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Interpreting the Decline in Washington State's Welfare Caseload

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Mason Burley, Steve Lerch, Jim Mayfield - November 1998

In 1997, the Washington Legislature passed legislation creating WorkFirst, Washington’s welfare reform program and directs the Department of Social and Health Services to “implement strategies that will cause the number of(welfare) cases in the program to decrease by at least fifteen percent during the 1997-99 biennium and by at least five percent in the subsequent biennium.” Washington’s welfare caseload has decreased by 20% since the enactment of WorkFirst, although some of this decrease is due to factors other than the change in state welfare policy. This report discusses the factors that lead to declines in the welfare caseload and describes the focus of the legislatively directed evaluation of WorkFirst. It is provided as a supplement to the JLARC's November 1998 report of the implementation of WorkFirst around the state.

Report ID: 98-11-3301
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