Magazine article Policy & Practice

At the Front Lines of the Welfare System: A Perspective on the Decline in Welfare Caseloads

Magazine article Policy & Practice

At the Front Lines of the Welfare System: A Perspective on the Decline in Welfare Caseloads

Article excerpt

At the Front Lines of the Welfare System A Perspective on the Decline in Welfare caseloads By Irene Laurie. 284 pages/Rockefeller Institute Press. First edition. 2006. ISBN-^9309T2-17-X. Softcover. $15

Scholars who have focused on the challenges of implementing welfare programs have all identified the behavior of front-line workers as critical to meeting the program's goals. Irene Laurie is an economist with a special interest in public finance. Her book, an involved study on welfare program implementation of the 1996 national welfare reform law, looks at the front-line workers.

Laurie and her team of social science graduate students acting as local observers watched the interaction between front-line welfare workers and clients in four states.

Laurie describes previous welfare reforms and how they did not accomplish what reformers set out to do. Her book quotes clients and workers and describes the provision of cash assistance and other benefits services such as Medicaid, food stamps, child care, and makes the reader feel the interaction of the welfare workers and clients instead of reading an academic treatise. …

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