Welfare, the family, and reproductive behavior [electronic resource] : report of a meeting /
John Haaga and Robert A. Moffitt, editors ; Committee on Population, Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council and Institute of Medicine.
Washington, DC : National Academy Press, 1998.
ix, 24 pages : illustrations
0309060257, 0309521696, 9780309060257, 9780309521697
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Washington, DC : National Academy Press, 1998.
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
This booklet describes the proceedings of a workshop entitled "Effects of Welfare on Reproductive Behavior and the Family in the US." It summarizes trends in marriage, fertility, and the welfare system, and describes the effects of welfare on marriage, fertility, abortion, and the family. Research and evaluation needs are indicated and justified. The prevailing view among participants was that research does matter with regard to policy, but that it is also necessary to evaluate new program changes. Data and methods need improvement, and too little research has focused on replications, robustness studies, and reconciliation of disparate findings. Research is made more difficult due to the lack of clarity about which Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) rules prevail in different states at varying times. Matching survey data with welfare rules will be made more difficult as states diverge more under the 1996 AFDC Act. Efforts need to be made to improve the availability of data. Some participants desired more studies of the impact of welfare on children and marriage. One participant's review of 8 large federal programs found that in-kind transfers providing direct benefits to children had clearer and larger impacts than cash transfers or housing. Few studies addressed how the AFDC or proposed alternatives impact on family life. Several participants suggested designing new welfare programs to encourage child support payments. Most research addressed the impact on work-related behavior. There was some consensus that welfare has a positive effect on fertility and a negative effect on marriage, but the magnitude is uncertain. Research has not explained why nonmarital childbearing has increased, while welfare benefits have declined, since the 1980s.
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