The main aim of this program was to provide help to all children whose mothers didn’t have work or lacked a breadwinner, not considering how they had gotten to that position. For the first three decades this program operated like a charity, with its caseworkers given discretion to investigate clients (Caraley, 2001). In the year 1996, the then president of USA, President Clinton signed a law “the personal responsibility and work opportunity reconciliation act (PRWOR)”. This act was to dramatically change the national welfare system into one that required people to work in exchange of time-limited assistance. This bill contained strong work requirement, a bonus to reward states for moving welfare recipients into jobs, comprehensive child support enforcement, and supporting the families moving from welfare to work. The work requirement under the new law required that recipients must work after at least two years of assistance, with only few exceptions. Twenty five percent of all families in each state should be engaged in work. Single parents were to participate for at least 20 hours in a week while two parents family must work for 35 hours in a week. Why federal policy underwent this reversal The main purpose of introduction of this program was to reduce the welfare dependency and out of wedlock births and also to encourage formation of two parent families. It ended the entitlement of welfare benefits and made other less publicized changes to the several existing social welfare programs, by both restricting the availability of benefits and strengthening the programs that aid children. Another reason for abolition of ADC and introduction of PRWOR was to emphasize on employment among the poor. This is because were not working hard because they knew that they will get aids from the states government. Basically the underlying principles of this welfare reform were (Caraley, 2001). Cumulative lifetime and employment time limits Reduction in teenage pregnancy Increased child support enforcement Creation of work programs and supportive services At first the number of people on this program was falling, the number dropped by half. In addition to this the poverty rates fell to the lowest ever recorded levels. But despite this it was clear whether welfare families were better off under this program. Despite the encouraging numbers, it was still not so clear whether really welfare families were better off on the PRWORA program. By the year 2002, many of the welfare recipients were working in low paying jobs with few or no benefits. They were also not receiving food stamps, medical coverage. The income gains were also reduced by the loss of public benefits; this only made many welfare families to remain below the poverty line. Almost a third of this people who left welfare from work, were back within a year. This because they were unable to obtain steady job or reliable child care (Blank & Ron, 2001). In the current recession PRWORA would have adverse consequences on the poor families. First this will increase the role of the state. To fund this welfare, the state will have to have fixed block grants. Secondly this will increase the role of local identities. PROWORA allowed states to devolve their authorities even further to counties, private entities, and local government. In the current recession the transfer of authority will raise questions on accountability making it difficult for the government to oversee programs so as to ensure quality (Blank & Ron, 2001). Another consequence that will come with the current recession is change in the role of welfare workers. Considering that the PROWORA dramatically
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