Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report. 3.5.2 Welfare Reform Initiative

01/08/2001

With the passage of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, the Cabinet for Families and Children was concerned about the impact that the new time limits and work requirements would have on the Kentucky welfare population. Questions to be answered included: Would there be adequate resources to train people within the five year limit and would homelessness and poverty become endemic? Could the hard-core unemployable go to work and would clients keep jobs and become self-sufficient? The Cabinet contracted with the University of Louisville's Urban Studies Institute (USI) to conduct a longitudinal, outcome-based evaluation of the effects of Welfare Reform. The evaluation has two components. The first is to work with Cabinet Departments to develop a database to track the trends and impact of reform on individual clients, and enable the Cabinet to meet the research and evaluation mandates accompanying welfare reform. USI is also conducting a panel study of current and former clients to measure their quality of life for up to five years, with additional cohorts added each consecutive year. Recipients prior to welfare reform will also be included in the study. Administrative data files summarizing client activity in 1994, 1995, and 1996 will be included. The data from years prior to the establishment of TANF will be used as a source of baseline data.