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Welfare Reform in California

Welfare Reform in California: Early Results from the Impact Analysis

Jacob Alex Klerman
V. Joseph Hotz
Elaine Reardon
Amy G. Cox
Donna O. Farley
Steven J. Haider
Guido Imbens
Robert Schoeni
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 144
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Welfare Reform in California
    Book Description:

    Examines the effects of the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program on work activity participation rates of welfare recipients, welfare caseloads, and outcomes for welfare leavers. While the CalWORKs reforms appear to have been responsible for some of the uniform improvement in outcomes shown by the analysis, the robust economy and other policy changes were probably also important.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-3596-7
    Subjects: Population Studies, Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Figures
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  8. Acronyms and Abbreviations
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  9. Section

    • 1. Introduction
      (pp. 1-13)

      In response to federal welfare reform—the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA)—California enacted the Thompson-Maddy-Ducheny-Ashburn Welfare-to-Work Act of 1997 on August 11, 1997. That legislation replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program and Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN), the state’s associated welfare-to-work (WTW) program, with the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program.

      CalWORKs is a modified “work-first” program that provides support services to help recipients move from welfare to work and toward self-sufficiency. Beyond encouraging these transitions, CalWORKs also imposes lifetime limits on the receipt of cash assistance...

    • 2. Program Participation
      (pp. 14-30)

      Counties use their CalWORKs funds to provide services that are intended to help recipients find jobs, make them self-sufficient, and enable them to leave cash assistance. The services are also intended to engage enough recipients for the state to meet two goals: aggregate federal participation requirements and the CalWORKs legislation’s individual participation-rate requirement.¹

      This section considers the evidence of the counties’ success in engaging current recipients of cash assistance in WTW activities. We begin with an overview of the descriptive findings on participation rates and California’s creation of a separate state program (SSP) for two-parent families in October 1999. We...

    • 3. The Caseload
      (pp. 31-55)

      Welfare programs exist to provide a minimal level of support for children. Among the changes brought about by welfare reform was the addition of a complementary goal of “reducing dependency,” i.e., cutting the caseload. The relative importance of these two goals—providing a minimal level of support to poor children and reducing dependency—is a matter of considerable debate, to which we return at the end of this section.

      Regardless of the relative weight attached to these goals, the level and composition of the caseload are key indicators of outcomes under CalWORKs, and they provide important insights into the effects...

    • 4. Outcomes for Leavers
      (pp. 56-75)

      Federal welfare reform fundamentally shifted the focus of welfare policy from providing cash assistance to those currently on welfare to providing temporary assistance. However, the goal of the program is not merely to cut the welfare rolls; it is also to end the dependence of needy parents on government assistance. Thus, we are interested in the status of those who leave the welfare system (referred to here as “leavers”).

      This section considers the experiences of leavers, starting with an overview of the descriptive findings. We next examine the support for those findings, starting with a consideration of the extent to...

    • 5. Conclusions and Next Steps
      (pp. 76-80)

      As noted in Section 1, this is the first of two reports on the impact of CalWORKs. It describes outcomes under CalWORKs through the summer of 2000 and begins the process of explaining the observed variation in outcomes—through time, between California and other states, and among California’s counties. This concluding section summarizes the findings to date and discusses directions for additional analyses for the second and final impact analysis.

      The impact analysis addresses three questions: (1) What has happened to the outcomes of interest? (2) Why do outcomes vary across time, between California and the other states, and among...

  10. Appendix A. Overview of Factors That Might Affect Outcomes
    (pp. 81-91)
  11. Appendix B. Data Sources
    (pp. 92-95)
  12. Appendix C. Analytic Methods
    (pp. 96-99)
  13. Appendix D. Results of the Policy Simulation Conducted on Participation Rates
    (pp. 100-102)
  14. Appendix E. Caseload Decline by California Region and County
    (pp. 103-104)
  15. Bibliography
    (pp. 105-124)