The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4314.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 9:24 PM

Abstract #39806

State policies and practices toward addiction among welfare recipients

Gwen Rubinstein, MPH, Legal Action Center, 236 Massachusetts Ave., NE, #505, Washington, DC 20002, 202-544-5478,

The "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996" ended the individual entitlement to welfare and replaced it with a block grant to States (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF), imposed a five-year lifetime limit on benefits, and required welfare recipients to work. It also significantly increased States' flexibility over their welfare programs.

Studies conducted before and after indicate a higher prevalence of alcohol and drug problems among welfare recipients than non-recipients (USDHHS, 1994) (Weisner & Schmidt, 1993) (Green et. al., 2000). Since 1996, States have experimented with policies to address addiction in their TANF caseloads, including screening, assessment, and treatment (Legal Action Center, 2001). Because States do not have to report these initiatives to the Federal government, comprehensive national information about these policies is often not available.

In 2001, the authors conducted the "Survey of State Policies and Practices Toward Using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Funds for Alcohol and Drug Treatment and Recovery Services." The survey, sent to State welfare directors, collected information about a range of policies and practices adopted by States to address alcohol and drug problems in their TANF caseloads, results of those policies, and motivations and barriers affecting their decision-making. The findings provide a snapshot of State policy and practice, as well as identify promising areas for State action and future research.

At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to identify and discuss variations in State policy and practice toward addiction among welfare recipients and list policy environmental factors and conditions that facilitate or impede those innovations.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Welfare Reform, Drug Addiction

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Substance Abusing Welfare Recipients

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA