for Children and Families Office of Family Assistance
- The federal agency that administers the federal government's
primary welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy
for Children and Families: Welfare Reform - Welfare
reform page for the Administration for Children and Families,
the federal agency charged with implementing the federal
of Policy Issues: Welfare - Comprehensive background
information and links on the Temporary Assistance for
Needy Families (TANF) program and U.S. federal welfare
for Law and Social Policy (CLASP): Federal TANF Page
- Summaries and analysis of the Temporary Assistance for
Needy Families (TANF) program.
for Law and Social Policy (CLASP): State TANF Implementation
and Waivers Page - Summaries and analysis of state
welfare programs and waivers.
- Center on Budget and
Policy Priorities - Liberal/progressive organization
that tracks welfare and other low-income issues from a
- Coalition on Human
Needs: Welfare - Background information, legislative
analyses, status reports on pending bills, and links on
welfare issues from the Coalition on Human Needs, a coalition
of major U.S. anti-poverty organizations.
- Emergency Committee
to Defend Constitutional Welfare Rights - Establishes
basis in U.S. Constitution and obligatory international
law for right to decent relief for the involuntarily unemployed
and that "workfare" as practised is prohibited involuntary
servitude (forced labor).
- HandsNet - HandsNet
is an online community of (mostly liberal/progressive)
nonprofit organizations concerned with low-income issues.
The site includes articles and alerts from participating
organizations, many of which relate to welfare and workfare.
Foundation: Welfare - Research and related welfare
information from the Heritage Foundation, a well-known
conservative policy think tank.
- Idea Central:
Welfare and Families - Studies and reports on welfare
from a liberal perspective. Idea Central is part of the
Electronic Policy Network, a project of The American Prospect
Research: Research on Welfare and Work - Research
and analysis of welfare and work-related programs by Mathematica
Research, a respected for-profit research organization.
Welfare Reform - Evaluations of welfare reform by
the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC).
Covers the entire range of welfare studies, from the nation's
largest social experiments testing welfare-to-work strategies
to a wide range of implementation studies and technical
assistance to states and localities in adopting best practices.
Association of Counties: Welfare Reform Clearinghouse
- Publications and other information on welfare reform
from the National Association of Counties (NACO).
- Social Policy Action
Network (SPAN) - SPAN develops effective social policy
for low income children and their families. SPAN is a
project of the Tides Foundation.
Policy: Welfare, Society and the State - Social policy
is the study of the welfare state, and the range of responses
to social need. This is a brief introduction to the subject.
- UPM against
Poverty SA - Un(der)employed people's site in Australia
with info, links, newsletter and events, to give a voice
to groups on low income, social security recipients
- Urban Institute
- Policy think tank that tracks welfare, Social Security,
Medicare, and other domestic policy issues.
Information Network (WIN) - A clearinghouse for information,
policy analysis and technical assistance on welfare reform.
- Welfare Law Center
- Works with and on behalf of low-income people to ensure
that adequate income support -- public funding provided
on the basis of need -- is available whenever and to the
extent necessary to meet basic needs and foster healthy
human and family development.
- Welfare Law Center:
Low Income Networking and Communications (LINC) Project
- Where low-income organizers can come together to combat
the shredding of the social safety net and have their
- Welfare Made a
Difference Campaign - Seeks to reshape public perception
about and public policy relating to welfare by sharing
stories of people who have received welfare and struggled
out of poverty.
Rights Advocacy Pages - Addresses the failures of
the social service system and offers advice for struggling
Rights Organizing Coalition - Coalition of families
who currently receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Homepage - Dedicated to issues of importance to low-income
families. Welfare myth-busting, original features, and
resources for parents, kids, and job-seekers. Covers single-parent,
working class, public policy and feminist issues.
Welfare News on the Web
Gallery in Seattle, Washington is a wonderful project.
The gallery is a "cooperative established to provide and
promote an artistic and dignified working environment and
art gallery for persons in financial difficulty." Explore
some of their artist's work!
An E-Mail from one of our readers.
(Note: We have left this letter up for some time now because
our readers have found it very informative and it shows welfare
reform from another perspective. Many times as we make policy
decisions and discuss politics, we become too abstract and
forget the human side of our day-to-day decisions. We hope
this letter will remind everyone of the real issues at hand.)
Good, I got your attention! Let me begin by introducing myself.
My name is _________ ____________, I am a 38 year old, divorced
mother of two. I also happen to be a welfare recipient and
a college senior on the Dean's List at _________ University.
