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Research on Welfare Reform

The following discussion about research on welfare reform took place on
WMST-L in May 2000.  For additional WMST-L files available on the Web, see
the WMST-L File Collection.
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 11:30:59 -0400
From: Janet Gray <gray @ TCNJ.EDU>
Subject: Welfare reform outcomes
I've been searching, so far with limited success, for up-to-date
qualitative and quantitative research on aftermaths of the '96 welfare
reforms.  I'd especially like to find material on how women and children
have been faring.  So far most of what I have are early
predictions--e.g., that more children would wind up in foster care.

Can anyone recommend published material--articles or organizational
reports?  I'm looking for pieces to present to undergraduates in a
course unit on gender, sexuality, and poverty in the US.

Janet Gray
Assistant Professor
Women's and Gender Studies
The College of New Jersey
gray  @  tcnj.edu
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 12:18:31 -0400
From: Sandy Smith <ssmith2 @ EMORY.EDU>
Subject: Welfare reform outcomes

There is an over abundance of material on the broad subject of
how women and children are faring after welfare deform. For reports
and studies you can go to the welfare information network at

There you will also find a long list of links to good sources such
as the Welfare Law Center, the Urban Center and the Center on Budget and
Policy Priorities.

If you don't have time to wade through a massive amount of material, I
suggest posting your request on the IWPR's welfare research list serv
- the info for signing on is at the Institute for Women's Policy
Research site:


The last time I looked the list archives were available, you might find
what you are looking for there.


Sandy Smith Madsen
Institute for Women's Studies
Emory University
Atlanta, GA  30322
ssmith2  @  emory.edu
"We have the Bill of Rights and we have civil rights. Now we need a Right
to Care, and it's going to take a movement to get it."
                    Deborah Stone
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 13:09:13 -0400
From: Sharon Snow <ssnow @ VT.EDU>
Subject: Welfare reform outcomes
Re:  Request from Janet Gray on impact of '96 welfare reform policies.


The Virginia Tech Center for Public Administration and Policy in
Northern Virginia just completed a six year study on the impact of
welfare reform.  It was done in conjunction with Mathematica Policy
Research Inc. in New Jersey for the Virginia Dept. of Social
Services.  It would only address the impact of reform in Virginia but
would be a good place to start.  Their web site is
http://www.cpap.vt.edu .  Follow the link to the Northern Virginia
Graduate Center for contact information.



Sharon Snow
Assistant Director/Sexual Assault Educator
Women's Center
Virginia Tech
Price House, Stanger Street (0270)
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
540-231-7806  FAX:  540-231-6767
Email: ssnow  @  vt.edu

"Resistance is the secret of joy."
        --  Alice Walker
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 13:08:11 -0500
From: Mev Miller <wplp @ WINTERNET.COM>
Subject: Welfare reform outcomes
This is a a good piece -- you may also want to look at the recent work of
Patsy Mink.

Miranne, K.B. & Young,  A.H.  (1998). Women "reading the world:"
Challenging welfare reform in Wisconsin. Journal of Sociology and Social
Welfare,  Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 155-176. Vol. 25, No. 2.

Women's Presses Library Project
..keeping women's words in circulation
Mev Miller, Project Coordinator
1483 Laurel Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104-6737

651-646-1153 /fax

wplp  @  winternet.com
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 00:05:33 -0400
From: "Bojar, Karen" <kbojar @ CCP.CC.PA.US>
Subject: Welfare reform outcomes
The Jobs Policy Network in Philadelphia (email:jpn  @  libertynet.org) has put
together some  position papers on the impact of welfare reform;  I relied on
their Case Studies of TANF Parents
Denied Training and Education Opportunities for a piece I put together for a
coalition of feminist groups planning a demonstration against the Republican
convention in Phila. this summer.  Here's an excerpt:

 Let Them Scrub Floors

The focus of welfare reform has been on moving people off the welfare
rolls, not on moving people out of poverty.  The rallying cry has been "
immediate attachment to the work force."  Recipients of Temporary
Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) can receive cash assistance and
support services such as childcare only if they meet work requirements
that vary from state to state.  In Pennsylvania, these requirements can
be met by a range of approved activities that includes short-term
training but does not include post-secondary education beyond a 12-month

Thus two-year community college programs which can help recipients
acquire real skills leading to a living wage are no longer an option.
Counselors at community colleges report that their students have been
forced to drop out of programs which might lead to genuine
self-sufficiency in order to enter short-term training programs.  To
cite one example:

Julia, who has two children, ages 9 and 4,  was completing her first
year in the Paralegal Studies Curriculum at Community College of
Philadelphia when her caseworker pressured her to drop out of CCP and
enter a training program in Housekeeping through a quick attachment
program.  She dropped out, despite having a 2.67 GPA, and enrolled in
and graduated from the housekeeping training, but got no job. She was
then told that there were jobs in the computer area, and was offered a
short-term computer training program.  She competed the program, but
found no job in this field, either. If she had been allowed to complete
her paralegal training she would have graduated by now and could be
earning $ 20,000 or more. (Reported in Case Studies of TANF Parents
Denied Training and Education Opportunities, publication of Jobs Policy

Policy makers for whom a college education is a birthright want to deny
this opportunity for upward mobility to those of less privileged
backgrounds.   Let them scrub floors  is their response to the efforts
of women like Julia who want to make a better life for themselves and
their families.  Although attendance at college is considered by law an
acceptable activity for purposes of meeting the work requirement for the
first 12 months, many women do not have Julia's option of beginning a
college program.  Many recipients are discouraged from enrolling, and
many are told they cannot enroll in any educational program that cannot
be completed within a twelve-month period.  Those few who manage to
complete twelve months of post-secondary education are then forced out
of programs that might lead to genuine self-sufficiency for themselves
and their families.

