g i v e n m o n t h a p p r o x i m a t e l y 5 percent of a state's total w e l f a r e caseload is u n d e r sanction. I n a d d i t i o n , records indicate that sanctions are often a p p l i e d incorrectly. I n W i s c o n s i n , for e x a m p l e , it w a s f o u n d that 44 percent of the penalties i m p o s e d on r e c i p i e n t s i n a f i v e - m o n t h p e r i o d w e r e later f o u n d to h a v e been erroneous.

So, i f the welfare rolls have d e c l i n e d by 2,503,249 cases since 1996, a n d i f 40 percent of these have left for reasons other than getting a job, this means that approximately 1,001,300 poor families have been abandoned to fend for them- selves w i t h o u t any government assistance. We do not k n o w exactly w h a t is becoming of these families, but a reasonable guess is that they are turning to fam- i l y and friends, people w h o probably have few extra resources themselves, or they are l i v i n g on the streets or i n shelters. L e n s concludes, " I n s u m , disentitling otherwise eligible people by diverting them from the rolls or by terminating assistance cannot be equated w i t h the i n d i v i d u a l s a c h i e v i n g self-sufficiency."^^

T A N F and the quahty of life of the poor T h e second c r i t e r i o n that m u s t be assessed i n judging w h e t h e r T A N F i s suc- c e s s f u l is the effect of the program on the l i v e s of those it is i n t e n d e d to h e l p . T h i s i s the question a s k e d by those c o n c e r n e d w i t h a n e t h i c a l e v a l u a t i o n of T A N F , a n d the results give ample reason for concern. O b v i o u s l y , for the 40 per- cent of people w h o have left the T A N F r o l l s but are not e m p l o y e d , the effect of T A N F has been negative. B u t w h a t of the 60 percent w h o have managed to enter the labor market? A r e they, as frequently stated by conservative p o l i t i - c i a n s , o n the first step of the A m e r i c a n ladder of success, or are they just squeaking by? A l t h o u g h w e are sure that there are a n u m b e r of former T A N F r e c i p i e n t s w h o s e l i v e s are steadily i m p r o v i n g , the e v i d e n c e c o m i n g i n suggests that for m a n y the program has not l e d to a better l i f e .

Wages of former recipients T h e first p r o b l e m for former T A N F r e c i p i e n t s is that most are m a k i n g v e r y l o w wages. U s i n g data from the N a t i o n a l S u r v e y of A m e r i c a n F a m i l i e s , L o p r e s t f o u n d that the m e d i a n wage (50th percentile] of former w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s i n 1999 w a s $7.15 per hour; those at the 25th per- centile w e r e earning $6.05, a n d those at the 75th w e r e earning $9.00 per hour.^° A M a t h e m a t i c a study of a cohort of 2000 N e w Jersey T A N F r e c i p i e n t s f o u n d that at the e n d of the 60-month p e r i o d s t u d i e d (2003) the average m o n t h l y earning of T A N F leavers w a s $1,646, a l i t t l e less than $20,000 annually.**^ T h i s i s about 30 percent more t h a n the 2003 federal poverty t h r e s h o l d for a f a m i l y of three. I n a d d i t i o n to l o w wages, f e w of the jobs h e l d by former r e c i p i e n t s p r o v i d e good benefits. T h e M a t h e m a t i c a researchers f o u n d that m a n y of the T A N F leavers c o n t i n u e d to r e l y on government supports s u c h as food stamps (40 percent), h o u s i n g subsidies (32 percent], a n d government h e a l t h coverage (57 percent). E v e n these l o w wages r e s u l t i n incomes considerably i n excess of w e l f a r e grants for those w h o are w o r k i n g f u l l time. H o w e v e r , a large n u m b e r of former w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s have jobs that are only part time. A s a r e s u l t of these factors, about 52 percent of those w h o left the w e l f a r e r o l l s for jobs i n 1999 s t i l l h a d incomes b e l o w the poverty l e v e l .

Upward mobilitj' of former recipients T h e theory b e h i n d welfare reform is that once people enter the labor market they w i l l begin to get raises a n d promotions.

