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Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Welfare, Workforce, and Social Services: Welfare Reform

Welfare Reform

Performance-Based Contracts in New York City:
Lessons Learned from Welfare-to-Work


This report offers lessons in how state and local governments can manage work by private vendors serving public clients, based on New York's 15-year history with welfare-to-work contractors. Many state and local governments have been contracting with private agencies to deliver public services in recent years, and some have tried to hold those agencies accountable for results through performance-based contracts. The report shows that using performance-based contracts is a challenging task for governments, one that requires extensive oversight and many adjustments over time to ensure contracts produce their intended effects. These conclusions are drawn from an in-depth account of the 15-year history of New York City’s use of performance-based contracts in helping welfare recipients find and keep jobs.
Swati Desai, Lisa Garabedian and Karl Snyder, June 25, 2012

At the Front Lines of the Welfare System: A Perspective on the Decline in Welfare Caseloads


This book examines the conversations between workers and their clients to understand the implementation of the 1996 welfare reform.
Irene Lurie, The Rockefeller Institute Press, 2006
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How States and Counties Have Responded to the Family Policy Goals of Welfare Reform

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This report describes how 18 states and 26 counties within those states responded to the family policy provisions of the 1996 welfare law. The report also offers explanations for why state and local efforts to move clients from welfare to work were greater than efforts to promote marriage and prevent nonmarital births; why abstinence-based efforts to achieve lower rates of teen pregnancy overshadowed state and local efforts to achieve the other family policy goals of PRWORA; and why states and localities responded in limited and diverse ways to the family formation goals of the 1996 welfare reform law.
Deborah Orth and Malcolm Goggin, December 2003

The Fiscal Effects of Welfare Reform: State Social Spending Before and After Welfare Reform

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This study addresses how state spending on social services has changed since the advent of welfare reform, using detailed survey data from 16 states and the District of Columbia for state fiscal year 1995, and for fiscal years 1999 and 2000.
Donald J. Boyd, Patricia L. Billen, and Richard P. Nathan, May 2003

State Policy Choices Under Welfare Reform

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The 1996 welfare reform law increased state flexibility over a range of policy choices, while imposing a new set of mandates and incentives to move in specific policy directions. States have used their discretion to adopt a number of policies designed to lower barriers to work.
Thomas Gais and R. Kent Weaver, The Brookings Institution, April 2002

Welfare Reform Findings in Brief

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This paper is an updated summary of findings and source materials from the Rockefeller Institute’s State Capacity Study on the implementation of welfare reforms.
Thomas L. Gais, March 2002

Welfare Reform and the Development of Comprehensive Human Service Systems

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An overview of field research in 30 locations in 11 states, examining the way welfare reform has influenced the development of comprehensive human service systems.
Mark Ragan with Richard P. Nathan, August 2002

Welfare Reform in Utah

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Utah is characterized by conservative politics, Mormonism, a strong belief in self-sufficiency, and a communitarian spirit rooted in the pioneer experience. Welfare reform has synthesized these different values into a program marked by a strong emphasis on work, self-sufficiency, and personal responsibility, goals that are strongly valued both by the welfare system and within Mormon culture.
Gary C. Bryner, August 2002

Welfare Reform in a Hard Place: The West Virginia Experience

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The unprecedented economic growth of the 1990s not only helped launch state and federal welfare reforms in the U.S., it gave those reforms a particular cast. But what happens when this model, born of prosperity, is applied to less prosperous times and locations? Although poverty and unemployment levels have declined in recent years, their rates in West Virginia remain among the highest in the country. It is useful to examine what welfare reform might look like in a less than sanguine economy, such as West Virginia, and is the topic of this report.
L. Christopher Plein, November 2001

Changing Welfare Offices

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Many welfare offices have adopted "work first" policies that require recipients to engage in job search or other work-related activities while they apply for cash assistance, and some offices have initiated policies that try to divert applicants from monthly cash assistance. However, fewer offices have created effective mechanisms for informing diverted applicants and recipients leaving welfare about the availability of food stamps, Medicaid, and other benefits.
Irene Lurie, The Brookings Institution, October 2001

Implementation of the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996

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This study seeks to learn how state and local policies are implemented at the ground level by directly observing face-to-face interactions between TANF applicants and recipients and frontline workers.
Thomas L. Gais, Richard P. Nathan, Irene Lurie, and Thomas Kaplan, in Rebecca Blank and Ron Haskins (eds.), The New World of Welfare, The Brookings Institution Press, September 2001.
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Status Report on the Occasion of the 5th Anniversary of the 1996 Personal Responsibility Welfare Reform Act

