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Welfare Reform Welfare reform has been needed for years The old entitlement programs have kept welfare recipients on welfare for generation after generation The families were kept in poverty with little hope of ever getting out of the system Under the entitlement programs families were penalized for trying to work It held them into the system because they knew they would lose all benefits if they started a job The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 and the temporary Assistance for Needy Families TANF program it created made moving people from welfare to work a primary goal of the federal welfare policy The worker I interviewed thought the program was a great improvement over the old AFDC program She thought the old program made the families dependent on the system It made them feel so secure that no one wanted to try to leave the system It led to generation after generation of the same families remaining on the welfare rolls Limiting benefit time and giving the families continued benefits after finding employment is one of the key ingredients to helping the client become self-sufficient The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 gave the individual states the opportunity to set up their own programs as long as they followed the federal guidelines The old AFDC program was an entitlement program which did little to promote and much to discourage self-sufficiency By eliminating case entitlement but dedicating the same dollars to moving recipients off the rolls into jobs our national welfare policy is centered on helping families build the means to take control of their lives Federal grants are conditioned upon states moving recipients into work and reducing dependency The state of West Virginia received over 8 million dollars in 2001 for reducing their caseloads and moving clients into employment The worker I interviewed has reduced the caseload in Calhoun County by over 50 since the start of
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