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Abstracts from Volume 28, Number 3
(September, 2001)

Special Issue: Evaluation of TANF

The Impact of the Economy and Welfare Policy on Welfare Accessions: Implications for Future Reforms
Vicky N. Albert and William C. King
This longitudinal study analyzes the impact of labor market conditions and welfare policies accompanying the 1990s waivers granted by the federal government to California and the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWOA) on families entering welfare (accessions). A time series model was specified for analyzing the number of families entering welfare from January 1983 to December 1998. The findings suggest that in 1998 under PRWOA, all else constant, there were fewer case openings. Prior to the PRWOA, policy shifts of the 1990s did not have an impact on case openings. The findings also show that under economic recovery fewer families applied for welfare. The implications of these findings are that drastic measures such as time-limited welfare should be re-examined since a favorable economic environment allows many recipients to remain off public assistance even in the absence of such measures.

The Transition from AFDC to PRWORA in Florida: Perceptions of the Role of Case Manager in Welfare Reform
Adela Beckerman and Leonard Fontana
Welfare reform was implemented in Florida with the passage of WAGES. WAGES' emphasis on support services in preparation for employment portends to be a radical transformation of the "eligibility compliance" organizational culture that had developed under AFDC. Interviews with welfare staff focused on whether WAGES' offices were able to develop the organizational culture and methods of frontline practice needed to implement the goals of welfare reform legislation. The interviews indicate an emerging organizational culture in which case managers readily identify with the mantra of welfare reform. The interviews also indicate a discrepancy between the importance of the case manager role and the ability to perform all of their responsibilities in light of large caseloads and the desire to quickly involve clients in employment-seeking activities.

A New Perspective on Families that Receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Christopher R. Larrison, Larry Nackerud and Ed Risler
A review of the scholarly literature shows that a number of analyses of welfare are mistakenly based upon the premise that the overwhelming majority of welfare recipients receive benefits because they are young single women who are undereducated and caring for a child either born out of wedlock or abandoned by divorce/separation. The term welfare can encompasses a number of social programs (e.g. Food Stamps, state general assistance programs, Medicaid), but in this paper it refers specifically to Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) or its contemporary Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). In an attempt to calibrate the accuracy of this long held stereotype, the authors surveyed a representative stratified random sample of individuals who received TANF in the state of Georgia. The resulting profile led to the identification of four distinctive groups on the welfare rolls. These groups or groupings, as they are referred to in the paper, show that only some families .t the traditional stereotype while others are accessing the welfare system Because of health problems, child abandonment, limited retirement assets, poor education, and fluctuating labor markets.

The Historical Uniqueness of the Clinton Welfare Reforms: A New Level of Social Misery?
Larry Patriquin
This essay argues that the 1996 reforms to the American welfare state have no historical precedent. They are not a return to "the poorhouse era" and are radically distinct from Great Britain's new poor law of 1834, to which they are often compared. America is the first advanced capitalist country to jettison a significant element of its welfare state and, as such, is moving into waters that are uncharted and dangerous.

An Exploration into Individual Development Accounts as an Anti-Poverty Strategy
Timothy G. Reutebuch
A non-random, cross-sectional sampling procedure was utilized in this study to determine what factors are related to households choosing to utilize Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) as a means to escape poverty. Surveys from 111 households were collected from September 1997, to April 1999, in seven Ohio counties to elucidate the relationship between the level of assets in working poor households and selected household demographic variables, and the decision on whether or not to actually participate in an IDA program. Findings revealed that households 1) with more than one wage earner and 2) with higher levels of education are more likely to join an Individual Development Account and benefit from a matched savings account. The implications of an asset-based social welfare policy strategy will be discussed.

Assets, Future Orientation, and Well-Being: Exploring and Extending Sherraden's Framework
Marcia Shobe and Deborah Page-Adams
Reducing the incidence and impact of poverty has been central to social work practice since the birth of the profession (Addams, 1910; Franklin, 1986). The prevailing anti-poverty paradigm holds that well-being is almost exclusively dependent upon income. Social work scholar and educator, Michael Sherraden (1988; 1991) suggests a new anti-poverty paradigm whereby combined income and asset building initiatives may improve the well-being of poor households. Sherraden (1991) suggests that assets have positive effects on well-being, including future orientation. The extended conceptual framework suggested here further specifies that future orientation has a direct role in its relationship with assets and well-being.

