HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
EVALUATING THE EFFECTS OF WELFARE REFORM
WHEREAS, there has been much attention paid to the significant reduction in welfare caseloads over the last few years, but little is known about what has actually happened to the people who have come off welfare; and
WHEREAS, many of the data collection requirements in the regulations governing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) focus on information necessary to determine state penalties and collect data on current recipients and not on what happens to families who leave welfare, such as reasons for sanction or termination, the average wages of recipients placed in employment, benefits provided by employers, length of stay in a job, the number of families who return to cash assistance, use of food banks and homeless shelters by former recipients, or their subsequent involvement in the child protection system; and
WHEREAS, there is a need for evaluation standards and state reporting of data on the implementation and progress of welfare reform efforts in each state beyond those required in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act and the TANF regulations,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors believes that reductions in welfare caseloads should not necessarily be considered indicators of success; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors urges the federal government to require the states to track what happens to recipients who leave welfare for five years, collecting data on indicators such as the reason for sanction or termination, the average wages of those placed in employment, the benefits provided by employers, the length of stay in a job, the use of food banks and homeless shelters by former recipients and the number of families who return to cash assistance; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the states be required to identify the entity responsible for collecting and reporting that data and make that data public; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the federal government should conduct a national evaluation of the impact of welfare reform on both current and former recipients.
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