Chapter 7: Fighting Poverty: Temporarir Assistance to Needy Famihes 149

T h u s , the fact that m a n y former recipients are i n v e r y l o w - p a y i n g , scant-benefit jobs i s not seen as a major problem. Backers of T A N F believe that this is a prob- l e m every w o r k i n g person faces; w e a l l start off i n the m a i l room, so to speak. Does it appear that their current employment w i l l be the first step on the road to success for most former T A N F recipients? There is not yet good data on this ques- t i o n . A n a l y s t s have, however, expressed concern over the prospects for former recipients. T h i s concern is based on analyses of the twenty-first-century job mar- ket that conclude that s k i l l s and education are essential for u p w a r d mobility. T h e w o r k first p h i l o s o p h y of T A N F requires that a person choose w o r k over educa- tion a n d training, regardless of the situation. L e n s has r e v i e w e d the research l i t - erature on the relation of l e v e l of education to income a n d to the l i k e l i h o o d that a person w i l l exit a n d stay off welfare. T h e data revealed a clear relationship between education a n d income l e v e l a n d a l i n k between h i g h school graduation and not returning to welfare. T h e l i n k between earning a college degree and per- manently exiting welfare w a s even stronger. L e n s concludes that

far from ensuring self-sufficiency, . . . an approach [such as w o r k first] relegates welfare mothers to the l o w end of the labor market, a vulnerable place i n good and bad economic times. It also ensures that the gap i n wages based on educational l e v e l w i l l persist and endure as poor w o m e n , forced to choose between losing their benefits or feeding their families, are trapped i n l o w - p a y i n g jobs.*"^

A r e adequate support services available? A s anyone i n the labor market k n o w s , h o l d i n g d o w n a job c a n be e x p e n s i v e . Good-quality c h i l d care can cost w e l l over $100 a w e e k . I n an u r b a n area that l a c k s a good p u b l i c transportation s y s t e m , a reliable car i s essential to steady e m p l o y m e n t . A car i n v o l v e s not o n l y the expense of purchase, but also substantial operating expenses for gas, repairs, a n d i n s u r a n c e . Do the m a t h . A person earning the m e d i a n p o s t - T A N F wage of $7.15 per h o u r cannot afford expenses s u c h as these. T h e designers a n d administrators of the T A N F program are a w a r e of this problem, a n d i n response states have been s p e n d i n g 18 percent of their T A N F budget on c h i l d care, 2 percent on transportation, and 1 1 percent on other w o r k supports.^*

.There is c o n c e r n that e v e n this m a y not be enough. T h e r e are time l i m i t s on c h i l d care subsidies for w o m e n w h o leave T A N F . A s t h i s benefit r u n s out, a n u m b e r of former r e c i p i e n t s m a y be forced to r e t u r n to the program because they cannot afford to purchase c h i l d care at f u l l cost. T h e transportation prob- l e m i s also serious, a n d solutions appear to be far off. A f t e r a n a n a l y s i s of the transportation p r o b l e m for former T A N F r e c i p i e n t s . L e n s c o n c l u d e s , "none of [current transportation reform] attempts r e a l l y address the root of the p r o b l e m , a n d transportation problems persist. To get w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s to w o r k , no less t h a n a r a d i c a l r e s t r u c t u r i n g of p u b l i c transportation systems m a y u l t i m a t e l y be needed."''^ A former r e c i p i e n t w h o has been p l a c e d i n a job far from her home, w i t h o u t reliable transportation resources or i n v o l v i n g a bus t r i p r e q u i r i n g three transfers a n d t w o h o u r s , is soon going to be back o n the w e l f a r e r o l l s .

Welfare reform and the well-being of children Because T A N F requires par- ents to w o r k rather t h a n stay home w i t h their c h i l d r e n , possible adverse effects of the program on c h i l d r e n have been a major c o n c e r n . To address t h i s c o n c e r n , the A d m i n i s t r a t i o n on G h i l d r e n a n d F a m i l i e s contracted w i t h A b t Associates, C h i l d T r e n d s , M a n p o w e r Demonstration R e s e a r c h Corporation, a n d Mathemat- i c a P o l i c y R e s e a r c h to assess the i m p a c t of w e l f a r e reform on the l i v e s of c h i l - dren. T h e research w a s c a l l e d the Project o n S t a t e - L e v e l C h i l d Outcomes, a n d

