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Welfare Reform on the Web (April 2006): Social Security - Overseas

D. Gibbs and others

Children and Youth Services Review, vol.28, 2006, p.435-446

This article describes the role of child-only TANF grants as a source of financial support for kinship care within and outside the child welfare system. Analysis suggests that children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers who have encountered the child welfare system compare favourably with other children in out-of-home care on many indicators of well-being. However these children fared no better than those in foster care on measures of behavioural and mental health. Many children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers have many service needs, to which TANF agencies are not equipped to respond. Case studies reveal a lack of assessment and case management for these children, and little collaboration between TANF and child welfare agencies. In sum, children in TANF child-only cases with relative caregivers often miss out on the services offered by the child welfare system.

D. Parisi and others

Social Science Quarterly, vol.86, 2006, p.76-90

Study investigated whether local and individual factors known to influence reliance on state benefits continue to be important under the TANF programme, and if such factors differentially affect exit from TANF for African-Americans and Whites. Results show that personal barriers to work (eg low education and children) and limited economic opportunities reduce the likelihood of leaving TANF. The results also show that African-American exits from TANF are more influenced by human capital and local economic conditions than are Whites’ exits. The article concludes that welfare-to-work initiatives are most viable when individual barriers to work are limited and economic opportunities exist for all people.

L. Mead

Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2004

Wisconsin’s welfare reform was the most radical in the US, and it began far earlier than that in most other states. The book studies the politics and legislation, the implementation, and the outcomes of several waves of welfare reform in Wisconsin and gives an account of how good government can improve the lives of the poor.

K. Battle, M. Mendelson and S. Torjman

Canadian Public Policy, vol.31, 2005, p.431-437

Article presents proposals for reform of social protection for adults of working age in Canada. It suggests a three tier system. Tier one would provide short term income maintenance for temporarily unemployed adults. Tier two would assist employable adults who had exhausted their entitlement to time limited income support offered by tier one. It would focus on active job search and preparation for work; benefits would be contingent on clients agreeing to an individually tailored employment preparation plan. Tier three would provide a safety net for those unable to work because of severe disabilities.

Taking control of one’s own life? Norwegian lone mothers experiencing the new employment strategy

L. J. Syltevik

Community, Work and Family, vol.9, 2006, p.75-94

The Norwegian system of benefits for lone mothers was reformed in the1990s so as to limit the time period they could stay at home to look after their children or undertake full time education while receiving transitional allowance. This paper discusses the implementation and consequences of these new policies from a gender and power perspective. Lone mothers interviewed for this study often found it difficult to gain a foothold in the labour market and regarded paid work as both a source of independence and insecure. Available work was often low paid, leading to continuing economic hardship. Some found full time employment too demanding and wanted to be at home with their child/children. Others resented not receiving help and encouragement to study to improve their qualifications.

M. A. Alzate

European Journal of Social Work, vol.9, 2006, p.85-101

This study used the Human Development Index (HDI) to measure the quality of life of 53,323 single mothers on welfare in Georgia in 2000 and that of the whole population by race. The article considers the significance of four factors identified by the HDI as key indicators of quality of life: 1) health insurance coverage; 2) infant mortality rates; 3) maternal mortality rates; and 4) the mismatch between education and standard of living. The study concludes that the quality of life of women on welfare in the USA will not improve until the following factors are addressed: 1) lack of comprehensive long term health insurance; 2) unaffordable private child care; 3) the mismatch between educational attainment and job prospects; and 4) the inequitable distribution of resources for state schools.

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