Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Welfare Report: Success or Failure?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Welfare Report: Success or Failure?

Article excerpt

Byline: Walter C. Jones

ATLANTA | A new university report shows a growing gap between the number of adults and children getting welfare in Georgia, with commentators split on whether it demonstrates success or failure.

They agree, however, on the benefit of job-creation strategies even as the state's unemployment rate continues to improve.

Monday, Gov. Nathan Deal unveiled a new state program designed to provide internships as part of the effort to boost employment. He announced that 30 companies have committed to hiring interns and apprentices in what he calls Georgia WorkSmart.

The program is focused on training for jobs where employers need a lot of workers.

"This collaboration between the public and private sectors will continue making our state more attractive for businesses," he said.

Boosting job opportunities is the prescription for the welfare-enrollment declines, according to Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank.

"The report highlights the success of the '90s bipartisan welfare reforms, which put reasonable limits on the length of public assistance and required work," he said. "Restoring the dignity of work is critical to avoiding dependency."

But a policy analyst at a liberal think tank, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, reads trouble in the report.

"If the aim of the reform was to create self-sufficiency and help people to better themselves, especially for children, then we haven't achieved that because we still have 264,000 families in poverty," said the institute's Melissa Johnson.

REPORT'S FINDINGS

The report by Georgia State University shows a steady decline over the past 15 years in adults receiving cash assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF. …

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