NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

In Reforming Welfare, Cities Shift Focus

June 25, 1999

City welfare offices that once focused on handing out checks now aim to find jobs for their clients. That is one conclusion reached in a report from Manpower Demonstration Research Corp., which evaluates welfare programs.

Here are some of the report's other findings:

  • Once jobs are found, cities are not doing enough to help clients get health care, child care, food stamps and other benefits to help them stay in jobs or move up the employment ladder.
  • Cities do a poor job of explaining to clients that the law allows just five years of benefits in a lifetime -- and continuing to accept benefits while working counts against that five years.
  • There has been no "race to the bottom" predicted by reform opponents -- and few welfare recipients are worse off than they were before reform.
  • Most recipients and welfare agency staff like the new state-run system -- even though the state programs are viewed as tougher than the former federal welfare program.

The report is based on studies of four cities: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami and Cleveland.

Source: Richard Wolf, "Larger Cities Improve Welfare Services, But Some Glitches Remain," USA Today, June 25, 1999.


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