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Antipoverty Programs, Rural

Antipoverty programs that enhance parents’ self-sufficiency by requiring or supporting employment have grown in popularity over the last 30 years. Although improving the well-being of children is an often-expressed goal of policy reforms, emphasizing adult employment and reductions in the welfare rolls have taken precedence in the policy debate. The passage of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act is a recent example.

To be sure, the debate surrounding the 1996 welfare reforms was filled with assumptions and predictions about their effect on children. Pro-reform advocates argued that transitions from welfare to work would benefit children by creating positive female role models, promoting maternal self-esteem and sense of control, introducing productive daily routines into family life, and, eventually, fostering career advancement and higher earnings ...

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