The Outcome of Welfare Reforms: Not Good

Losing Ground: The Cliff Effect from I-News on Vimeo.

Rachel Contizano, 32, buckles her son, Kingston into his car seat, as they leave his daycare center in Auora, Colo., on Tuesday, May 28, 2013. Contizano, a single mother who lost her job in 2009, receives work support and public assistance, but just graduated magna cum laude from Colorado WomenÕs College at the University of Denver. She has calculated she needs to earn about $43,000 to make up for the elimination of food stamps,child care assistance,Medicaid and rental subsidies she receives.
The measures passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 “to end welfare as we know it” were heralded as a ticket to economic self-sufficiency. The poor would be encouraged to enter the workforce and eventually leave all welfare assistance behind.

But an I-News examination of one of the most important programs in Colorado – subsidized child care – shows the opposite may be happening.

Those closest to economic self-sufficiency –  considered to be about 225 percent of the federal poverty level – are endangered by a phenomena called the “cliff effect.” A family’s rising income can lead to a sudden termination of an important benefit, plunging the family more deeply  back into poverty.

The I-News inquiry also shows that tens of thousands of working poor families in Colorado have no real shot at economic self-sufficiency. They simply are far from making enough money.

To read the entire report go to:

To watch the Rocky Mountain PBS original documentary on the cliff effect, please go to:

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