1 5 0 Part IIP. The Framework AppUed

data w a s collected i n C o n n e c t i c u t , F l o r i d a , I n d i a n a , I o w a , a n d M i n n e s o t a . T h e p r i m a r y data source for each state study w a s a s u r v e y that focused m a i n l y on c h i l d r e n w h o w e r e between the ages of f i v e a n d t w e l v e at the time of the sur- vey. T h e c h i l d r e n w e r e s u r v e y e d , a n d then a f o l l o w - u p s u r v e y w a s conducted at i n t e r v a l s v a r y i n g f r o m 2.5 to 6.5 years, depending on the state. T h e m a i n f i n d i n g s from the f i v e states w e r e s u m m a r i z e d i n the TANF Seventh Annual Report to Congress as:

I T h e r e is little evidence that these programs r e s u l t e d i n w i d e s p r e a d h a r m or benefit to y o u n g school-age c h i l d r e n .

> I n two states, p o s i t i v e impacts o n c h i l d r e n ' s f u n c t i o n i n g appear to be related to increases i n f a m i l y i n c o m e . I n a t h i r d state, i n c r e a s e d f a m i l y i n c o m e h a d a n e u t r a l effect.

I I n two states, the programs h a d the most favorable impacts on c h i l d r e n i n the most disadvantaged f a m i l i e s , s u c h as those w i t h a longer h i s t o r y of w e l f a r e receipt or less w o r k experience. I n the three other states, there w a s little difference i n the pattern of impacts on young school-age c h i l d r e n by the l e v e l of f a m i l y disadvantage.

I T h e programs i n c r e a s e d c h i l d r e n ' s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n c h i l d care. I A l t h o u g h the studies m a i n l y focused on y o u n g c h i l d r e n , data on a l i m -

i t e d n u m b e r of measures o n outcomes for adolescents w e r e collected. T h i s data i n d i c a t e d that the programs sometimes h a d negative effects on adolescents' school performance.

B a s i c a l l y the studies d i d not f i n d strong evidence that T A N F i s h a v i n g strong effects on c h i l d r e n ' s l i v e s i n either a p o s i t i v e or a negative direction.^''

Problems facing the T A N F program I n the county of one of the authors, the director of the l o c a l office of the Department of S o c i a l S e r v i c e s goes a r o u n d to c i v i c groups g i v i n g a P o w e r P o i n t presentation on h o w the department's W o r k F i r s t T A N F program is going to end poverty i n the county w i t h i n ten 3'ears. It's a n i c e dream, but it's not going to h a p p e n a n d , i f he doesn't stop g i v i n g this pre- sentation, soon he is going to look f o o l i s h . T h e r e is evidence that the early, spectacular, reductions i n the w e l f a r e r o l l s are beginning to disappear—the d e c l i n e between 2 0 0 4 a n d 2 0 0 5 being o n l y 6 9 , 9 3 7 f a m i l i e s , about one-third of one percent of the total caseload. T h e r e are a couple of reasons w h y the case- l o a d d e c l i n e is coming to a n end.

T A N F caseloads are not reaching the " i n n e r core of the o n i o n " E a r l i e r i n the chapter, w e d i s c u s s e d Corbett's o n i o n metaphor that i l l u s t r a t e d different types of poverty. B u r t has presented a s i m i l a r idea s p e c i f i c a l l y related to problems of T A N F r e c i p i e n t s . She observes that r e c i p i e n t s c a n be c l a s s i f i e d into three dif- ferent groups based on their barriers to self-sufficiency. T h e first group, s i m i l a r to Corbett's outer l a y e r of the o n i o n , comprises r e c i p i e n t s w i t h barriers that resources c a n overcome q u i c k l y . T h e s e are people w h o i n most cases need s i m - ple resources s u c h as c h i l d care, transportation, or job search assistance. R e m o v i n g these barriers a n d getting the r e c i p i e n t to w o r k is a s i m p l e matter of p r o v i d i n g services or resources, a n d the services a n d resources needed are obvious. T h e second group, s i m i l a r to Corbett's m i d d l e layer a n d core, are r e c i p i e n t s w i t h barriers that are treatable, controllable, or reversible w i t h ade- quate a n d appropriate resources. T h e barriers for this group i n c l u d e p h y s i c a l a n d m e n t a l i l l n e s s e s or d i s a b i l i t i e s , a d d i c t i o n s , i l l i t e r a c y , l a c k of basic w o r k - related s k i l l s , i n a b i l i t y to speak or u n d e r s t a n d E n g l i s h , l a c k of w o r k e x p e r i - ence, or recent release from a correctional i n s t i t u t i o n . To get this group to

