The Promise of Welfare Reform

Article excerpt

The Promise of Welfare Reform

Political Rhetoric and the Reality of Poverty in the Twenty-First Century

By Keith M. Kilty and Elizabeth Segal, editors. 329 pages/The Haworth Press. 2006. ISBN-13:978-0-7890-2922-5. Softcover. $34.95

After the landmark 1996 welfare reform legislation, researchers and advocates generated a library of studies about what the policy shift meant for the lives of the poor in the country. The authors argue that many politicians and public officials are celebrating the "success" of welfare reform legislation despite what they call little evidence to support their claims.

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The Promise of Welfare Reform: Political Rhetoric and the Reality of Poverty in the Twenty-First Century presents articles from 23 community practitioners and researchers who argue that the reform has turned public aid from a right to a privilege. The authors transcend conventional academic writing, offering careful analysis that examines the history of welfare reform, its connection to poverty, family issues and the impact of racism on poverty and on the treatment of the poor.

The Promise of Welfare Reform analyzes the consequences over the past 10 years of legislative changes made to the public assistance program formerly known as Aid to Families with Dependent Children. For those against the 1996 reform law, this book paints a painful picture of the failure of the United States to meet its obligations as seen by welfare advocates and how the federal government and states set up a system that they say punished people for the structural inequality in our country. …