On the 5th Anniversary of Welfare Reform, Poverty Rates Remain Unchanged Grassroots groups organizing to challenge congressional reauthorization
Interview by Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus
It's been five years since Congress passed controversial welfare reform legislation. The program that former President Clinton promised would "end welfare as we know it" has removed tens of thousands of welfare recipients from the rolls, but failed to address the problem of poverty. There are wide variations in state welfare requirements, time limits and available support services, but all states must abide by strict federal regulations limiting welfare benefits to a lifetime cap of five years.
Many media reports celebrate welfare reform as a major success, but often limit their examination solely to the decrease in numbers of welfare recipients, ignoring the dire conditions of poverty in which many former recipients are now forced to live. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, as welfare reform is formally known, will be subject to Congressional reauthorization next year.
Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Ann Withorn, professor of social policy at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and author of "For Crying Out Loud: Women's Poverty in the U.S." She talks about the down side of welfare reform, what poor families are doing to survive, and humane welfare policy alternatives(A RealAudio Version of this interview may be found At http://www.btlonline.org) .
"For Crying Out Loud: Women's Poverty in the U.S., is published by South End Press.
For more information, visit the Women's Committee of One Hundred Web site: www.welfare2002.org
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