Report Documents Successes Of Welfare Program in Mass.

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The Massachusetts employment and training program that served as a model for the federal welfare-reform law of 1988 has had measured success, according to preliminary findings of a study by the Urban Institute.

The state's e.t. program, begun in 1983, provides education, training, and work programs for welfare recipients in an effort to stem long-term dependency on government aid.

The preliminary report did not look specifically at the education or other components of the program. Instead, the study focused on the overall level of involvement in the program and the outcomes for those who participated.

Of all parents on welfare in 1987, the study found, 67 percent engaged in the program at a significant level.

Half of all welfare recipients in that year participated in some training component beyond initial assessment and orientation, and of those, 44 percent obtained a job.

Nearly 75 percent of those who ob4tained jobs were still working a year later, the report concluded.

Such results are high for programs of this type, researchers at the Urban Institute said.

The study also argued that the program worked well for all types of welfare clients and did not achieve its success rates simply by serving those who were most ready for work.

Child-care and health benefits were key components not only for obtaining a job but also for remaining in the workforce, the study said.

The e.t. program provides child-care vouchers and health coverage for up to one year for participants who are no longer eligible for Medicaid.

Of those who obtained jobs, about 30 percent chose to use child-care vouchers. The arrangements varied from formal day-care centers to leaving children with relatives.

But only about 9 percent of those obtaining jobs enrolled in the transitional health-coverage program. The study noted that 55 percent of those who obtained jobs received employer-provided health benefits.--rrw

Vol. 09, Issue 14

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