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The Failure of Welfare Reform In August of 1996 the Personal Responsibilty and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act was signed by our president According to the Washington Post since that time there are seven million fewer people on welfare The welfare roles have been cut in half This result seems promising but should it be used to evaluate welfare reforms success This question divides the issue among party lines Generally republicans view this outcome as a reliable way to measure reforms success In contrast democrats probe deeper into welfare considering additional data This includes knowing that one third of children in America are living in poverty This value has varied little since 1996 The question then rises what is it about this reform that is not getting our children out of poverty To answer this question a few facts must be considered Including how reform has changed welfare and the characteristics of a welfare recipient One change in welfare is an increase in states rights to create individual welfare programs In Texas aggressive welfare to work programs have been implemented The focus is to advance recipients out of the welfare system and into the workforce Additionally this transition is given a time limit The federal government gives one person over the span of their life five years of welfare benefits Exercising states rights leaders in Texas have reduced this time limit to one year This allows a recipient one-year to make the transition from welfare to work To most people this seems reasonable But the characteristics of welfare recipients need to be considered here According to the Texas Department of Human Services the average welfare recipient is a woman She has one or two children under age eleven She dropped out of school by the eighth or eleventh grade She has no job skills and is unemployed It is obvious that she needs to improve her education
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