The Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Enrollee Outcomes One Year After Program Entry. Introduction


Congress established the Welfare-to-Work (WtW) grants program under Public Law 105-33, the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997.(1) Its purpose was to provide additional resources to supplement the welfare reform funds included in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants to states, which were authorized under Public Law 104-193, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996.(2) The federal WtW funds were distributed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to state and local grantees in 1998 and 1999. Initially, grantees were expected to spend the funds within three years of their receipt, but amendments in 1999 (Public Law 106-113) extended the period to five years.(3)

When it established the WtW grants program, Congress also mandated that it be evaluated. Under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. (MPR), along with its subcontractors the Urban Institute and Support Services International, is conducting that evaluation to document implementation of programs funded by the grants in states and localities across the nation and to analyze outcomes for participants. This is the first in a series of reports on the analysis of participant outcomes. It describes the individuals who participated in grant-funded programs in terms of the following:

  • Characteristics at the time of enrollment in WtW
  • Services received following enrollment
  • Employment and receipt of welfare following enrollment
  • Well-being one year after enrollment

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