The major aim of welfare is to enhance the financial and economic well-being of the people who are in need. This is after the realization of the fact that the financial status of the individual dictates the quality of the person's life in the society. There are several activities that are undertaken by the state or the institutions to ensure that this goal is achieved. They include improving the employment chances of those people who are in need, giving them direct financial assistance among others. A well conceptualized welfare system should cater for all of the needs of the individual, as much as the financial or economic need is paramount. As such, it is common to find welfare systems that are aimed at enhancing the mental health of the individual.
In a society that is not welfare dependent, these needs are provided for by the family members of the person in need. They are only theoretically availed by the government. However, in a welfare state, due to dynamics in the family sector and the society in general, these roles are assumed by the government.
Welfare was adopted by the United States of America government-federal government-starting from the Greta Depression. Hitherto, these services did not exist. The state of New York was the first to adopt the system but with time, other states and subsequently the federal government followed suit.
Since its inception, various changes have been made on the system. These changes were dictated and necessitated by the dynamics and progression of the society. Some of these changes have had negative effects while others have had positive effects. A case in point is the act that was passed in the year 1996. This act effectively limited the time that beneficiaries of welfare could receive cash benefits. Some of the necessities that led to the adoption of this act were the rise in the number of people that were enrolled for the program. Some of the positive changes that were achieved by this act were the decline in the number of people that were reliant on welfare. A lot of the beneficiaries opted for employment. The act can be viewed as having psychological, sociological and other effects on the society.
Objectives of the Study
Throughout this study, the writer will be guided by one major objective. This is the analysis of the complex factors that are associated with welfare dependence. This is so that the writer can determine whether the Personal Responsibility and Work Re-Investment Act (herein referred to as PRWORA) of 1996 led to independence for welfare recipients. This is especially so for those welfare recipients who were enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (herein referred to as TANF) program, which was a resultant of PRWORA.
To achieve this major objective, the writer will be guided by several specific objectives. These are as listed below:
1. a background of the welfare system in America
2. changes that have been carried on the program
3. analysis of PRWORA
4. discussion of effects of PRWORA
Context of the Study
The BIS concentration for which this project was completed is human services. Human services encompass coursework in psychology, sociology and social work. Barriers faced by TANF recipients cross many boundaries; therefore; it is essential to have background in several disciplines. The following are the backgrounds for each of these fields as far as this study is concerned:
Psychology provides knowledge on individual processes including how poverty affects mental health (Schnitzer, 1996) and how behavior analysis might benefit welfare-dependent recipients (Malott, 1998). Learning various ways of understanding mental health highlights how various psychological factors influence our attitudes and