Women's views of welfare reform: A multistate analysis
Smith, Sonia Margaret
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Multistate, secondary analysis research regarding experiences of welfare mothers---the main targets of the 1996 welfare reform legislation (TANF)---of factors that have aided or hindered their efforts to comply with the mandate and leave welfare for work, as seen from their perspective. Wide latitude of states' autonomy in implementing TANF, as a result of Federal devolution is a further extension that defines the study.;Data were collected from three sources (a) secondary analysis of qualitative stories/interviews with 197 current and former welfare mothers in 19 states and the District of Columbia about their experiences following the implementation of TANF as reported in The Faces of Change: Personal Experiences of Welfare Reform in America (Lengyel, T.E. and Campbell, D., 2001); (b) State Welfare Reform Measure---a scale developed by the Center on Hunger and Poverty and Tufts University, 1998 to measure whether states' policy choices under TANF improved or worsened economic security of poor families; and (c) Measure of states' TANF per capita expenditure (a scale developed by this writer).;All hypotheses relating to states' TANF per capita expenditure were not supported by relevant testing measures employed. Among hypotheses relating to receipt of and satisfaction with services received---finely calibrated analyses (independent group t-tests, one-way ANOVA, cross tabs, Pearson r correlation, and the Tukey Honestly Significant Difference test) found key relationships indicating that as welfare mothers received more work support services they were more likely to be employed, earn more money, and be more optimistic about their future; job training and job referrals were related to being employed and higher earnings; and women with higher levels of education were more likely to be employed and earn more money. Both the existing measures (State Welfare Reform Measure and State TANF Per Capita Expenditure) were not sufficiently sensitive to detect the relationship between the amount of money the state expended, services received, and level of satisfaction with services derived.;The findings suggested the importance of the six essential work support services---child care, education, transportation, job training, job referral, and health coverage for the welfare mothers to successfully comply with the TANF mandates.