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Welfare Reform Research Paper

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Welfare Reform Research Paper
POS 110
September 2013
Welfare: In Serious Need Of Reform
Welfare assistance programs have been in place in America for over 75 years. Following The Great Depression, President Roosevelt created the Social Security Act in 1935 in order to meet the needs of the elderly and unemployed. The Act also provided funding to states for programs such as the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program in order to help children who were living in poverty (Streissguth 7-12). Welfare started out quite successfully, but for the past 17 years it has been a topic of controversy in D.C., and has been the focus of many debates. Although there had been some amendments to the Social Security Act prior to 1996, there were no major changes in the
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What the studies do not reflect are the effects that the welfare system may have on families and children. Some people feel that the work requirements placed on single parents could have harmful effects on their children, particularly on adolescents. As single parents join the work force, many teens are left without parental supervision, and many of them have to assume parental responsibilities for their younger siblings. It is feared that the increased lack of supervision, and added stress of parental duties, can lead to poor scholastic performance and an increase of juvenile delinquency. Another concern is that although the number of single mothers receiving welfare has dramatically reduced since the welfare reform act of 1996, the poverty rates among children of single mothers remains very high (Dunifon 2). This may be caused by single mothers leaving the welfare system in order to work at low-paying jobs. Unfortunately, there have been few studies done to accurately evaluate the effects that PRWORA has had on families and children living in …show more content…
According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, the federal government spent a staggering $746 billion on a combination of 80 welfare programs in 2011; that’s a 32 percent increase from when the president took office three years prior ("Spending for Federal" 1-3). There is no question among those in Congress that the current welfare policies are in need of major restructuring; however, there has been much controversy over the type of reform needed. President Obama announced a new welfare policy in July of 2012 which has once again caused disputes in Congress. According to Factcheck.org, President Obama’s new policy allows states the option to seek a federal waiver from the PRWORA work requirements. The policy was created to give states the flexibility they requested in their roles of helping citizens get back to work. Many republicans have been outspoken opponents of the plan; Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign ads claimed that the president’s new policy would “gut welfare reform by dropping work requirements” (qtd. in Kiely, and Moss). Despite Romney’s harsh accusations, the plan provides states with the option to change the work requirements, not eliminate them. Even with the ability to seek a federal waiver, no state has yet attempted to obtain one (Kiely, and Moss). The work requirements that were appropriate in 1996 may not be as

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