A Profile of Families Cycling on and off Welfare. Florida's Family Transition Program (FTP)

04/01/2004

The Florida's Family Transition Program imposed a 24-month time limit in any 60-month time period for most recipients and a 36-month time limit in any 72-month period for the least job-ready. The program offered financial incentives as well as enhanced services designed to help recipients find jobs. FTP operated as a pilot program in Escambia County (which includes the City of Pensicola) from 1994 to 1999. Many of FTP's features were then incorporated into Florida's statewide TANF program. There were important differences, however, between the two programs. For example, FTP did not have full-family sanctions, whereas Florida's statewide TANF program did. The FTP evaluation tested the program's effects among single-parent applicants for welfare and ongoing recipients. FTP increased program group members' employment and earnings and reduced their welfare receipt, compared with the control group. The majority of those in the program group left welfare before reaching their time limit. Most of the recipients who did reach a time limit were not given extensions: about 40 percent had adequate earnings levels that did not warrant an extension, while most of the rest were deemed non-compliant. The group that reached a time limit and had benefits cancelled was somewhat more disadvantaged than other leavers, but they did not, on average, experience more hardship, partly because they relied more on other sources of support. See Bloom et al. (2000) for the final report on the program's effects.

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