The overriding goal of the report is to demonstrate the relationship and disconnection between widespread demographic and economic changes and how welfare has been reformed over the past thirty years. The specific focus of the report is the primary income maintenance program for poor non-elderly and non-disabled single-parent families, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and changes in the program since 1967.
Chapter one presents the legislative history of AFDC reform from 1967 to 1996. Chapter two presents a summary of population-wide social changes in family structure and female labor force participation rates. These trends have had an impact on the public's view of welfare programs, their value, and their fairness. Chapter three presents a selection of academic literature on welfare receipt, program growth, and dependency. This chapter attempts to bridge the gap between welfare policies currently in place and the assumptions on which many of these policies have been based. Chapter four addresses the impact of large economic issues such as declining wages, the rise in economic inequality, and the increase of "female" employment on welfare reform. Finally, chapter four presents an alternative strategy to welfare reform with a discussion of raising the minimum wage, expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and consideration of a Child Support Assurance System (CSAS).