Wisconsin's Welfare Reform and Its Potential Effects on the Health of Children
Abstract

Abstract:

Wisconsin, like many other states seeking increased state flexibility in federalized programs, is in the midst of a bold welfare reform initiative entitled Wisconsin Works (W-2), which was signed into law on April 25, 1996. This study reviews the state's transition from the existing welfare program to one in which participants are required to work. The primary concerns with this new system are the potential consequences of higher poverty status and worsening health status among children. As details of W-2 are clarified, government benefits for children, such as child care and health care, need to be protected and/or enhanced. Close scrutiny is warranted to avert severe consequences in these areas as well as in family-supporting wages. The authors suggest that in monitoring W-2, several important principles should be considered to ensure that families become financially independent and able to maintain secure lifestyles for their children.