This appendix provides additional details on the possible determinants of outcomes under CalWORKs. Unless otherwise noted, the information is drawn from the U.S. Committee on Ways and Means Green Book for 1996 and 2000.
The recent history of welfare reform begins with the 1988 Family Support Act (FSA), which was based on the concept of mutual responsibility and established the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) program (in California, the GAIN program (discussed further below)) to provide education and training for welfare recipients and assistance in finding employment. Also, beginning in the late 1980s and accelerating during the early 1990s, the federal government granted to states a wide-ranging set of waivers to modify their welfare programs, including (1) changes to the benefit structure to encourage work; (2) stronger sanctions for nonparticipation in mandatory WTW activities; and (3) lifetime time limits on receipt of cash assistance.
These early reform steps culminated in 1996 in the sweeping welfare reform of PRWORA. That legislation replaced the AFDC program with the TANF program. PRWORA limited lifetime federally funded assistance in a TANF program to five years, and it devolved nearly complete discretion to the states in designing their TANF programs. To implement this new discretion, most federal funding for state welfare programs was rolled into a single flexible TANF block grant. Table A.1 summarizes the caseload decline, work participation rates, and the benefit structure—the cash benefit for a family of three and maximum earnings at which a long-term recipient is still eligible for cash assistance.
CalWORKs is California's TANF plan. The Act (AB 1542) was enacted August 11, 1997, to implement PRWORA, enacted August 22, 1996.