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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2004): Social Security - Overseas

DIFFICULTIES AFTER LEAVING TANF: INNER-CITY WOMEN TALK ABOUT REASONS FOR RETURNING TO WELFARE

S.G. Anderson, A.P. Halter and B.M. Gryzlak

Social Work, Vol. 49, 2004, p.185-194

Based on focus groups conducted in five deprived areas of Chicago, the study explores the problems faced and strengths used by poor women attempting to achieve self-sufficiency after leaving welfare. Because the sample included primarily women who had left but then returned to welfare, the study provides a unique perspective on why welfare exits often fail in poor, inner-city areas. Participants indicated that low wages and unstable jobs were most often responsible for their returning to welfare, with difficulties in obtaining health care and child care being contributory factors. Strengths helpful in sustaining welfare exits included the psychological benefits of working and informal support from family and friends.

THE DYNAMICS OF SOCIAL AND LABOUR MARKET POLICIES IN FRANCE AND THE UNITED KINGDOM: BETWEEN PATH DEPENDENCE AND CONVERGENCE

C. Erhel and H. Zajdela

Journal of European Social Policy, Vol. 14, 2004, p.125-142

Most European countries have experienced major changes and reforms in both social protection and labour market policies over the past ten years. The article examines whether the policies of the UK and France have converged in light of these common reforms. It begins by presenting the characteristics of employment and labour market policy regimes in France and the UK at the end of the 1980s before examining the reforms that took place during the 1990s. In particular, the article considers each country's response to the problem of "unemployment traps". It concludes that although some convergence has taken place, the national model approach has not lost its relevance.

PERSONAL, FAMILY AND MULTIPLE BARRIERS OF LONG-TERM WELFARE RECIPIENTS

M.J. Taylor and A.S. Barusch

Social Work, Vol. 49, 2004, p.175-183

Reports results of a survey in which 284 long-term welfare recipients were interviewed. Results illustrate personal barriers to self-sufficiency, including physical health problems that prevent work, severe domestic violence, educational deficits, substance abuse, child behaviour problems and mental illness. Findings suggest that for some welfare recipients work is not a realistic option and lifelong financial support may be needed.

POLITICS AND THE NEW AMERICAN WELFARE STATES

M.C. Fellowes and G. Rowe

American Journal of Political Science, vol.48, 2004, p.362-373

Federal law allows US states to create welfare policies determining who is eligible for benefits, what types of clients are exempt from work requirements, and the value of cash assistance. Study showed that as the proportion of African-Americans grew, states reacted by lowering benefits, making work requirements stricter, and raising eligibility criteria. However other constituent characteristics and institutions, resources, and paternalistic goals also consistently influenced welfare policy.

RACE, BUREAUCRATIC DISCRETION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF WELFARE REFORM

L.R. Keiser, P.R. Mueser and S.-W. Choi

American Journal of Political Science, vol.48, 2004, p.314-327

Article explores the impact of the race of individual clients and of the local racial context on the implementation of sanctions for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in a Midwestern state. Although, within any one county, minorities face higher levels of sanctions than whites, in the aggregate they are actually less likely to face sanctions. This paradox is due to the interaction of demographic structure and political process. Areas with the highest proportions of non-white population have low levels of sanctions, very likely reflecting minority political power. Sanction rates increase as the non-white population increases until a threshold is reached at which nonwhites gain political power.

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