The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4314.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 9:42 PM

Abstract #51627

Impact of welfare-to-work interventions with substance abusers

Laura Schmidt, PhD, Public Health Institute, Alcohol Research Group, 2000 Hearst Ave., Suite 300, Berkeley, CA 94079, James Wiley, PhD, San Francisco State University, 1600 Hollaway Avenue, san francisco, CA 94132-4025, and Denise Zabkiewicz, MPH, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Epidemiology, Public Health Institute, Alcohol Research Group, 2000 Hearst Ave., Suite 300, Berkeley, CA 94709, 510.642.5208,

The 1996 welfare reform law put in place numerous work skills and service interventions to help move recipients of public aid into the workforce. As a result, in most communities, welfare recipients with substance abuse problems are encouraged or required to enter alcohol and drug treatment, and to participate in educational and work skills intervention programs. The actual effects of these enriched service options have been poorly evaluated, however, given the lack of prospective studies that follow ample numbers of welfare recipients with substance abuse diagnoses over long windows of time. This study provides some insight into these issues by examining the impact of welfare-to-work interventions on the probability that substance abusers, as compared to other welfare recipients, can successfully exit from aid into jobs over a six-year period. Using event history and regression analysis, we study the factors that predict successful exits into work in a representative sample of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and General Assistance (GA) recipients from a large California county, who were followed and re-interviewed over six years. Findings suggest that the receipt of workfare, job search, vocational, educational and substance abuse treatment services does impact successful exits from welfare into work at a later date. However, the underlying interpretation of this relationship is not totally unambiguous. Our analysis thus considers the competing arguments that selection effects account for the relationship between welfare-to-work interventions and subsequent job exits, as compared to an independent effect for the interventions themselves.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

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