Not all TANF recipients have the requisite skills and motivation to
enter a  college program. But those who do, those who have the potential
to become role models for other, leaders in their communities, are being
forced to abandon their dreams and settle for a lifetime of low wage
dead end jobs.

Karen Bojar
kbojar  @  ccp.cc.pa.us
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 11:02:08 -0500
From: Phyllis Holman Weisbard <pweisbard @ LIBRARY.WISC.EDU>
Subject: Welfare reform outcomes
Re: welfare reform outcomes

We have published the Proceedings of the Wisconsin Women's Studies
Annual Conference for 1998, SPEAKING OUT: WOMEN, POVERTY,
AND PUBLIC POLICY. Several of the articles look specifically at welfare
reform and it its outcomes (ex: "A Look at Family Life Under W-2," by
Barbara Barnard [W-2 is Wisconsin Works, the name of the welfare reform
program in Wisconsin]; "Life After TANF: Single Mothers in Erie County, Pa,
Share Their Experiences," by Laura Lewis; and "Voices of Poor Single Mothers
in Michigan: Everyday Realities of Work, Education, and Child Care under
the New Welfare Law," by Peggy Kahn et. al.) SPEAKING OUT is available
at no charge -- single copies of the print volume are available upon request
(use the email address wiswsl  @  library.wisc.edu) and give us a few weeks).
It is also entirely available on the Internet in a pdf file accessible from
our website at
There are also a few links at that part of our website to other sources of
information, including the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison's Institute for
Research on Poverty.

Because welfare reform has been around longer in Wisconsin than most other
places, it has also begun to be studied more. The Institute for Wisconsin's
is a progressive policy group that has done some studies described and
on their website at http://www.wisconsinsfuture.org/research.htm. Their
include looking at the impact on the Hmong population, which is considerable
in Wisconsin; how domestic violence victims fare in the transition from welfare
to work; and how the poorest families are doing. The conservative think tank
in Wisconsin that came up with the welfare reform ideas (and
school vouchers), the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, has
policy papers about welfare and other topics on their site that can give
students an entree into how conservatives think. See
  http://www.wpri.org/reports.htm They have additional
papers that are not on the site., such as
Ending welfare in Wisconsin : work, cash, volunteerism, personal
responsibility /
     [Sammis B. White]. Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, [1994]
    Description:  40 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.  Series:  Wisconsin Policy Research
     report ; v. 7, no. 8

If you can get them (maybe through interlibrary loan?) there is useful
information in two reports done through the Univ. of Wisconsin System
Women's Studies Consortium's outreach component:

  In our own words : mothers' perspectives on welfare reform / Laura
Wittmann, Anne  Statham, Katherine Rhoades.   [Madison?, Wis.] : Women and
Poverty Public Education Initiative, [1997?]   Description:  29, 6, 26 p. :
ill. ; 28 cm.
In our own words : mothers' needs for successful welfare reform / [prepared
andwritten by: Laura Wittmann ; with contributions made by: Michelle Graf,
Mary Ellen Lemke] ; a project of the Women and Poverty Public Education
Initiative ; funded by:  Charles Stewart Mott Foundation [and the] Center
for Community
Change.[Kenosha, WI] : University of Wisconsin--Parkside, 1998. Description:
xi, 40, 16 p. : ill. ; 28 cm.

Phyllis Holman Weisbard
Univ. of Wisconsin System Women's Studies Librarian

    Phyllis Holman Weisbard, University of Wisconsin System
    Women's Studies Librarian
    430 Memorial Library, Madison, WI 53706
    (608) 263-5754               pweisbard  @  library.wisc.edu
Date: Thu, 25 May 2000 13:23:05 -0400
From: Holly Mitchell <hol31 @ UMIT.MAINE.EDU>
Subject: Additional Welfare Deform Articles: Stateline.org
Simply keyword in your states, and connect with the welfare 'reform'
topic area for further info:



Holly   @  U/Maine

HOL31  @  umit.maine.edu

 ICQ UIN#:  38794153 & 11685507
 Odigo:  #303057

Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 14:29:58 -0400
From: Janet Gray <gray @ TCNJ.EDU>
Subject: Poverty and sexuality
Following up on my query about resources on welfare outcomes, what I'm
looking for--and have not pinpointed yet--is studies that make links
between poverty and sexuality.  Specifically, I'm looking for essays we
can use to help undergraduates understand how our society regards and
treats poor women's sexuality through social policy decisions such as
welfare reform.  I'm vaguely remembering studies with analyses like
these from before '96.  Can list members recommend anything that
specifically addresses this connection?  Is there a "must-read" article
on the topic?

Many thanks,
Janet Gray
Women's and Gender Studies
The College of New Jersey
gray  @  tcnj.edu
Date: Sat, 3 Jun 2000 09:13:26 -0700
From: Laurie Jordan <starrylkj @ YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: Poverty and sexuality
You might want to check out Rickie Solinger's essay, "Poisonous
Choice."  It's included in Molly Ladd-Taylor and Lauri Umansky's

Hope this helps,
Laurie Jordan
Graduate Teaching Assistant
Women's Studies
Bowling Green State University
348 Shatzel Hall
Bowling Green, OH 43403

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