Propagating Welfare Exit by Enhancing the Individual and Contextual Factors
Dependency on welfare programs in the United States is an issue that attracts a lot of concern from different groups of people. Policies come up every now and then to regulate the number of people depending on such programs with the notion of alleviating poverty. However, the number of depended people continues to rise, especially single mothers regardless of the efforts by the government and agencies to cut the expenses. Drug use and alcoholism are some of the risk factors that lead to an increase in demand for welfare assistance. Compulsory drug tests for welfare recipients is one of the policies that have been formed to ensure that the money disbursed in the welfare programs does not end up facilitating illicit behaviors. A more applicable solution to the problem was the formation of the temporary assistance to the needy families (TANF) program with the aim of reducing dependency on public help (Lane, 2006). The program hopes to create an exit program for poor single mothers to enter the job market and reduce their dependency on the welfare assistance.
Many scholars have researched the topic of welfare for quite a while in the light of poverty alleviation and public assistance. One of the most recent papers published on this topic ‘welfare to work transition in the TANF era’ provides an ideal understanding of the situation at hand by analyzing the factors influencing the transition process. The United States battles with the process through which the people depended on welfare programs can create a life of their own and reduce the budgetary issues of funding the welfare programs by the government. Although most of the researches conducted on this topic focus on the evaluation of the welfare policies, this study took a different approach by analyzing the dynamics of welfare-to-work transition. Understanding such dynamics goes a long way in helping the government and the welfare facilitators to understand the issues that need attention in the implementation of the projects (Caputo, 2011). Most of the studies on this topic evaluate the welfare policies by focusing on the times after the 2001 economic shutdown. However, in this study, the author goes back to the 1996 welfare reforms to understand clearly the real issues that influence the transition process from welfare to work.
The author used administrative data from the Mississippi state to provide more literature on the topic of study. Further, the author used various theories in the fields of human capital, labor markets, controls, race, and neighborhood to establish the factors that affect the transition process for people in welfare programs. The impact of time on the transition process was also analyzed to determine the period that people should be allowed to depend entirely on the welfare programs without risking dependency. The author used both independent and depended variables to conduct the research. The dependent variable of the study included binary variables that focused on exists and no exists and nominal variables that focused on the estimation of the competing risks among worker exits, non-worker exits, and no exits (Xuhul, 2011). The independent variables were based on the five key factors that are speculated to have great influence on the transition process from welfare to work. The factors include controls, human capital, labor markets, race, and neighborhood. Each of these factors has a certain impact on the exit process of poor single mothers.
The theoretical framework of this article is based on two theories, including the human capital theory and the neighborhood effect theory. The theories represent the assumptions presented by both neoclassical economic theories and sociologists theories. While the neoclassical economic theories blame individuals for the dependence on the welfare programs, the sociological theories argue that the society is to blame for causing people to depend on the public assistance. The use of both theories in the conceptual framework enables he researcher to focus on both sides of the argument and produce superior results. The findings of the study prove that individual and contextual issues have a substantial effect on the level of transition from welfare to work (Xuhul, 2011). Additionally, the findings of the study did not confirm the hypothesis that time spend in the welfare increases the dependency level.
Personal Approach about the Topic
The research presented in the above-discussed article presents the possible risk factors to welfare to work transition. However, the research does not present the ways through which TANF can enhance these factors to ensure promote the exit program. The purpose of the TANF program is to facilitate the exit process, especially for poor single mothers. Many researches have been done on the implementation of the programs as well as the causal effects, but little, if any is done to determine how TANF and other welfare programs can use these factors to foster the exit programs for welfare depended people. The research conducted about the welfare-to-work transition proves that both individual and contextual issues play a big role in the transition process of welfare depended persons. Therefore, a different approach of the study could analyze how TANF and any other welfare program can improve the individual and contextual issues for the welfare recipients to promote their chances of exiting the program to the job market (Telleen & Sayad, 2012).
- How can the TANF program shape the society to prevent further welfare dependencies among single mothers?
- How can TANF enhance the human capital, labor market, racial discrimination, and neighborhood factors to promote an exit plan for poor single mothers?
Most poor single mothers fail to exit the program because they lack the necessary skills to depend on the job market. Therefore, a research on this topic would seek to answer the ‘how’ question in the process of alleviating poverty through the creation of independence plans for people depended on welfare support.
A research on how the TANF program can enhance transition plan will go a long way in solving many economic issues arising from welfare dependency. Poverty alleviation and public assistance are some of the issues that hinder the development of any nation. Therefore, it is vital for welfare programs such as TANF to focus on measures that can solve the issue of public dependence permanently and promote independent societies. Further, a research in this area will provide guidelines on how the welfare programs can prepare the societies to foster growth among individuals. Sociologist theories argue that societies are responsible for the dependency on welfare programs (Pickering, 2006). Therefore, finding possible solutions to societal development values will enhance the goals of TANF and other welfare programs of propagating an exit plan.
In conclusion, the TANF goal is aligned with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which makes it central point of concern for the American government. A research on how to foster the exit program by enhancing the individual and contextual issues will add to the literature on the poverty and public assistance topic greatly.
Xuhul, Z. (2011). Welfare-to-work transition in the TANF era: evidence from Mississippi. Oktibbeha: Mississippi state university.
Caputo, R. (2011). U.S. social welfare reform policy transitions from 1981 to the present. New York, NY: Springer Science Business Media, LLC.
Lane, M. (2006). Trends in poverty and welfare alleviation issues. New York: Nova Science Publishers.
Pickering, K. (2006). Welfare reform in persistent rural poverty: dreams, disenchantments, and diversity. University Park, Pa: Pennsylvania State University Press.
Telleen, S. & Sayad, J. (2012). The transition from welfare to work: processes, challenges, and outcomes. New York: Haworth Press.