Chapter 7: Fighting Poverty: Temparari' Assistance to Needy Families 1 5 1

w o r k , the T A N F agency m u s t p r o v i d e support d u r i n g a p e r i o d of treatment that m a y last for a n u m b e r of months a n d t h e n be prepared to p r o v i d e i n t e n s i v e a n d lengthy postemployment support. T h e f i n a l group, analogous to Corbett's i n n e r core, face permanent c o n d i t i o n s . T h e s e are people w i t h permanent a n d severe p h y s i c a l d i s a b i l i t i e s , c h r o n i c m e n t a l i l l n e s s , or l e a r n i n g or d e v e l o p m e n t a l d i s - abilities.''^ A 2004 s t u d y by H a u a n a n d Douglas f o u n d that almost one-third of T A N F r e c i p i e n t s reported at least one serious barrier to e m p l o y m e n t (see F i g u r e 7.5).^"

Data o n r e c i p i e n t s w h o have left T A N F a n d on those w h o h a v e not r e v e a l that the m a j o r i t y of the l e a v e r s are those w i t h less s e r i o u s b a r r i e r s to self- s u f f i c i e n c y . Data f r o m the N a t i o n a l S u r v e y of A m e r i c a n F a m i l i e s have been u s e d b y Z e d l e w s k i a n d A l d e r s o n to look at s i x potential barriers to w o r k by w e l f a r e r e c i p i e n t s : (1) poor p h y s i c a l or m e n t a l h e a l t h , (2) less t h a n h i g h school education, (3) h a v i n g a c h i l d u n d e r the age of one, (4) h a v i n g a c h i l d on S S I , (5) l o w p r o f i c i e n c y i n E n g l i s h , a n d (6) l a c k of w o r k experience. T h e y f o u n d that 56 percent of r e c i p i e n t s w i t h no barriers w e r e w o r k i n g , but o n l y 20 percent of those w i t h t w o or more barriers w e r e working.®^ Some of these r e c i p i e n t s w i t h serious barriers m a y be eligible for S u p p l e m e n t a l S e c u r i t y I n c o m e on the basis of their d i s a b i l i t i e s , but m a n y are not because of the e x t r e m e l y r e s t r i c t i v e e l i - g i b i l i t y requirements that e x c l u d e a l l but the most s e r i o u s l y d i s a b l e d . Increas- i n g the w o r k p a r t i c i p a t i o n rates is going to become more a n d more d i f f i c u l t for states i n the coming years as a greater percentage of the pool of r e c i p i e n t s con- sists of those w i t h a serious barrier or s e v e r a l barriers.

Welfare reform has been i n a virtuous cycle T h i s is a term c o i n e d by W e i l a n d F i n e g o l d to describe the first eight years f o l l o w i n g the passage of P R W O R A i n 1996. T h e first decade f o l l o w i n g the passage of P R W O R A w e r e years i d e a l

Barriers to work reported by welfare recipients (Five states and the District of Columbia)

Mental health problem

Child with health problem/special needs

Physical health problem

Severe domestic violence in past year

Learning disability

Criminal record

0% 5 % 10% 1 5 % 2 0 % 2 5 % 3 0 % 3 5 %

F i g u r e 7.5 Barriers to work reported by welfare recipients [Five States and tfie District of Columbia] Source: Congressional Research Service ( C R S ) based on data in Hauan, S u s a n and Sarah Douglas. Potential Employment Liabilities Among T A N F Recipients: A Synthesis of Data from Six State T A N F Caseload Studies. U . S . Department of Health and Human Services ( H H S ) , Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. October 2 0 0 4 .

