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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3003 N. Charles Street, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-3843
Phone: (410) 516-7160 / Fax (410) 516-5251

December 3, 1998
Leslie Rice, lnr@jhu.edu
Glenn Small, glenn@jhu.edu

Welfare Reform Sources

On Jan. 1, 1999, thousands of Americans on welfare will be mandatorily removed from the welfare rolls, or are scheduled to be removed. How has the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 actually played out? What will these thousands of soon-to-be former welfare recipients do? What are some of the issues they, and society, face as the debate over welfare continues?

The Johns Hopkins University has researchers and professors studying the welfare debate from a number of angles. As you consider writing stories about this important social topic, here are some resources you might consider:

Effects of welfare reform on families
Andrew Cherlin, sociologist.

Cherlin is the principal investigator of a four-year, three-city study on the effects of welfare reform laws on families. (View the project s website at www.jhu.edu/~welfare/). Cherlin s research focuses on the well-being of the children of welfare reform.

To many people, the welfare story ends when families go off the rolls, Cherlin says. n truth, no one knows for sure what will happen. This is the greatest social experiment with the lives of poor children since the welfare program was created during the Great Depression.

Cherlin is a national expert on family issues, with an emphasis on public policy issues, and the effects of family changes on children. Some of his books include: "Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, Divided Families: What Happens to Children When Parents Part" and "The Changing American Family and Public Policy."
(View Cherlin s website at http://www.soc.jhu.edu/)
Contact: Leslie Rice

Strategies amongst single mothers
Lingxin Hao, sociologist

Hao s research focuses on the American family, with emphasis on the effects of private and public support for women and children. She is conducting research that examines patterns of single mothers' economic strategies to support their families and its effects on the children's social and emotional development. She is particularly interested in learning what happened to the families around the country who dropped from the rolls during the first years of reform. Using large national survey data, she learned that a great many of those families had turned to extended family for support. Hao is studying the lasting effects of this sometimes temporary and stressful solution on children.
(View Hao s website at http://www.soc.jhu.edu/)
Contact: Leslie Rice

Helping the hardest-to-employ
Arnold H. Packer, a senior fellow in the Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies

Packer specializes in skills development for present and future American workers. He is directing a three-year, $5 million demonstration project to study whether the hardest-to-employ can find good-paying jobs if they are given a chance to build skills and document those skills. Ten communities across the United States will take part in the demonstration project.

"Our theory is that the difficulty today is not finding a job, it's getting on a career ladder that allows you to earn a decent living,"says Packer. "There's no way you can bring up a family on $10,000 to $12,000 a year.

"So in order to get ahead you need to acquire skills and have a believable record to document those skills," he added.
Contact: Glenn Small

Racial issues and welfare
Katrina Bell McDonald, sociologist

McDonald s research centers on analyzing the life experiences of African-American women, past and present. She is particularly interested in a growing detachment, or sometimes tension, between middle-income and low-income black women, particularly those on welfare.

By analyzing urban migratory patterns, kinship ties and personal interviews with black women, she is working to shed light on a growing geographical, cultural and emotional distance between lower and middle classes of contemporary, urban black women.
(View McDonald s website at http://www.soc.jhu.edu/)
Contact: Leslie Rice

What came before welfare?
Matthew A. Crenson, political scientist.

Crenson has spent nearly a decade poring over thousands of documents and other materials relating to orphanages and has written a book which examines the history of orphanages and how the current welfare system was really a reaction against the traditional orphanage.

While some conservatives have called for a return to the orphanage as a solution to welfare, Crenson can explain how the welfare system is actually cheaper and better than the orphanage system, and give anecdotes and examples.
Contact: Glenn Small

The economics of welfare
Robert A. Moffit, economist.

Moffitt has researched labor economics and studied programs such as Aid For Dependent Children, Food Stamps and Medicaid, as well as looked at labor supply decisions made by female heads of families. Moffit is also a principal investigator, along with Andrew Cherlin (above), of a $19 million, NIH-funded study of the effect of welfare reform on families.
Contact: Glenn Small

Housing and welfare reform
Sandra J. Newman, interim director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies.

Newman specializes in housing, social welfare and long-term care policy. She has written a book that looks at the impact of welfare reform on both assisted and unassisted housing, reviews the lessons learned about the role of housing in moving welfare recipients to economic self-sufficiency and identifies the special challenges welfare reform presents with regard to housing policy and research. The Home Front: Implications of Welfare Reform for Housing Policy is due to be published in the spring of '99.
Contact: Glenn Small

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