Monitoring Outcomes for Los Angeles County's Pre- and Post-CalWORKs Leavers: How Are They Faring?

01/01/2003

There has long been a dynamic ebb and flow to welfare caseloads as families enter and leave assistance programs each month. But the dramatic declines in welfare receipt since the passage of the 1996 federal welfare reform law have given rise to a new need to understand whether people who leave welfare are able to find and keep jobs and whether they earn enough to lift their families out of poverty. This report focuses on the post-welfare experiences of two groups of welfare leavers in California before and after the institution of the CalWORKs program created in response to federal welfare reform. Comparing a group of single-parent welfare recipients who left the welfare rolls in the autumn of 1996 and did not reopen their cases within two consecutive months with a similar group who exited welfare in the autumn of 1998, the study investigates the background characteristics of both groups, their employment and earnings experiences, and their material well-being. It also examines for each group the type of public and other supports they relied on after leaving welfare and the extent to which they returned to the welfare rolls.

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