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August 21, 2001, was the fifth anniversary of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). This status report is both a substantive comment on an important theme for reauthorization of the 1996 act and an inventory of implementation studies underway at the Rockefeller Institute in the broad area of human service reforms.
Thomas Gais and Richard Nathan, August 2001

Is Devolution Working? Federal and State Roles in Welfare

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The editors of The Brookings Review posed the question, "Is Devolution Working for Welfare?" The answer, we believe, is: "It depends on the criteria by which reform is judged." The five perspectives discussed are merely suggestive of the different criteria, not definitive. Many people viewing the "new world of welfare" have different, and often shaded, views.
Richard P. Nathan and Thomas L. Gais, The Brookings Review, Summer 2001

Changes in State Spending on Social Services Since the Implementation of Welfare Reform: A Preliminary Report

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This paper examines how state spending on social services programs has changed between a pre-welfare reform year and a post-welfare reform year in four pilot-study states: California, Georgia, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
Deborah A. Ellwood and Donald J. Boyd, February 2000

Managing Welfare Reform in Five States: The Challenge of Devolution


The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 presented challenges to all states to alter their welfare programs and management systems. This book analyzes the responses of five states to those challenges. The book features similarities as well as differences in their implementation of welfare reform, within the context of their distinctive historical, political, cultural, economic, and demographic experiences.
Sarah Liebschutz (ed.), The Rockefeller Institute Press, 2000
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Learning from Leaders: Welfare Reform Politics and Policy in Five Midwestern States


Several Midwestern states have been leaders on welfare reform in the 1990s and have led the way for other states in implementing the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. This book provides detailed analyses of the political rationales and processes that preceded the federal direction to states to dramatically alter their welfare programs and administrative systems. It discusses implementation choices as well as difficulties and successes in carrying out those choices. The book also analyzes the role of political parties, interest groups, foundations, think tanks, and academics in setting agendas and formulating policy. The book features chapters describing and analyzing welfare reform, both their development and implementation in five states — Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Carol S. Weissert (ed.), The Rockefeller Institute Press, 2000
Read the First Chapter   [PDF] Read the Last Chapter   [PDF] Order from SUNY Press

Implementing the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996: A First Look

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Focusing on what happens to national policies after they are made, the authors discover that there are surprises in the implementation of the 1996 Personal Responsibility Act and its connections to other social agencies and programs.
Richard Nathan and Thomas Gais, The Rockefeller Institute Press, January 1999
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Implementing JOBS: Progress and Promise

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The Rockefeller Institute conducted a ten-state, three-year study of JOBS program implementation to assess how state and local governments responded to the new demands and opportunities introduced by the Family Support Act. The findings cover research conducted between 1990 and 1992.
Jan Hagan and Irene Lurie, 1994

After Welfare: A Study of Work and Benefit Use After Case Closing

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To better understand the impact of welfare reform in New York State, we have initiated an extensive plan of evaluation. This report examines what happens to families who leave welfare, by extracting, linking, and analyzing data from the information systems that are used to administer welfare and related programs. The study tracks a large sample of families after they left the State Family Assistance program and provides information on post-welfare employment and wages and on the extent of recidivism to the welfare caseload. In addition, preliminary data on the amount of other assistance (Food Stamps and Medicaid) used by families in the sample are examined.
July 1999

Arizona's Welfare Reform Experience

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This Rockefeller Report is about Arizona’s welfare reform experience. Lessons learned about evolving governance and state management capacity in Arizona’s welfare reform experience may prove useful as other states continue to develop their systems. The Arizona story, based on our first year of field research (1997-98) and recent data for the 1999 state fiscal year, provides a summary of welfare reform efforts formally initiated in 1995. In this report we examine early findings and pose questions and methodological issues for longer-term evaluations of state welfare reform experiments.
John Stuart Hall and Gerald J. Kubiak, November 1999

Evaluating Comprehensive State Welfare Reforms: The Wisconsin Works Program


Several Midwestern states have been leaders on welfare reform in the 1990s and have led the way for other states in implementing the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. This book provides detailed analyses of the political rationales and processes that preceded the federal direction to states to dramatically alter their welfare programs and administrative systems. It discusses implementation choices as well as difficulties and successes in carrying out in those choices. The book also analyzes the role of political parties, interest groups, foundations, think tanks, and academics in setting agendas and formulating policy. The book features chapters describing and analyzing welfare reform, both their development and implementation, in five states — Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Carol S. Weissert (ed.), The Rockefeller Institute Press, 2000
Read the Introduction   [PDF] Order from SUNY Press