On and off the rolls, women work to get aheadhttp://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/local/15329233.htmNPR: Legislator Offers First-Person View of Welfare [Real Player]http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5689095In Focus: Ten Years of Welfare Reform [pdf]http://www.brookings.edu/comm/infocus/welfare.htmNPR: Where the Welfare Law Failed Fathershttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5671231Fact Sheet: The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/ofa/prwora96.htmSome sixty years after its introduction during the New Deal era, the essence of social welfare in the United States was dramatically transformed with the passage of The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. Despite its cumbersome name, the Act effectively placed a five-year time limit on welfare assistance, and also required a significant commitment on the part of recipients to find work. As various groups and individuals reflected on the past ten years, some were quick to note that the number of people on welfare has dropped 60 percent. Others have been more sanguine, noting that these reforms continue to inadequately address deeper problems, particularly those of single mothers with few job qualifications or education. Some critics continue to suggest that these problems are related to structural changes in the economy, and others continue to blame the so-called “culture of poverty”. The debates over what to do in order to solve the problems of working families continues to be intense, with some groups pushing to encourage marriage as a solution, and others seeking to provide more money for child care and higher minimum wages. The first link will take users to a piece from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s own Steve Levin that takes a closer look at the effects of welfare reform on several local residents. The second link leads to a similar piece which looks at women’s experience with the welfare system in and around Kansas City. The third link leads to a provocative piece from National Public Radio which features Montana legislator Mary Caferro talking about her own first-hand experience as a welfare recipient. Moving right along, visitors will find a diverse set of scholarly writings on welfare reform at the fourth site, offered courtesy of The Brookings Institution. The fifth link offers commentary by two scholars (Ron Haskins and Ronald Mincy) about how public policy should be adjusted over the next decade to meet the needs of poor families. Finally, the last link leads to a basic fact sheet on The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.


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