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For better and for worse: Welfare reform and the well-being of children and families

Date Added to Library: 
Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 08:45
Individual Author: 
Duncan, Greg J.
Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay
Reference Type: 
Research Methodology: 
Place Published: 
New York, NY
Published Date: 
Published Date (Text): 

The 1996 welfare reform bill marked the beginning of a new era in public assistance. Although the new law has reduced welfare rolls, falling caseloads do not necessarily mean a better standard of living for families. In For Better and For Worse, editors Greg J. Duncan and P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and a roster of distinguished experts examine the evidence and evaluate whether welfare reform has met one of its chief goals-improving the well-being of the nation's poor children.

For Better and For Worse opens with a lively political history of the welfare reform legislation, which demonstrates how conservative politicians capitalize on public concern over such social problems as single parenthood to win support for the radical reforms. Part I reviews how individual states redesigned, implemented, and are managing their welfare systems. These chapters show that most states appear to view maternal employment, rather than income enhancement and marriage, as key to improving child well-being. Part II focuses on national and multistate evaluations of the changes in welfare to examine how families and children are actually faring under the new system. These chapters suggest that work-focused reforms have not hurt children, and that reforms that provide financial support for working families can actually enhance children's development. Part III presents a variety of perspectives on policy options for the future. Remarkable here is the common ground for both liberals and conservatives on the need to support work and at the same time strengthen safety-net programs such as Food Stamps.

Although welfare reform-along with the Earned Income Tax Credit and the booming economy of the nineties-has helped bring mothers into the labor force and some children out of poverty, the nation still faces daunting challenges in helping single parents become permanent members of the workforce. For Better and For Worse gathers the most recent data on the effects of welfare reform in one timely volume focused on improving the life chances of poor children. (author abstract)

Table of Contents:

Part 1 – Introduction and Policy Context

  • Chapter 1: For Better and For Worse: Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children and Families – Greg J. Duncan and P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale
  • Chapter 2: Liberal and Conservative Influences on the Welfare Reform Legislation of 1996 – Ron Haskins

Part II – What States are Thinking and Doing

  • Chapter 3: Welfare Reform, Management Systems, and Policy Theories of Child Well-Being – Cathy M. Johnson and Thomas L. Gais
  • Chapter 4: How Do State Policymakers Think About Family Processes and Child Development in Low-Income Families – Kristin Anderson Moore
  • Chapter 5: Program Redesign by States in the Wake of Welfare Reform: Making Sense of the Effects of Devolution – Alan Weil
  • Chapter 6: Sanctions and Exits: What States Know About Families that Leave Welfare because of Sanctions and Time Limits – Jack Tweedie

Part III: How Families and Children are Faring

  • Chapter 7: How Different are Welfare and Working Families?  And Do These Differences Matter for Children’s Achievement? – Greg J. Duncan, Rachel E. Dunifon, Morgan B. Ward Doran, and W. Jean Yeung
  • Chapter 8: My Children Come First: Welfare-Reliant Women’s Post-TANF Views of Work-Family Trade-Offs and Marriage – Ellen K. Scott, Kathryn Edin, Andrew S. London, and Joan Maya Mazelis
  • Chapter 9: Does Maternal Employment Mandated by Welfare Reform Affect Children’s Behavior? –  Ariel Kalil, Rachel E. Dunifon, and Sandra K. Danziger
  • Chapter 10: Lessons from New Hope: The Impact on Children’s Well-Being of a Work-Based Antipoverty Program for Parents – Rashmita S. Mistry, Danielle A. Crosby, Aletha C. Huston, David M. Casey, and Marika N. Ripke
  • Chapter 11: How Families View and Use Lump-Sum Payments from the Earned Income Tax Credit – Jennifer L. Romich and Thomas S. Weisner
  • Chapter 12: Welfare Waivers and Nonmarital Childbearing – Ann E. Horvath-Rose and H. Elizabeth Peters

Part IV: Policy Approaches and Options for the Future

  • Chapter 13: Reducing Child Poverty by Improving the Work-Based Safety Net – Wendell Primus and Kristina Daugirdas
  • Chapter 14: Effects of Welfare Reform at Four Years – Ron Haskins
  • Chapter 15: Reforming the Social Family Contract: Public Support for Child Rearing in the United States – Paula England and Nancy Folbre
  • Chapter 16: Lessons Learned – P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and Greg J. Duncan
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Research Notes: 
There is no research method marked because it is a book with many articles that my all use different research methods. KB 3/1/12

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