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2012 » Papers 

Welfare Identity: Separating the Public from the Private
Posted on Sunday, January 01, 2012

Michelle Johnson, Debbie Lechuga

In 1995, Jane Goodwin wrote ?U.S. welfare policy has yet to adequately address a mother‘s two work roles - care-giving and wage-earner? (p. 254). The first welfare programs began in the early 1900s and the first statewide Mothers‘ Aid Law passed in 1911. In 1935, the federal government launched a program called Aid to Dependent Children, which later be changed to Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) (Cheng, 2007). Cheng (2007) noted this program was created to address the issue of poverty in the USA by assisting impoverished mothers to financially care for their children. As the welfare system evolved in the 1960s, it included more programs such as educational services, job training and job search assistance to aid single mothers in gaining employment (Cheng, 2007, p. 212). However, the welfare system would undergo a major overhaul in the mid-1990s. In August of 1996, President Clinton proclaimed by signing the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PWROA) there would be an end to welfare as we know it (Deavers & Hattiangadi, 1998). By signing the act, almost 60 years of entitlement came to an end. Welfare recipients soon found themselves faced with having to conform to more strict policies and requiring them to participate in job search activities. Under the provisions of the newly signed Act, states were given more discretion and authority over determining welfare policies with the federal government still overseeing and intervening as needed (Lee, 2009).

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