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SPD99-9
Arthur F. Jones Jr., Barbara Downs, Stephanie Shipp

Introduction

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) is the most significant piece of welfare legislation since Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) established in 1935 as part of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. One of the main features of the new welfare reform law is the end of the federal government's 61-year old entitlement program, AFDC, which is replaced by a block grant program to states called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). (1) PRWORA also establishes time limits for benefits and requires states, not the federal government, to be responsible for managing and administering public assistance payments. In addition, it requires welfare recipients to participate in community service programs or skills enhancement activities while receiving benefits and allows states to provide additional services to help break the cycle of welfare dependency.

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