The Welfare-to-Work Grants Program: Enrollee Outcomes One Year After Program Entry. Were Enrollees Dependent on TANF?


The WtW grants program was designed to help adults who are at risk of long-term dependency on public assistance, and in most sites almost all WtW enrollees had received TANF at some point in their lives. In fact, in all of the study sites except Milwaukee  where the WtW program targeted noncustodial parents  87 percent or more of WtW enrollees had received TANF at some point in their lives (Exhibit II.3). In contrast, only 14 percent of Milwaukee's enrollees had received TANF by the time they entered WtW.(16)

While sites were very similar in terms of the predominance of WtW enrollees who had received TANF at some point in their lives, they exhibited more variation in the prevalence of WtW enrollees receiving TANF at the time of program entry. In sites like Chicago, Ft. Worth, and Philadelphia, over 90 percent of all WtW enrollees received TANF at the time of enrollment. But in Baltimore County  one of the two JHU sites focused on providing post-employment services  current TANF recipients accounted for only 24 percent of WtW enrollees. An even more dramatic contrast, though certainly not surprising, is Milwaukee, where current TANF recipients accounted for 1 percent of WtW enrollees.

While a history of welfare receipt was very common among WtW enrollees, long-term welfare receipt was less so. In most of the study sites, only about one-third of WtW enrollees who reported ever receiving TANF had received it for five years or more (Exhibit II.4).(17) Enrollees in Baltimore County and in Nashville had higher rates of long-term welfare receipt, while hardly any of the predominantly male enrollees in Milwaukee had received assistance for as long as five years. In most sites, more than half of WtW enrollees had been on assistance during their lifetime for more than a year.

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