Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Welfare has four main meanings.
- In general terms , the term welfare refers simply to well-being , the Human condition whereby people are faring well, that is: prosperous, in good health and at peace.
- In economics, welfare is associated with material benefit or preferred outcomes. Welfare has a specific meaning in formal or technical economics (see welfare economics), as in the term social welfare function. In this context it refers to utility or well-offness, either for an individual, or aggregated for a group.
- In social policy, social welfare refers to the range of services intended to meet people's needs. This is the use of the term in the idea of the welfare state.
- In the United States, welfare refers more specifically to money paid by the government to persons who are in need of financial assistance, but who are unable to work, or whose circumstances mean the income they require for basic needs is in excess of their salary (e.g. tax credits for working mothers). The sum paid usually gives an income well below the poverty line, and it usually also has conditions attached, such as the need to prove one is searching for work or that there is some condition, such as a disability or obligation to care for children, that prevents them from working. In some cases recipients are even forced to do work, and this is often known as workfare . Some kind of safety net provision of this kind is made in almost all developed countries.
Welfare in the US
See also: social security (United States)
In the United States, assistance of this type has now been largely restricted to households where children are included (usually headed by single mothers) and even these households have only been able to access benefits for a maximum of five years per lifetime of the adult recipient since 1996. Before that, most American states had been providing welfare benefits to single adults and childless married couples as well since the Great Depression, but the number of states doing so declined steeply during the 1990s, and many of the states still doling out such benefits use methods other than cash payments to render the assistance; indeed, today only two states - New Jersey and Utah - still give out cash to poverty-stricken adults who do not have child dependents. These programs were often known officially by such names as Home Relief and General Assistance. The federal welfare program for households with children was originally named Aid to Dependent Children; this was later changed to Aid to Families with Dependent Children (often referred to by the acronym AFDC), and since 1996 has been officially known as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (or TANF ).
The field of welfare often also involves program evaluation to determine if the welfare programs are working, how well they are working, and how they could be improved.
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- Welfare-to-Work Programs: Strategies for Success
- Welfare Reform and Urban Children
- Welfare to Work: Considerations for Adult and Vocational Education Programs
- Interagency Collaboration: Its Role in Welfare Reform
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