Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Social Work

Major

Social Work

Major Professor

Stan L. Bowie

Committee Members

Rod A. Ellis, John S. Wodarski

Abstract

This mixed-method study was designed to analyze the impact of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 on a cohort of welfare-reliant African American women in Miami-Dade County. A snowball sampling technique was utilized to identify and conduct in-person interviews with women who were receiving welfare benefits from January 1997 to March 2000. The study intended to determine the participant characteristics, employment and wage histories, annualized income, and annualized expenditures over the time span. The results indicate that the average age of recipients was 34.5 years old with four children. The average educational attainment for the cohort was 11.7 years and the average time receiving welfare benefits was 6. 2 years. The majority of women in the study had previous or current employment in the service industry. The average annualized expenditures for the cohort was $13,296 and the average annualized income was $16, 198. The results indicate that women who participated in the study have substantial barriers to attaining economic security. In addition, the policies implemented by welfare reform may, in fact, be detrimental to improving self-sufficiency.

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