Employment Outcomes among AFDC Recipients Treated for Substance Abuse in Washington State

In 1996, Congress passed sweeping welfare reform, abolishing the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. Each state now administers its own welfare-to-work program under broad federal guidelines, which require eligible adult recipients to work or perform community service. High-risk welfare recipients, especially those with chemical dependency problems, face significant obstacles in their efforts to achieve greater self-sufficiency under the new welfare-to-work programs. State databases were used to track employment outcomes for AFDC clients admitted to treatment for chemical dependency in Washington State during a two-year period. Exposure to treatment was associated with a greater likelihood of becoming employed and with increased earnings for those who became employed. Ensuring that welfare recipients with substance abuse problems have access to appropriate treatment and vocational services is critical if welfare-to-work programs are to promote greater economic self-sufficiency.

Author(s): Thomas M. Wickizer; Kevin Campbell; Antoinette Krupski; Kenneth Stark

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Volume 78, Issue 4 (pages 585–608)
DOI: 10.1111/1468-0009.00186
Published in 2000