Gaining Ground In Illinois: Welfare Reform And Person-Centered Policy Analysis

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In 1997, then state Senator Barack Obama sponsored legislation in the Illinois General Assembly to study the newly passed federal welfare reform and how it would affect the citizens of Illinois. He believed that a sound piece of research assessing how the new law affected the poor of Illinois would give lawmakers a way to come together and improve the law and the lives of the poor. Dan A. Lewis was selected to direct the study and report back to the legislature. For four years, Lewis and his team of researchers tracked a random group of 1,000 people who were on welfare when the new law went into effect. Reporting on their income, their general well being, and the lives of their children under the new system, Lewis illuminates here the findings of the study and offers advice for future policymakers. As the current economic crisis leads to more discussion of public aid and entitlements, this important work offers a starting point for the discussion about the welfare of the people of Illinois and how to improve the lives of the poor moving forward.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Blends both quantitative and qualitative data in an attempt to make more sensitive and refined interpretations…. Lewis has a knack for presenting fairly complicated quantitative findings in a clear manner without too much oversimplification, which is difficult to achieve.”—Steven G. Anderson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780875806273
  • Publisher: Northern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2009
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 194
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan A. Lewis is Professor of Human Development and Social Policy and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. He is also the coauthor of six other books on public policy.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Section 1 Welfare Reform in Political and Ideological Perspective in Illinois and Nationally

1 Beyond Left and Right and the Problem of Welfare Reform 5

2 Making the Words Flesh: Welfare Reform in the Illinois Political Culture 15

3 The Illinois Families Study 33

Section 2 Person-Centered Characteristics that Influence the Outcomes of Welfare Reform

4 Two Worlds of Welfare: Overview of Welfare Caseload Trends in Illinois 49

5 Working and Earning After Welfare Reform 66

6 Depression and Welfare 77

7 How the Children Fare 87

Section 3 Policy Factors Influencing the Poor in Illinois

8 Sanctions: Do They Help or Hurt the Poor? 97

9 Did Welfare Reform Launch the Poor into Better Neighborhoods? 110

10 Assessing the Results and Moving Forward 123

Appendix A Springfield Data Collection 131

Appendix B Background on the IFS Qualitative Sample 133

Notes 139

References 143

Index 155

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