Performance Improvement 2003. The Evaluation of Welfare Reform in Iowa: Final Impact Report


Iowa’s welfare reform program provides a comprehensive package of incentives and services to encourage clients to adopt behaviors that will help their achievement of self-sufficiency. Iowa’s program also imposes strong consequences on individuals who fail to adopt these behaviors. While self-sufficiency is the ultimate goal of welfare reform, state policy makers established three more immediate goals: (1) Making work pay: the former AFDC program imposed a high “tax” on earnings, thereby discouraging welfare recipients from working. (2) Responsibility with Consequences: the program was designed to shift responsibility for the well being of low-income families with dependent children from the state to the parents in those families. (3) Family stability: the designers of the program regarded stable two-parent families as a key to achieving family self-sufficiency and building strong communities. The study found that Iowa’s welfare reform program: (1) raised participation in the PROMISE JOBS program, which provides employment-related services to program participants, (2) in the short run, increased the employment and earnings of ongoing cases and early applicants, and (3) raised program participation in the short run.

FEDERAL CONTACT: Girley Wright, 202-401-5070 PIC ID: 7898

PERFORMER: Iowa Department of Human Services, Des Moines, IA

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