Journal Issue: Critical Issues For Children and Youths Volume 5 Number 2 Summer/Fall 1995
Welfare reform is on the public agenda, as policymakers at the state and federal levels design strategies that promise to reduce the cost of public assistance by discouraging out-of-wedlock births and by assisting welfare recipients to find work. Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), the cornerstone of the welfare system, was established to provide benefits for children in families with no breadwinners, and two-thirds of those who receive benefits are children.1 As a result, welfare reform initiatives designed to affect the behavior of adults—by reducing benefits or by increasing employment, earnings, and skills—will directly affect the lives of young children. Although there have been many experiments with welfare reform, few have systematically examined the effects of alternative policies on the parenting role of adults or on their children. One notable exception is the federally funded Teenage Parent Welfare Demonstration, which combined the threat of benefit reductions with services designed to support the teenagers as workers and parents and which is the focus of this article.