Recent Changes in New Jersey Welfare and Work, Child Care, and Child Welfare Systems

Research Report

Recent Changes in New Jersey Welfare and Work, Child Care, and Child Welfare Systems

Abstract

New Jersey has streamlined many aspects of its social services and income support programs and successfully implemented Work First New Jersey (WFNJ), changing the emphasis of cash assistance from education and training to immediate employment and personal responsibility. The state continues to maintain a commitment to its low-income population through a relatively generous safety net for poor families including low-income singles and families without children. New Jersey continues to operate two separate child care systems for welfare and non-welfare families. New Jersey also retained the concept of transitional child care for families exiting welfare, and recently extended the transitional period from two to three years. While resources were unavailable in New Jersey to fund all non-welfare families who applied for child care in the years after welfare reform, in July of 1999 New Jersey transferred TANF funds to eliminate existing waiting lists for non-welfare families seeking child care subsidies.

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