Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

For Better and for Worse: Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children and Families

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

For Better and for Worse: Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children and Families

Article excerpt

For Better and for Worse: Welfare Reform and the Well-Being of Children and Families. Greg J. Duncan & P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale. (Eds.) New York: Russell Sage Foundation. 2002. 329 pp. ISBN 0-8715-4245-5. $42.50 (cloth).

For Better and for Worse is a compilation of readings by some of the key leaders in the field of poverty, low-wage work, welfare, and welfare reform. It is skillfully edited by Greg J. Duncan and P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, prolific scholars in their own right, and covers a wide range of critical topics. The authors of each of the 16 chapters do an admirable job of summarizing the most recent research at both the national and state level. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, research in this area is growing so rapidly that any book is bound to be a bit dated by the time of publication. This one, naturally, is no exception. For the latest statistics and qualitative research findings, web sites provided by the Urban League or Mathematica might be a better choice.

Nonetheless, the articles in this book can provide an extremely useful overview of several issues, including (a) the policy context of welfare reform legislation, (b) what states legislatures are thinking and doing, (c) how families and children are faring, and (d) policy options for the future. For example, the article by Ron Haskins, "Liberal and Conservative Influences on the Welfare Reform Legislation of 1996," provides a particularly insightful review of the historical underpinnings of the current welfare reform law. He notes both the tensions and similarities between Republicans and Democrats in their quest to "do something" about so-called welfare dependency. Those interested in social policy and welfare-from the origins of TANF to its evaluation-will find this book particularly enlightening. Chapter 5 explains not only how states may vary in TANF policy, but why they vary as well. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.