Welfare to Work:

Child Care Assistance Limited; Welfare Reform May Expand Needs

HEHS-95-220: Published: Sep 21, 1995. Publicly Released: Sep 21, 1995.

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GAO examined the extent to which the child care needs of welfare recipients in the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program are currently being met, focusing on: (1) whether any barriers exist to meeting JOBS participants' child care needs; (2) the effects of child care subsidies on former welfare recipients' move toward self- sufficiency; and (3) the potential implications of welfare reform for child care availability and continuity.

GAO found that: (1) JOBS serves only about 13 percent of adult welfare recipients partly because many JOBS programs meet statutory exemption provisions; (2) insufficient state funds limit the number of welfare recipients with child care needs that can participate in JOBS; (3) when child care funding is unavailable, states either exempt welfare recipients or limit participation to those with school-aged children or those who can find free child care; (4) shortages of certain kinds of child care and the lack of reliable transportation can delay some JOBS participants' training or work and affect their continued participation; (5) welfare recipients that have secured work often lose their child care subsidy due to insufficient state funds, affecting their ability to become self-sufficient and often causing them to quit work; and (6) as states move to expand work requirements, they may have to reconsider funding priorities and develop new sources of child care to meet the needs of welfare recipients and the working poor.

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