30%

2 9 %

2 1 %

14%

13%

1 1 %

J I I I L

152 Part IIP The Framework Apphed

for the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n of w o r k - o r i e n t e d w e l f a r e p o l i c i e s because they w e r e c h a r a c t e r i z e d by a n e x c e p t i o n a l l y strong economy, h e a l t h y state budgets, the federal requirement that states m a i n t a i n their A F D C spending l e v e l s , a n d the b l o c k grant structure that has r e q u i r e d the federal c o n t r i b u t i o n to the states to stay constant even w h e n the n u m b e r of r e c i p i e n t s has been f a l l i n g . T h e s e last t w o factors h a v e resulted i n state s o c i a l service departments h a v i n g extensive resources to p r o v i d e support services for r e c i p i e n t s seeking e m p l o y m e n t a n d for those w h o have recently left the w e l f a r e r o l l s to h e l p t h e m make the t r a n s i - t i o n to w o r k . W e i l a n d F i n e g o l d say.

Yet this virtuous cycle c o u l d just as easily become v i c i o u s . L o w u n e m - ployment and sustained economic growth have contributed to the recent decline i n welfare caseloads. A recession w i l l reverse these trends w h i l e straining state budgets. . . . T h e n e w structure of welfare may make the highs and l o w s of p o l i c y more extreme than they were i n the past. T h e U n i t e d States has been l i v i n g through the highs; it has yet to experience the lows.^°

T h e U . S . economy has recentty entered a recession, a n d i n d i c a t i o n s are that i t m a y be a long one. It appears that the v i r t u o u s c y c l e i s over. We m a y w e l l soon see a s t u n n i n g r e v e r s a l i n the t r e n d i n T A N F caseload size.

C O N C L U S I O N

We have presented a large amount of data i n a f a i r l y brief space regarding the p u b l i c w e l f a r e system i n the U n i t e d States. M u c h of this i n f o r m a t i o n m a y seem contradictory a n d c o n f u s i n g . H o w e v e r , based o n the data presented, w e t h i n k it i s possible to come to several c o n c l u s i o n s . T h e s e are o u t l i n e d i n the f o l l o w - i n g sections.

American Values Related to Welfare Have Permanently Changed W h e n A i d to F a m i l i e s w i t h Dependent C h i l d r e n , the first n a t i o n a l w e l f a r e pro- gram i n the U n i t e d States, w a s passed i n 1935, the v a l u e o n w h i c h i t w a s based w a s clear. What's more, there w a s a n a t i o n a l consensus regarding this v a l u e . T h i s v a l u e w a s that w o m e n w i t h c h i l d r e n , e s p e c i a l l y s m a l l c h i l d r e n , s h o u l d be able to stay at home w i t h t h e m . Over the n e x t s i x t y years, t h i s v a l u e s l o w l y a n d steadily eroded. T h i s was due to s e v e r a l factors, the first being a general change i n the role of w o m e n i n society, r e s u l t i n g i n m a n y self-supporting w o m e n w o r k i n g rather t h a n c a r i n g for c h i l d r e n f u l l time. T h e second is the g r o w t h of the A F D C program u n t i l its cost became a great c o n c e r n for m a n y people w h o began questioning w h e t h e r w e c o u l d afford for poor w o m e n to stay at home rearing c h i l d r e n . T h e t h i r d factor is that the c o m p o s i t i o n of the A F D C r e c i p i - ent p o p u l a t i o n changed. W h e n the program w a s enacted, it w a s thought that the r e c i p i e n t s w o u l d be w i d o w e d w h i t e w o m e n . B y the 1960s, the t y p i c a l r e c i p i e n t w a s a n u n m a r r i e d m i n o r i t y group mother. R a c i s t though it m a y be, t h i s factor r e s u l t e d i n a major loss of support for the i d e a that w e l f a r e mothers s h o u l d be able to stay at home rather t h a n w o r k .

T h e T A N F program that r e p l a c e d A F D C is based on a different core v a l u e . T h i s v a l u e is that w o r k a n d self-support is a person's p r i m a r y obligation to society, g e n c e the termjpjgrsgnai responsibility i n the legislation that created

- l A N F . T h e key_ r e s u l t of this v a l u e change is that t h e j e s e a r c h r e v i e w e 3 5 ^ ' ^ 6 ^ s h o w i n g that e m p I o y ^ d T m m i t T S a a p i e n i s d l a v u n d e s i r a b l e joBs, receive low