The Leaflet: Coming Soon: The Heartland Institute’s Updated Welfare Reform Report Card

Published September 19, 2014

Coming Soon: The Heartland Institute’s Updated Welfare Reform Report Card

On Tuesday, September 23 The Wall Street Journal published a column titled “A Republican War on Poverty” by Heartland Senior Fellow Gary MacDougal, author of Make a Difference: A Spectacular Breakthrough in the Fight Against Poverty. In his column, MacDougal provides a framework that could be the basis for bipartisan reform.  

In 2008, in partnership with MacDougal, The Heartland Institute published Welfare Reform after Ten Years, an in-depth study that assigned grades to the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on how they implemented the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA).

PRWORA gave states unprecedented flexibility in implementing welfare reform. The six states with the most successful anti-poverty programs in 2008 were California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, and Virginia. The five with the least success were Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The Heartland Institute and MacDougal are currently in the process of updating this Report Card. The Report Card will measure states based on many policies MacDougal calls for in his recent column. They include: work requirements for welfare recipients, sanctions, lifetime limits, and additional services like Food Stamps, mental health, and alcohol and substance abuse treatment programs, all of which are important parts of reforming state human services departments.

Reforming the fragmented welfare system is vital to helping reconstruct ladders of opportunity in order for more Americans to achieve a prosperous future.It is our goal that this Report Card will provide policymakers ­— Republicans and Democrats — with a roadmap toward successful anti-poverty efforts.

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