In August 1996, President Clinton signed the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), landmark welfare-reform legislation that curtails benefits and shifts the responsibility for distributing welfare benefits from the federal government to the states. The new law reflects the public's dissatisfaction with the federal administration of welfare entitlements and, indeed, with the very idea of welfare entitlements. PRWORA embodies the concept of devolution: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and child care block grants replace Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) entitlements and a host of other aid programs. Under the law, "[e]xcept as expressly provided under the statute, the Federal Government may not regulate the conduct of the States." Thus, states now have the right to determine eligibility and benefits and the freedom to design programs that promote work, responsibility, self-sufficiency, and stronger families.
David Tuerck Ph.D. & William F. O'Brien Jr., Ph.D.,
Rethinking Welfare in the Age of Devolution,
Rich. J.L. & Pub. Int.
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