Welfare to Work: The Job Opportunities of AFDC Recipients

Robin Dennis, Jill Braunstein, Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., Roberta Spalter-Roth

March 1, 1995
  • ID: D423

In a frenzy to move welfare recipients off the roles through budget cuts, block grants, time limits, cries to “end welfare as we know it,” and attempts to exclude children and young mothers from coverage, little attention has been paid to what works to help current AFDC recipients find work and earn wages that will help them escape poverty. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) has conducted research and analysis on the current survival strategies of AFDC recipients. IWPR’s most recent phase of this study, welfare That Works: The Working Lives of AFDC Recipients, examines the factors that increase the likelihood that single mothers receiving AFDC engage in paid employment, the kinds of jobs they obtain, and the factors that improve their prospects for obtaining better jobs (and higher incomes). IWPR’s research suggests that if employment opportunities are not reformed along with welfare, efforts to reduce the rolls will likely result in increased poverty for many single mothers and their children and increased frustration for tax payers who will see yet another “reform” to go awry.