Reforming Welfare: Institutional Change and Challenges

Research Report

Reforming Welfare: Institutional Change and Challenges

Abstract

Based on site visits to 17 cities in 13 states, the authors discuss welfare reform from an institutional perspective. Many of the welfare agencies studied expanded their message to emphasize employment and the temporary nature of welfare; developed new staffing patterns within the welfare office; forged relationships with workforce development agencies and nonprofit community-based organizations to promote work among welfare clients; and increased the use of performance-based contracting to manage these new relationships. The researchers attribute the significant level of change in welfare agencies since the enactment of welfare reform to three key factors: the existence of ample financial resources through the TANF block grant; more flexibility to spend these resources; and the need to deliver a broader range of employment services to a larger pool of recipients.

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