Campus: CSU, Stanislaus -- May 30, 2000


University's Center for Public Policy Studies Undertakes Regional Study of Welfare Reform

The California State University, Stanislaus Center for Public Policy Studies has launched an extensive research project on the impact of welfare reform in Central California.

The CSU Stanislaus Center's project will focus on developing strategies to more fully understand the impact of welfare reform in the northern San Joaquin Valley and central Sierra Nevada mountain counties.

"The essential task of the study is to better understand why some welfare recipients obtain and retain jobs and others do not," Hughes said.

Another goal of the study is to explore the relationship between employment in entry-level jobs and family well-being. To assess these topics will require an analysis of the behavior, attitudes, values and experiences of former and current welfare recipients as well as the non-welfare working population. This will be based on the tracking of recipients and the use of surveys, interviews and focus groups.

In 1996, Congress fundamentally altered the system of public assistance in the United States with passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. Since the Act became law, welfare caseloads have declined dramatically throughout the nation and throughout the northern San Joaquin Valley and central Sierra Nevada mountain counties. From 1996 to 1999, welfare caseloads in the Central California region have dropped by 31 percent.

"While caseload reductions are impressive, they do not tell us very much about how people are faring once they leave welfare," Hughes said. "Nor do they tell us much about the impact of welfare reform on family well-being. It is the goal of the Center for Public Policy Studies to work with human service agencies to better understand what needs to be done to enhance service delivery and strengthen families."



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