Unemployed Parents:

Initial Efforts to Expand State Assistance

PEMD-92-11: Published: Jan 14, 1992. Publicly Released: Jan 14, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the states' efforts to implement the Aid to Families with Dependent Children-Unemployed Parent Program (AFDC-UP).

GAO found that: (1) the mix of Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) services in states with established Unemployed Parent (UP) programs differs from the services in states with new UP programs; (2) although both UP and JOBS programs have been operating in all 50 states, only 40 percent of officials in states with new programs expect to reach a relatively stable UP caseload by the end of fiscal year (FY) 1991; (3) the national UP caseload is also geographically highly concentrated, with 55 percent of the national caseload residing in 3 states with established UP programs and 80 percent residing in 10 states; (4) more than one-third of states with new UP programs emphasize job search and early job placement, which are less costly services, and another third use a mixed approach based on assessment; (5) 13 of the 23 states eligible to provide time-limited benefits planned to do so, with most limiting cash benefits to 6 months; (6) barriers limiting UP caseload growth include little or no state effort to disseminate program information, delays in issuing regulations for the new mandatory UP program, and the stringency of federal and state rules regarding AFDC and AFDC-UP eligibility; (7) because the Family Support Act gives states flexibility in designing their JOBS programs, the JOBS program emphasis for UP participants varies widely; (8) 9 states reported a focus on early job search and job placement, 12 plan to emphasize education and occupational training, 27 states place equal emphasis on those approaches, and 2 states are using other approaches; (9) 40 states already plan to measure the average hourly wage of UP parents placed through JOBS, and 37 plan to measure job retention; and (10) most states reported that the local welfare jurisdiction or office would take responsibility for assessment, case management, and JOBS-supportive services.

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