The Role of Welfare in New Parents' Lives

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Welfare caseloads have declined substantially since the landmark PRWORA legislation of 1996, which was designed to shift the burden of supporting needy families from government to families themselves. These caseload declines have been well documented, and characteristics of recipients following the implementation of PRWORA can be gleaned from administrative and agency records. Less readily available is documentation of recent rates of welfare dependency for specific population subgroups. Mothers giving birth in the aftermath of the 1996 legislation are of particular interest since they are more likely than other potential recipients to meet work requirements and hit time limits before their children are in school.
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