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1996 Welfare Reform Act Goals
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1996 Welfare Reform Act Goals


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  • 1. Have We Achieved Them, the Great Debate, and its Impact on Poverty in America By: Kevin Mooney, Craig Rhee, Lauren Schulte
  • 2. Welfare Controversy: Why the need to reform?
    • Nadya Suleman
    • Nadya Suleman is a single mother living in California with 14 children. She was impregnated by donated sperm. You may know her as “Octo-Mom”, as her latest pregnancy yielded eight children in addition to her six.
    • Should Nadya Suleman receive tax money from the state of California, or the federal government?
    • What explains these types of behavior? What are the best remedies?
    • Do those who truly need aid get lost in the mix?
  • 3. Theories: How can this be explained?
    • Flawed Character : Are some people too irresponsible to maintain a job and function in society? Do the non-poor deserve a pat on the back?
    Big Brother : Does Welfare provide a safety net for those who wish to behave irresponsibly? Should the government do more, or do less? Restricted Opportunity : Do the educational, political, and other social institutions discriminate, causing the poor to be poor outside of their control?
  • 4. Goals of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act
    • 1. Reduce child poverty rate.
    • 2. Cut spending by reducing dependence on government aid.
    • 3. Reduce number of children born out of wedlock through strengthening heterosexual marriage.
    • We conducted research to find out if we have achieved these goals.
  • 5. Number of Children Receiving Welfare Per Month
    • This reveals the need to improve the situation for children.
    • In 27 years, the number of children on welfare increased three-fold.
  • 6. Child Poverty Each Year Since Welfare Reform
  • 7.  
  • 8. Reducing Child Poverty
    • Has the goal of reducing the child poverty rate been accomplished?
    • The child poverty rate has fluctuated. Since 1996 there has been a net decrease, however, this cannot be directly credited to welfare reform at this time.
  • 9. From Welfare to Work: Reducing Dependence on Government Aid
    • The 1996 Welfare Reform introduced new work requirements to help lift people out of welfare.
    • The promotion of work requirements improves the life of the parent and also the children.
    • Temporary assistance was used as an incentive to get the parent to work, which in turn helps the children escape poverty.
  • 10. From Welfare to Work
    • Why reduce welfare spending?
    • If an able-bodied individual receives government aid because they fall below the poverty line – does this increase or decrease their incentive to work to rise above the poverty line?
    • The legislation provides temporary aid – Enough while a person finds a job to support themselves.
    • This shifts the burden from the government to the individual. Government dependence to Self dependence.
  • 11. Welfare Caseloads 1994 - 2004
  • 12. From Welfare to Work
    • According to this chart, welfare caseloads have decreased since the welfare reform act was passed.
    • In this sense, the goal of the welfare reform has been accomplished, however, it is unclear where the credit is due.
    • 1996-2001: Health and Human Services reported a 58% decrease in welfare caseloads.
    • In this sense, the goal of reducing welfare recipients was accomplished.
    • However, by the time the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 was passed, the number of welfare caseloads had been decreasing for nearly two years.
  • 13. Encouraging Heterosexual Marriage
    • The welfare reform bill states that :
    • Marriage is the foundation of a successful society.
    • Marriage is an essential institution of a successful society which promotes the interests of children.
    • Promotion of responsible fatherhood and motherhood is integral to successful child rearing and the well-being of children.
  • 14. Poverty Statistics Related to Marital Status: 1996 vs 2007
    • 1996
    • Married Couple Families, with children under age 18: 5.6%
    • Female head of household, no spouse, with children under age 18: 41.9%
    • Male statistic not available.
    • 2007
    • Married couple families: 4.9%
    • Female head of household, no husband present: 28.3%
    • Male head of household, no wife present: 13.6%
  • 15. How Has Encouraging Heterosexual Marriage Affected Poverty?
    • Married couples are less likely to be in poverty.
    • In 2007, as we saw, the poverty rate of single mothers was 24% higher than the poverty rate of married couple households.
    • In 1996, the poverty rate of single mothers with children under age 18 was 35% higher than that of married couples
    • This also impacts the child poverty rate. Married couples naturally bring in more income, therefore, children born to married parents have a better chance at escaping poverty.
  • 16. Conclusions & Political Debate
    • Child poverty decreased following the passage of the welfare reform.
    • Welfare caseloads have decreased.
    • Marriage has proven to improve the economic situation of families.
    • Is this all due to welfare reform, or a strong economy?
  • 17. Debate: All Who Think it Was Ineffective:
    • The strong economy of the 1990’s caused reductions in welfare caseloads. The decline in welfare caseloads was a lagged response to the growing economy.
    • Decreases in welfare have not been linked convincingly to welfare reform measures.
    • Job availability, amount of jobs requiring no more than a high school diploma, and the wage level in the economy influence caseloads.
  • 18. Debate: All Who Think it Was Effective
    • Parents and children are harmed by welfare.
    • The prior system rewarded idleness and dependency.
    • Welfare reform reduced child poverty and increased employment with its work requirements.
    • Source: Heritage Foundation
  • 19.
    Debate: All Who Think it Was Effective
  • 20. Present and Future Outlook on Reform
    • In 2006, Congress reauthorized TANF, and made states increase the work requirements among its welfare recipients.
    • However, many believe the stimulus package of 2009 will effectively end welfare reform.