Status of Research on the Outcomes of Welfare Reform, 2000. Follow-up on the Wisconsin Project for Tracking Former Welfare Recipients (1999)


Current status: In fiscal year 1997, ASPE funded the University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty to conduct an administrative data study of the outcomes of families who left AFDC in Wisconsin during 1995. The reports produced during the first study provided useful early results for the Department on the economic and employment outcomes of women who left AFDC prior to both the enactment of TANF and the implementation of Wisconsin Works (also known as W-2, Wisconsin's replacement for AFDC). In this follow-up study, the Institute is tracking the outcomes for women in the first study further and the outcomes of a second group of women who left AFDC closer to the time of the implementation of Wisconsin Works (fourth quarter, 1997). As in the original project, the continuation analysis uses linked administrative data from the state including: (1) AFDC data, food stamp data, and Medicaid data from the Client Assistance for Re-Employment and Economic Support administrative database (CARES), and (2) earnings and employment data from the Unemployment Insurance records database (UI). Interim results focused on economic well-being, indicating that over 80 percent of women in both cohorts had at least some earnings during the first quarter after leaving welfare; women in the second cohort, however, were somewhat less likely to be employed in all four quarters after exit compared to women in the earlier cohort. (Information from the interim report is summarized in the Results/Findings section.) The Final Report will include longer-term outcomes for women who left welfare in 1995, and will examine receipt of food stamps and Medicaid upon leaving the welfare system for both cohorts. By documenting the employment and program outcomes of former recipients who were exposed to the comprehensive welfare reform programs in Wisconsin, this follow-up project will offer a useful analysis of the well-being of individuals who left welfare during a time of immense policy change.

Estimated Completion Date: Fall 2000 (Final Report)