ERIC Number: ED414998
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997
Reference Count: N/A
How Welfare Reform Can Help or Hurt Children. Children and Welfare Reform Issue Brief 1.
Collins, Ann; Aber, J. Lawrence
The issue brief describes the research base for the National Center for Children in Poverty's (NCCP's) framework to assess welfare changes from a children's perspective and points to lessons from current and past welfare-to-work evaluations. Many changes are now implemented in welfare policies due to new legislation titled the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. Among the changes in welfare policy, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) has been replaced by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which does not hold a guarantee of income assistance for single mothers with children and which has a 5-year lifetime limit for the recipient. Most changes in policy are driven by adult-focused goals, but it is estimated that most likely TANF policy will continue to be children-focused as it was for AFDC. Welfare reform can help or hurt children by changing (1) the family income, (2) level of parental stress and/or parenting styles, and (3) children's access to basic services. There is little information available to policymakers about the ways to protect children and enhance their growth and development within the welfare reform context. Looking at the implications of past welfare program evaluations it is evident that: (1) family income improved only in states that allowed families to combine cash benefits with earnings; (2) there is little or no information about how welfare reform affected parental stress and parenting styles; and (3) the availability of support for health insurance and child care services affected parents' participation in welfare-to-work efforts. The 5-year limit for receipt of TANF funds means that state and community policymakers and program operators may have very targeted and limited opportunities to assist families receiving cash assistance. A framework that assesses the impact of welfare reform on family income, parental stress, and access to children's services can help clarify the potential trade-offs and policy options involved in formulating and implementing welfare reforms. (AS)
Descriptors: Child Development, Child Health, Child Welfare, Day Care, Family Income, Family Needs, Family Programs, Federal Aid, Federal Programs, Financial Support, Parenting Skills, Welfare Recipients, Welfare Reform, Welfare Services
National Center for Children in Poverty, Columbia School of Public Health, 154 Haven Avenue, New York, NY 10032; phone: 212-544-4200 ($5, includes shipping and handling).
Publication Type: Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Ford Foundation, New York, NY.; Carnegie Corp. of New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: National Center for Children in Poverty, New York, NY.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Aid to Families with Dependent Children; Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families