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Welfare Programs

Early History Of Welfare In The United States, Social Security, Employment Programs, Aid To Families With Dependent ChildrenConclusion

The history of welfare programs in the United States is a controversial one. Although many other nations in the world have welfare systems, some of which provide certain kinds of assistance for all citizens, the United States has always been divided in terms of what welfare means and who should receive welfare benefits. The welfare system in America underwent significant changes in the late 1990s in order to reduce the number of people receiving certain types of welfare benefits. This occurred as a result of political and economic changes that caused American society to reexamine the meaning of its welfare programs against a rising tide of concern about and disdain for public assistance. In order to understand the welfare system of the early twenty-first century, however, it is important to first understand and reflect upon the inception and history of welfare in the United States.

The issues surrounding welfare and welfare reform are controversial, political, and difficult to resolve. Almost seventy years after the formation of the welfare state, debate continued about who deserves and who does not deserve benefits. With TANF scheduled to be reauthorized and reevaluated in 2002, the successes and failures of U.S. welfare programs were certain to make for interesting policy discussions well into the twenty-first century.


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Kim Harrison

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Social Issues ReferenceChild Development Reference - Vol 8