Mental Health Needs of TANF Recipients
Layne K. Stromwall
This paper reports findings of a study of female Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) and non-recipients ages 18­40, receiving behavioral health services in the rural Southwest in 1998­9. TANF recipients (N =119) were more likely to be seriously mentally ill than non-recipients (N = 370), suggesting that a subgroup of TANF recipients may face significant barriers to employment given the new TANF regulations. The author argues that responsibility for recognizing the needs of TANF recipients for behavioral health services is shared by both the public welfare and behavioral health systems. Suggestions for meeting this challenge in both systems are discussed.

The Other Side of the Desk: Former Welfare Recipients Who Now Work for "The System."
Cheryl Cheek and Kathleen W. Piercy
Within the framework of identity theory, twenty female former welfare recipients who are currently human service workers discussed how their past experiences affected current service provision and their views of the welfare system. Semi-structured interviews were used, and data were coded and analyzed using the multistage process designed by McCracken (1988) for long interviews. Respondents discussed how their experiences made them more empathetic towards their clients and gave them insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the past and present welfare systems. Results show support for identity theory by showing how past identities affect present ones.

The Ins and Outs of Welfare-to-Work: Women as They Enter and Exit a Nursing Assistant Employment and Training Program
Brenda Solomon
By participant observation and follow up interviews (at three intervals post-graduation), this study explores the multiple work accountabilities arranging women's everyday lives as they enter and exit a welfare-to-work nursing assistant employment and training program. Work and family demands, and male partners' and children's reactions to the women's participation in labor arrangements outside the home are complicated by children's chronic illnesses and partners' disabilities and unemployment situations. From this consideration, the author argues that there is an incomplete gender shift in welfare policy. While it creates clear obligations to family and work for women trainees, the policy produces uncertain consequences and conditions for the women's (male) partners. These various circumstances explain the conflicting narratives of success and injustice in the women's descriptions of their experiences of welfare-to-work after training. Policy recommendations beginning from the women's everyday experiences are proposed.

Private Food Assistance in a Small Metropolitan Area: Urban Resources and Rural Needs
Joseph J. Molnar, Patricia A. Duffy, LaToya Claxton, and Conner Bailey
Food banks and other private feeding programs have become an institutionalized component of the social welfare system in over 190 urban areas in the U.S. More recently, private food assistance has gained importance in rural areas as well. The density and capacity of agencies to serve the poor is higher in urban areas than in sparsely populated rural locales where distance and dispersal tend to be barriers to supplying and accessing donated food. Rural food distribution strategies thus must be qualitatively different than those in larger communities, because of the smaller-scale, more informal distributional system. Little is known about how urban-based nonprofit services stimulate and support food assistance in surrounding rural locales. Based on intensive interviews with food bank staff, food pantry directors, and food pantry clientele, we examine obstacles affecting the use of food pantries and the amelioration of food insecurity. We also provide an assessment of how changes in federal welfare provisions may be affecting the need for private food assistance.

RESEARCH NOTE
Using TANF Sanctions to Increase High School Graduation
Ronald Harris, Loring Jones and Daniel Finnegan
The School Attendance Demonstration Project (SADP) was aimed at encouraging AFDC teens to attend school and finish high school. The project used a combined approach of the financial incentive in the form of a penalty for non-attendance, and the provision of social services. SADP tracked the school attendance and graduation status of eligible teens (n=997) in the San Diego United School District (SDUSD). The study utilized a control group with random assignment. Data indicated that SADP did not effect graduations. The findings seem to indicate that at risk teens from families receiving public assistance have on-going problems with securing an education that are diffcult to correct with SADP services and sanctions.

BOOK REVIEWS
Black Working Wives: Pioneers of the American Family Revolution. Bart Landry. Review by Tracey Mabrey

Children as Partners in Health: A Critical Review of the Child-to-Child Approach. Pat Pridmore and David Stephens.
Review by Terri Combs-Orme

The Politics of Gay Rights. Craig A. Rimmerman, Kenneth D. Wald, Clyde Wilcox (Eds.).
Review by John F. Longres

Loving across the color line: A White Adoptive Mother Learns About Race. Sharon E. Rush.
Review by Jill Duerr Berrick 229

Back to Middletown: Three Generations of Sociological Reflections. Rita Caccamo.
Review by Robert D. LeighningerJr.

The Task Planner: An Intervention Resource for Human Service Professionals. William J. Reid.
Review by Catheleen Jordan

BOOK NOTES
America's Struggle Against Poverty in the Twentieth Century.
James T. Patterson

Ordering Lives: Family Work and Welfare.
Gordon Hughes and Ross Ferguson (Eds.)

Lost Fathers: The Politics of Fatherlessness in America.
Cynthia R. Daniels (Ed.)

A Poverty of Imagination: Bootstrap Capitalism, Sequel to Welfare Reform. David Stoesz

The Juvenile Court and the Progressives.
Victoria Getis

 

 

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