This paper evaluates a burgeoning literature on the effects of the 1996 welfare reform bill. Our goal is to shift the debate from the current preoccupation with declining caseloads to one focused on the social and economic well-being of fragile families, single mothers, and children. The welfare reform literature reveals many positive changes: reduced poverty rates, lower out-of-wedlock childbearing, greater family stability, and little indication of more spouse abuse or child neglect. But it is too early to claim success and many questions remain unanswered. Poverty remains high among single mothers and their children; welfare recipients experience serious barriers to stable employment; and poor women and children face an uncertain economic and social future as welfare eligibility is exhausted and the economy wanes. With the welfare debate shifting to family and child well-being, sociology has an important policy role to play as the next phase of welfare reform begins after the 2002 reauthorization.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error