"Minnesota's enormously important study results offer an effective model program for other states. With the economy's strength -- lowest unemployment rate in 30 years -- and states having federal dollars available, Minnesota's program proves that investments in families can pay off with positive results. The State shares the work-first approach of requiring parents to move into jobs quickly of other states. Yet, it has gone beyond that primary goal of the 1996 welfare reform law to achieve the other goals of welfare reform as in encouraging two-parent family formation and better outcomes for children. Minnesota was the only state to receive three out of four bonuses last year in the first award of the welfare high performance bonus. Never before have we seen such clear results that more families became or stay married from a welfare program. Never before have we seen results that the rates of women experiencing domestic violence have decreased from a welfare program. Also, we learned that children can have more health insurance and reduce their problem behavior.
"A key feature of the program is that it enabled working families to supplement earnings and truly make work pay. This feature appears to be central to the strong results and adds urgency to state and Federal efforts to provide supports to working families, including child care, health care, nutritional assistance, and earnings supplements such as the EITC.
"We have more to do. Congress must not pass up the opportunity this year to support more working families and increase federal child care funds. States must not pass up the opportunity to invest now in well-designed programs to reach all families on the welfare rolls with the chance for self-sufficiency. We, at HHS, will continue to encourage and support research and evaluation to share valuable information on how welfare reform is progressing."
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Contact: Michael Kharfen, (202) 401-9215
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