Recent Changes in Washington Welfare and Work, Child Care, and Child Welfare Systems

Research Report

Recent Changes in Washington Welfare and Work, Child Care, and Child Welfare Systems

Abstract

Washington's history of experimentation with welfare continues with WorkFirst. The state provides a generous safety net, while implementing time-limited cash assistance and a work-first philosophy. WorkFirst shifts the focus of services associated with cash assistance receipt from skill-building to rapid attachment to the labor market. The state has also taken steps to assure that important supports for poor working families are in place, including child care and health insurance for children. Washington was one of the only states studied that did not have a waiting list for child care subsidies. Respondents in Washington reported, however, that many eligible families either did not know about subsidies or knew about them but did not apply. Increased funding for child welfare was used
to provide more and different services, including additional resources for foster parents and less intensive family preservation services, as well as continued funding for the state's intensive family preservation services.

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