Welfare to Work:

Current AFDC Program Not Sufficiently Focused on Employment

HEHS-95-28: Published: Dec 19, 1994. Publicly Released: Dec 19, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the progress the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) Program has made in: (1) serving a larger portion of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) recipients; and (2) ensuring that JOBS participants obtain employment and leave AFDC.

GAO found that: (1) about 11 percent of AFDC recipients participate in JOBS, and this percentage has not increased despite attempts to expand the base of AFDC recipients required to participate in JOBS; (2) many JOBS program administrators have reported that they could not always provide participants with the services they needed, such as basic education and job skills training, transportation, and child care; (3) although states have generally met federal requirements to target AFDC recipients at risk of long-term welfare dependence, many JOBS programs have not adequately served the difficult and complex needs of teen parents, alcohol or drug abusers, and others who are at risk for long-term welfare dependence; (4) JOBS program administrators have expressed concern about their capacity to increase program size and serve participants' varying needs; (5) JOBS program administrators have not fully used available resources to help AFDC participants obtain employment; (6) the JOBS performance measurement system, which focuses on participation rather than employment, provides little incentive for states to move clients into jobs; and (7) some factors affecting welfare dependence are outside the control of JOBS, including the low-wage labor market and a lack of financial incentives, health care coverage, child care, and transportation.

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