How Goes CalWORKs?

Emerging Implementation Issues

by Gail L. Zellman

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This research brief describes work documented in Welfare Reform in California: State and County Implementation of CalWORKs in the First Year (MR-1051-CDSS).

Excerpt: In response to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), California created the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program — a "work first" program that provides support services to help recipients move from welfare to work and toward self-sufficiency. To encourage prompt transitions to work and self-sufficiency, CalWORKs also imposes lifetime limits on receipt of cash assistance by adults. Finally, CalWORKs devolves much of the responsibility and authority for implementation to California's 58 counties, increasing counties' flexibility and financial accountability in designing their welfare programs.

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