Welfare reform provides New York State with an opportunity to examine all its programs affecting families, children, and work. But to benefit from that opportunity, programs need to be carefully planned and evaluated, Associate Dean Charles McClintock told a state panel.
McClintock gave invited testimony before the New York State Assembly Joint Public Hearing on ways the Cornell faculty can lend their expertise to issues facing legislators and executive staff.
McClintock, professor and chair of the Department of Human Service Studies, and Elizabeth Peters, associate professor of consumer economics, have been spearheading the college's Policy Perspectives Series to help Albany legislators, executive staff, and state agencies make use of Cornell faculty expertise across a variety of topics including child well-being, family policy, and program evaluation. In October, Cornell faculty members presented research-based seminars on topics requested by executive staff in Albany. These included the demographic trends affecting children, families, and work; child care policy issues in the face of welfare reform; and the effect of sources of support for children (receiving welfare vs. child support). The policy seminar was presented to legislative and executive staff and was coordinated with a similar effort on child care policy that was broadcast via satellite to twenty-eight sites around New York.
In addition, a program on evaluation slated for the spring is being planned with the Governor's Council on Children and Families.
"Welfare reform gives us an opportunity to examine state policies related to children and families in a fresh way, but this opportunity will be wasted if the state does not implement careful monitoring and research efforts to examine the effects of new federal and state policy at county and state levels," McClintock testified. "As part of New York's land-grant university, we are uniquely poised to assist state and county groups with the task of designing, implementing, and evaluating how welfare reform is working. …