fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

Welfare Paper Trail

Know your welfare history. This page looks back on quality reporting on the issues of welfare and how it evolved into the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, TANF, policies of today.


fronta-1.jpgIn 1998, just two years after a major change to the decades-old cash public assistance program known as welfare, the Washington Post ran an article on the changing face of welfare.

The article detailed the new program, provided examples, and perhaps most importantly the politics of welfare.

Click above to check out this throwback article to get a better understanding on how public assistance has evolved.

Below, I’ve taken a snippet of the article breaking down the rules of the post-reform welfare, based on hard work, rather than what some critics said where hand outs.

  • The welfare “reform” of the Clinton era consists of two major elements: a revolutionary change in the basic goals set by the federal government; and a dramatic “devolution” of responsibility – turning what used to be a federal, centralized system over to the states.

Reflecting the new federal mission, welfare rules now:

  • Require most recipients to work within two years of receiving assistance,
  • Limit most assistance to five years total, and
  • Let states establish “family caps” to deny additional benefits to mothers for children born while the mothers are already on public assistance.


In 2006, fellow blogger Maureen Lane penned An Illustrated Guide to New Welfare Rules

an online entry focusing on a set of alternative welfare rules to counter the new federal welfare rules as of that year. Among her ideas, she suggests that low-income women given a chance at higher education loan breaks would fare better than those in low-wage jobs.

And a political cartoon expressing Lane’s unique view on welfare issues is well-worth the page click.


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