Moving Families from Welfare to Work

 

12/15/00

Clinton-Gore Accomplishments

Reforming Welfare by Promoting Work and Responsibility

 

On August 22, 1996, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, fulfilling his longtime commitment to Ďend welfare as we know it.í As the President said upon signing, "... this legislation provides an historic opportunity to end welfare as we know it and transform our broken welfare system by promoting the fundamental values of work, responsibility, and family."

 

TRANSFORMING THE BROKEN WELFARE SYSTEM

 

 

MOVING PEOPLE FROM WELFARE TO WORK:

Welfare Rolls Decline as More Recipients go to Work

 

HELPING FAMILIES MOVE FROM WELFARE TO WORK AND SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES

The Department of Labor also joined forces with the Department of Commerce to train welfare recipients as enumerators in the Year 2000 Census. In September 1999, Goodwill Industries received $20 million in Welfare-to-Work competitive grant funds to move up to 10,000 welfare recipients into jobs, while helping the 2000 Census get a more accurate count of individuals in high poverty areas around the country.

To help more long-term welfare recipients and low-income fathers go to work and support their families, the Administrationís FY 2001 budget proposed, and Congress approved, giving state, local, tribal, and community- and faith-based grantees an additional two years to spend Welfare-to-Work funds, ensuring that existing resources continue to help those most in need. This will give grantees an opportunity to fully implement the Welfare-to-Work initiative, as well as the program eligibility improvements enacted last year with the Administrationís support.

In 1999, the President proposed and Congress approved $283 million for 50,000 new welfare-to-work housing vouchers for welfare recipients who need housing assistance to get or keep a job. Nearly all of these vouchers were awarded on a competitive basis to 35 states and two tribes that created cooperative efforts among their housing, welfare and employment agencies. The FY 2000 budget provided $347 million for 60,000 new housing vouchers for hard-pressed working families.

The Administration also proposed allowing working families to use Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) to save for a car that will allow them to get or keep a job. Unfortunately, Congress failed to enact this change. However, the Department of Labor clarified that Welfare-to-Work block grant funds may be used for IDAs that will help working families purchase a car.

 

BREAKING THE CYCLE OF DEPENDENCY

Preventing Teen Pregnancy: Significant components of the Presidentís comprehensive effort to reduce teen pregnancy became law when the President signed the 1996 welfare reform law. The law requires unmarried minor parents to stay in school and live at home or in a supervised setting; encourages "second chance homes" to provide teen parents with the skills and support they need; and, provides $50 million a year in new funding for state abstinence education activities. Since 1993, the Administration has supported innovative and promising teen pregnancy prevention strategies, including working with boys and young men on pregnancy prevention. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a private nonprofit organization, was formed in response to the Presidentís 1995 State of the Union. In 1997, the President announced the National Strategy to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. HHSí third annual report on this Strategy reported that HHS-supported programs reach at least 35 percent or 1,677 communities in the United States. In April 1999, the Vice President announced new data showing that we continue to make real progress in encouraging more young people to delay parenthood and led a roundtable discussion highlighting promising local teen pregnancy prevention strategies. In August 2000, the President highlighted new data showing that teen birth rates have declined nationwide by 20 percent from 1991 to 1999, and are now at the lowest level on record since tracking began 60 years ago. These improvements are seen among younger and older teens, married and unmarried teens, all states and all ethnic and racial groups. In addition, teen pregnancy rates are at the lowest rate since we first began collecting these data in 1976. To build on this progress in breaking the cycle of dependency, the Administrationís FY 2001 budget proposed $25 million to support adult-supervised, supportive living arrangements, often called second chance homes, for unmarried teen parents and their children who cannot live with their parents other relatives.

SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES

 

The President and Vice President have made significant progress in expanding access to affordable health care for working Americans, resulting in the first increase in the number of insured Americans in 12 years. They strongly believe that there is still much work that can and should be done, such as the Clinton-Goreís Administrationís $110 billion initiative to expand coverage to at least 5 million uninsured Americans and expand access to millions more. Among others, it provides a new, affordable health insurance option for families called "FamilyCare," which builds on SCHIP to provide higher Federal matching payments to parents of children eligible for or enrolled in Medicaid or SCHIP; accelerates enrollment of uninsured children eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP; expands state options for people ages 19 and 20 and legal immigrants; and helps small businesses afford insurance.

 

 

 

 

PROMOTING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES

The Clinton-Gore Administration has been deeply committed to promoting employment opportunities and full participation for people with disabilities.

 

RESTORING FAIRNESS TO LEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Upon signing the welfare reform law, the President made a commitment to reversing unnecessary cuts in benefits to legal immigrants that had nothing to do with the lawís goal of moving people from welfare to work. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 and the Noncitizen Benefit Clarification and Other Technical Amendments Act of 1998 invested $11.5 billion to restore disability and health benefits to 380,000 legal immigrants who were in this country before welfare reform became law (August 22, 1996). The Agricultural Research Act of 1998 provided Food Stamps for 225,000 legal immigrant children, senior citizens, and people with disabilities who entered the United States by August 22, 1996. In the FY 2001 budget process, the Administration fought hard to restore important disability, health, and nutrition benefits to additional categories of legal immigrants, at a cost of $2.5 billion over five years, but Congress failed to take these important steps to restore fairness to legal immigrants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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