I am writing you because I want to show the other side of
welfare, I want others to know that all women on welfare are
not lazy, unmotivated and uneducated. For every negative human
interest story that is published in the _________________,
there are at least 5 people like me, striving to make a difference,
to change her life, to survive and reach back to help another.
If someone had told me 2 years ago that I would be back in
college I would have slapped him/her. I was in an abusive
marriage, my ex-husband tried on numerous occasions to kill
me. I was in and out of hospital emergency rooms with sprains
and bruises and dislocations and knocked-out teeth. I was
on Prozac and on the verge of losing my job as well as my
mind. I left my husband and that life behind. I left with
my 4 year old daughter and the clothes on our backs.
I moved to ________, living with a relative I made an attempt
to start over. It is not easy to live in this area of the
country making less than $25,000 per year, try doing it on
$12,000, raising two children!! It is virtually impossible
without some type of assistance. But wait, I'm not uneducated
or unskilled. I had completed 2 years of college before I
dropped out in 1980 to give birth to my son, I was employed
as a federal employee, all was good until I met my husband,
then things began to go sour in my life. Next, the President
decides to down-size government and I go from working full-time
to part-time. It is not easy supporting 4 people but I did,
I worked three jobs, one full-time during the day, one part-
time at night and 16 hours on the weekend. You see I'm not
lazy, I believe in the "American Dream" I want to succeed.
But life throws some funny twists and turns and at the age
of 35 I found myself, homeless, battered and on welfare.
Receiving welfare does not make your life better, not even
bearable, it just makes your life belong to someone else.
That someone who is your worker, who sometimes makes you jump
through hoops just to get an extra $25 per month in food stamps!
No I don't drink or smoke or do crack or sell drugs. I buy
and eat food with my food stamps. I clip coupons and the Safeway
coupon book is a lifesaver; I saved the government $35 this
Nor do I live, dress, or entertain like a queen while living
month-to-month. I receive $294 each month. This does not go
very far but I must buy clothes for my daughter, school supplies,
shoes, transportation (metro bus), as well as pay my share
of the monthly expenses. My share is $200 per month divided
between telephone, electricity and rent. I share an apartment
with a friend who took me in when I was homeless. He is disabled,
until he collapsed on the kitchen floor 10 months ago, he
worked 2 full-time jobs 5 days a week. Not all welfare moms
associate with lazy, no-good, drug using men. He works hard,
we are facing eviction in a matter of days. Sometimes we can't
meet the bills because he makes $625 bi-weekly; the state
of ________ takes $327 bi-weekly. Sound excessive? It is,
the child support is doubled due to a clerical error made
by ___ over a year ago, they are "working on getting it corrected"
Will he get a refund of the excess moneys paid? _______ Child
Support _______ says NO! without explanation, Sound like a
case for a lawyer? Of course, but who can hire a lawyer with
a monthly income of less than $600 per month?! Contact legal
aid? Been there, done that! They refused to take the case,
told him to "grin and bear it, you've put up with it this
So, in the past two years I have endured homelessness, a wicked
divorce, separation from my son, oh, did I forget to mention
I have a 16 year old son? I had to send him to live with my
mom and dad, I can't afford to feed him. No, I don't get child
support, its been court-ordered but... you know the story.
Anyway, like the phoenix, I rise. I enrolled in ________ University
last August. Scared as hell, but I knew I had to do something
to insure that my life would not continue the downward spiral.
I was accepted, but could I compete and achieve some measure
of success? Yes! Fall 96 - GPA 3.22; Spring 97 - GPA 3.7,
Summer 97 - GPA 3.65; all done while working part-time, praying
full-time and doing the Mommy Thing in between. I've been
awarded scholarships as well as an offer to study overseas
under the auspices of the prestigious ________. I am preparing
to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) in October and will
graduate magna cum laude in May 1998. Not bad for a welfare
I guess what I'm really trying to say is, its damn depressing
to open the Post everyday and see who killed whom, who stole
what, which store was robbed and why the government had to
implement welfare reform to get these lazy-azz women to work.
Welfare reform did not get me into school, it has not given
me confidence or mental strength and fortitude to be a survivor.
I am not one more in a long family history of welfare recipients.
I come from a family of doctors and politicians, teachers
and artists, federal workers and entrepreneurs. Sometimes
as the saying goes: Stuff Happens!
I am here to speak for the hundreds of women who didn't ask
to be on welfare but have to. I speak for the children of
these mothers; these children don't want to be given this
legacy to live. For every negative story printed, there is
at least one positive one that goes unreported. Perhaps the
positive stories would better serve the interest of true welfare