Performance Improvement 2010. Encourage Work and Escape from Welfare


The Department studied what States were doing to divert prospective welfare recipients from becoming program participants in a new work-oriented framework providing assistance to low-income families.  States were given a block grant and considerable flexibility to create new support systems for families that encouraged work and discouraged long-term reliance on government-provided cash assistance.  States began implementing diversion programs to keep families whose needs could be met through other means from coming on to the welfare rolls.  The study found that states focused on diverting from TANF applicants who need minimal assistance to be able to support them-selves through employment and applicants who need greater assistance in order to meet TANF work participation requirements and be prepared for work.  Diversion strategies have the potential to significantly alter the composition of the TANF caseload. (9156)

A study by MDRC of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) evaluated diverse strategies designed to improve employment and other outcomes for several hard-to-employ populations.  CEO places participants in paid transitional jobs and once they show good performance in the transitional job, helps them find permanent jobs.  The program also provides additional supports after placement.  The study found that the program operated smoothly during the study period, and most program group members received the core services; CEO generated a large but short-lived increase in employment; the increase was driven by transitional jobs; and reduced recidivism during the first and the second year of the study period.  (9173

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