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Research Update

Welfare Policy Evaluations and Impact Studies

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute works with local governments and schools in Milwaukee County to assess the impact of state and federal welfare policies on families receiving AFDC/W-2. Policy papers discuss critical issues for integrating Milwaukee County welfare populations into the labor force and profile the employment needs of working families with incomes below poverty and the welfare population expected to work in this urban county.

Socio-Economic Analysis of Issues Facing Children and Families in Milwaukee (2009)
Includes data on changes in employment, income, property values, subprime mortgages, prison rates, subsidized child care, and families in poverty since the end of AFDC in Milwaukee's poorest neighborhood.

Child Care Selected by Families in the Wisconsin Shares Child Care Subsidy Program (November 2006)

Addressing Barriers to Employment: Increasing Child Care Rates and the Rate Setting Process Under the Wisconsin Shares Program (April 2002)

Addressing Barriers to Employment: Findings from the National Survey of America's Families for Milwaukee County Families with Preschool Children, 1997 and 1999 (May 2002)

Barriers to Employment: NSAF Findings on Preschool Children, Mothers' Employment Status and Child Care Choices (May 2002)

Indicators of the Employment and Economic Well-Being of Families in Central City Milwaukee Neighborhoods (1993-2006)

Tracking the Progress of Welfare Reform Quickly: A Model for Measuring Neighborhood Health and Change, a Brookings discussion paper. (October 2001)

Economic Status of Milwaukee County Children in the Year 2000 (May 2001)

Economic Status of Milwaukee County Children in 1999 (May 2000)

Analysis of Food Stamp and Medical Assistance Caseload Reductions in Milwaukee County: 1995-1999 (January 2000)

Impact of Welfare Reform on Child Care Subsidies in Milwaukee County: 1996-1999 (October 1999)

State of Milwaukee's Children in 1998: Family Income/Economic Support (May 1999)

Graphs of AFDC and "W-2" Caseloads and Unemployment Rates in 72 Wisconsin Counties: 1986-1998 (1999)

Removing Transportation Barriers to Employment: Assessing Driver's License and Vehicle Ownership Patterns of Low- Income Populations (July 1998)

Removing Barriers to Employment: The Child Care-Jobs Equation (May 1998)

Employment and Earnings of Milwaukee County Single Parent AFDC Families: Establishing Benchmarks for Measuring Employment Outcomes Under "W-2" (December 1997)

The Employer Perspective: Jobs Held by the Milwaukee County AFDC Single Parent Population (December 1997)

Project Get Started: Phase II Report - A collaborative study with Milwaukee Area Technical College of the employment readiness and child care needs of 1,551 mothers with children under age one receiving AFDC (September 1997)

Initial Findings on Mobility and Employment of Public Assistance Recipients in Milwaukee County and Factors Relating to Changes in W-2 Regions Over Time (April 1997)

Child Care Needs of Low-Income Employed Parents in Milwaukee County Under W-2 (July 1996)

Financial Impact of W-2 and Related Welfare Reform Initiatives on Milwaukee County AFDC Cases (April 1996)

Demographics of Milwaukee County Populations Expected to Work Under Proposed Welfare Initiatives (November 1995)

Integrating Milwaukee County AFDC Recipients into the Local Labor Market (November 1995)

Concentration of Children in Poverty in Milwaukee County Neighborhoods (November 1995)

The Labor Market Experience of Young African American Men from Low-Income Families in Wisconsin (November 1992)

History of Work Programs for Families on Relief

A History of Jobs for Workers on Relief in Milwaukee County, 1930-1994 (February 1995). The full report is available as a scanned 5.4 mb PDF file or by chapter:

Brief History of the WPA Milwaukee Handicraft Project.

Book Review on Useful Work for Unskilled Women: A Unique Milwaukee WPA Project by Mary Kellogg Rice (2003)

Replacing Welfare with Work in the WPA: The [Women's] Project That Made Milwaukee Famous, 28th Annual Morris Fromkin Memorial Lecture.

Welfare Evaluations for the Wisconsin Legislature

The Employment and Training Institute was selected by the State of Wisconsin to evaluate two major welfare reform programs initiated in the late 1980s when Wisconsin showed major drops in AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) caseloads. These experiments included:

  1. A Community Work Experience Program (CWEP) to test the effectiveness of mandatory workfare programs and a comprehensive Work Experience and Job Training program (WEJT) including remedial education, job search, subsidized employment, job training, day care and supportive services, following by mandatory work.

  2. A Learnfare policy which reduced AFDC grants for families of teenagers not attending school regularly.

The welfare employment program evaluation utilized experimental and quasi-experimental designs to measure changes in family earnings and AFDC caseloads in 31 Wisconsin counties initiating new programs. The Learnfare evaluation utilized school attendance records on over 50,000 teenagers to measure the impact of Learnfare in six school districts, including Milwaukee.

FULL REPORTS are available for 4 of the evaluation reports to the Wisconsin Legislature, as scanned documents (in PDF):

Wisconsin Welfare Employment Experiments: An Evaluation of the WEJT and CWEP Programs (September 1993).

Evaluation of the Impact of the Wisconsin Learnfare Experiment on the School Attendance of Teenagers Receiving AFDC (February 1992).

Report to the Wisconsin Legislature on the Learnfare Evaluation (January 1991).

The Impact of Learnfare on Milwaukee County Social Service Clients (March 1990).

The following SUMMARIES are also available:

Graphs of Caseload Trends and Unemployment Rates: 1986-1998

The Employment and Training Institute has prepared graphs of AFDC/W-2 caseloads and unemployment rates by County for the period from July 1986 through December 1998 when Wisconsin implemented its welfare reform initiatives. The graphs show the monthly unemployment rates and AFDC (and "W-2"TANF support) caseloads for each of Wisconsin's 72 counties. The graphs are also available in a PDF file.

The Employment and Training Institute evaluations of Wisconsin welfare reform efforts during the period from 1987-1991 showed the strong impact of a rapidly improving labor market, which accounted for most of the caseload reduction during the 1986-1991 period. Additional months of data are presented for the period 1991-1998, but statistical testing has not been conducted for this most recent period.


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