The Positive Impacts of Welfare Reform.
In 1996, then President Bill Clinton passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). The Aid to Dependent Children (AFDC), a federal entitlement program, was replaced by the welfare reform legislation with a block grant, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) that went to the states. This paper will discuss the changes that have been made to the welfare system under this new law and why welfare reform has been a much-needed step in the right direction. Finally, the paper will give an example of how one model county is approaching these changes in welfare to ensure success.
When the welfare reform act became law, welfare rolls were near their all-time high. "Welfare is only part of our country's poverty-reduction system, which includes public housing, food stamps, day-care subsidies, Medicaid and the Child Health Insurance Program. But it has long been the most notorious part, not just because of its scale (in the mid-1990s, one in seven children was on welfare) but because it supposedly bred a culture of dependency" (The Economist, 2001).
The first aim of the 1996 law was to break that culture by moving people off welfare and into jobs. I believe that any unemployed, able-bodied person, no matter their skill level, should actively look for work and at least attempt to become self-sufficient. There are always extenuating circumstances, but being employed raises your self-esteem and makes you feel like a contributing member of society. I have experienced hardship and I was a single-mother for over 8 years. I was a welfare recipient before the enactment of welfare reform and was determined to use the resources given to me to become a productive member of society.