Privatization of Welfare Services: A Review of the Literature. For-Profit Organizations


Two large, for-profit corporations dominate the market for providing welfare and related services:

  • MAXIMUS . In business since 1975, MAXIMUS provides program management, information technology, and consulting services to government agencies. Its Government Operations Group administers and manages government health and human services programs, including welfare-to-work programs, job readiness, child support enforcement, managed care enrollment, children's health insurance, and disability services programs. It was the first for-profit organization to receive a contract to provide welfare services when it was awarded a contract by Los Angeles County, California in 1988. It was awarded contracts to administer the W-2 program in District 6 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to administer the Arizona Works pilot demonstration in Maricopa County, Arizona, as well as to provide case management or employment services in several localities including California, New York, and the District of Columbia (Sanger forthcoming). It currently holds 15 TANF contracts worth a possible $56 million (Sanger forthcoming).
  • Affiliated Computer Services, Inc., (ACS). In July 2001, ACS, a for-profit information technology provider, agreed to purchase Lockheed Martin IMS Corp. Lockheed Martin had contracted with state and local governments to provide TANF services, child support collection, electronic benefit transfers, as well as electronic toll collection, and the processing and collection of parking tickets. Its first employment-services contract, with Dallas, Texas, was awarded in 1996 (Sanger forthcoming). ACS now administers the entire TANF program in Palm Beach County, Florida. It also administers Florida's welfare reform program, Work and Gain Economic Self-Sufficiency (WAGES) program in 13 regions and employment services in 12 workforce board regions in Texas. It currently holds 26 TANF contracts worth a possible $108 million (Sanger forthcoming).

Other for-profit corporations that provide TANF services include:

  • Curtis and Associates. Established in 1985, Curtis and Associates provides employment services, including self-sufficiency and job training and welfare-to-work programs, as well as intensive case management. The firm received its first employment services contract with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services in 1985. Curtis has also undergone recent ownership changes. In July 2000, it merged with Benova, Inc., a subsidiary of AFSA Data Corporation, a financial services company.
  • Policy Studies Inc. Established in 1984, it provides consulting on child support enforcement. In 1991, it began the direct administration of child support programs. It currently directs 43 child support programs in 16 states.
  • America Works. Formerly a nonprofit organization, it became a for-profit in 1984. America Works provides employment services for welfare recipients in locations in New York, Maryland, Florida, and Indiana. It also provides intensive case management.
  • Association for Research and Behavior (ARBOR) Inc. A Philadelphia-based firm, ARBOR has contracts serving disadvantaged clients (not all TANF) in 30 locations, including a large contract in New York City.

In addition, DynCorp, Anderson Consulting (now known as Accenture), and Electronic Data Systems (EDS) also provide some human services, such as child support enforcement, child welfare activities, and management information systems, but as yet do not provide case management or employment services. Smaller for-profit companies also have contracts. For example, The Training Institute has provided job placement services in Marion County, Indiana.

View full report


"report.pdf" (pdf, 586.19Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®