Testimony

Statement of Jenifer Zeigler Submitted to the Subcommittee on Human Resources of the House Committee on Ways and Means

By Jenifer Zeigler
February 10, 2005
Subcommittee on Human Resources
Committee on Ways and Means
The United States House of Representatives

My name is Jenifer Zeigler and I am a welfare policy analyst at the Cato Institute. I want to thank the committee for allowing me to submit testimony on welfare reform reauthorization proposals. In this statement I will summarize my findings outlined in greater detail in Cato Policy Analysis no. 529, “Implementing Welfare Reform: A State Report Card,” (available at http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa529.pdf) and address current reauthorization proposals.

In summary, Congress should:

  • look to the states and evaluate how welfare reform has worked and how it can improve;
  • reauthorize the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act;
  • strengthen welfare reform’s work requirements;
  • avoid federal funding of private charities;
  • avoid federal marriage programs; and
  • ultimately, replace welfare with private charity.

In the early 1990s, welfare caseloads were at an historic high and out-of-wedlock births were skyrocketing. States decided to take action and applied for waivers from the federal welfare program, seeking flexibility to serve their neediest citizens in a different way. Based on success at the state level, Congress recognized it was time to overhaul welfare on the federal level. Looking to the states for examples of successful reform, in 1996 the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) was signed into law, and the nation waited to see if welfare reform would truly “end welfare as we know it.” Block grant funding and administrative devolution gave the states a chance to move beyond pilot programs and prove that they could transition people off welfare more efficiently and effectively than the federal government. As a result, caseloads have dropped by more than half.

Since 2002, Congress has been debating the reauthorization of PRWORA, and there are a variety of perspectives on the direction welfare reform should now take. Once again, the federal government needs to look to the states to see what has worked, and what has not. “Implementing Welfare Reform: A State Report Card” emphasizes the positive policy choices made by states regarding welfare reform implementation-choices that encourage personal responsibility and self-sufficiency.

Strong structural reforms in a state’s welfare system-including time limits, sanctions, and narrow definitions of work activity-lay the foundation for successful reorganization. Pilot programs, waivers, and the flexible guidelines of the block grant system allow states to experiment with programs and make policy decisions that best serve their citizens. It is important for Congress to review and compare the structural reforms that states have implemented and the quantitative results those programs have produced.

Looking at Where We Have Been

Welfare reform has allowed states the flexibility to spend money and implement programs that will help recipients escape welfare’s “cycle of dependence.” The idea behind welfare reform was to provide recipients with job experience for a better transition into the job market, rather than to give them cash handouts for doing nothing. With job skills and an incentive to hurry off the rolls (time limits), families have been leaving welfare in record numbers.

The report card grades each state on program and performance measures. It is just as important to evaluate the programs a state has instituted (structural reforms) as it is the results of those reforms (quantitative results). It is necessary that states reduce caseloads and poverty rates, but if they are not establishing sound welfare policies that will sustain self-sufficiency, many recipients will never completely escape the system.

The states with the highest grade ranked in the top third of the states in both structural reforms and quantitative measures. Those states recognized that it is important to reduce rolls and rates in the short term (high quantitative results score) as well as prepare for the long term by implementing strong work policies, time limits, sanctions, and family caps (high structural reforms score).

It is not surprising to see Wisconsin receive an “A” (along with Idaho, Ohio, and Wyoming), since much of PRWORA was modeled on the Wisconsin Works (W2) system, one of the first innovations in state welfare reform in the 1990s. Seven states earn a “B,” there are 20 “C” states, and 11 “D” grades. Nine states receive failing grades for their implementation of welfare reform. The jurisdictions receiving “F”s are the District of Columbia, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, and Vermont (which received the lowest of the failing grades, including the lowest grade on implementation of structural reforms required for a successful state welfare program).

Structural Reforms

Family Caps
PRWORA authorized states to impose a family cap, which would deny increased TANF benefits to women on welfare who have additional children. Twenty-three states have established such caps.1 Family caps show recipients that welfare is a temporary safety net, not a subsidy for a life of dependency. If a family is not making it on its own, creating another mouth to feed is not the path to self-sufficiency.

Because a family cap is an elective policy, states can decide whether or how best to implement it. Family cap policies vary from states that do not give any cash increase for an additional child, to states that do not halt incremental cash adjustments, but reduce the level, to states that technically have a family cap policy, but rather than reduce the incremented benefit, issue payment in the form of a voucher or to a third party payee.

Teens at Home
PRWORA requires unmarried mothers under the age of 18 to remain in school and live with an adult. That was a priority in welfare reform since, by the early 1990s, half of unwed teen mothers would go on welfare within one year of the birth of their first child and an additional 25 percent are on welfare within five years.2 Nearly 55 percent of welfare expenditures are attributable to families that begin with a teen birth.3

High school dropouts are roughly three times more likely to end up in poverty than are those who obtain at least a high school education.4 If dropouts do find jobs, their wages are likely to be low. Wages for high school dropouts have declined (in inflation-adjusted terms) by 23 percent during the past 30 years.5 And the economic impact is intergenerational. Children whose parents have not completed high school are far more likely to live in poverty than children whose parents are more educated. Simply put, more education equals less poverty.6

TANF allows high school attendance to fulfill the work requirement for minor teen mothers, who are supposed to remain in a parent’s home while finishing school. All states are required to implement this policy, but the specific guidelines are at the discretion of the each state. Unfortunately, many states have created broad definitions and extensive exceptions that make the federal law ineffective. Examples include 17 states that exempt a teen who has lived away from her family for a year or is “successfully living on her own.”7 Just how “successful” is a teenager living on her own if she has an out-of-wedlock pregnancy and needs welfare assistance?

Work Policy
Getting a job as a solution to poverty may seem like common sense. Granted, not every job pays a wage that will catapult a family into the middle class. However, every job provides job experience, and that leads to a better job. Maybe today’s minimum-wage, service industry employee is not on a track for management. But he is showing that he is a reliable worker who can learn and perform duties, something a future employer will value.

PRWORA’s addition of work requirements to TANF benefits was one of the most substantial changes to the welfare system. Work experience is the most effective way to move recipients off of welfare and into the job market, and at a lower cost than education or job-training programs. 8

By 2002, half of each state’s eligible caseload had to be engaged in “work-related” activities at least 30 hours per week. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) divides jobs that qualify for work participation credit into 14 categories for reporting purposes. Of those allowable work activity categories under TANF, only half are activities in which the recipient is actually working: subsidized and unsubsidized employment (public and private), community service, on-the-job training, and work experience. Unfortunately, states permit too much participation under the remaining activities: job search, job skills training, adult basic education/English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, education directly related to employment, and vocational training. These should not be considered actual work activities because they are educational and do not provide actual work experience.

Additionally, caseload-reduction credits essentially released states from their participation rate obligations. Without credits, only three states would have met their single-parent participation requirements. Through credits, 19 states were able to reduce their work requirement to zero. Absent waivers, exemptions, and credits, the national participation rate for recipients in actual work activities is less than 30 percent.9

States have made it very hard on themselves by not striving to meet the work requirement guidelines, regardless of credits. With weakened economies and tighter budgets, states must scramble to figure out how to create jobs for welfare recipients to meet work requirements, and how to fund the administrative oversight such regulations require.

Diversion
Since PRWORA eliminated the welfare entitlement, states have been free to put conditions on the receipt of benefits. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have used this authority to establish diversion programs that prevent potential welfare recipients, particularly those considered able to work or who have another potential source of income, from ever entering the system.10

Generally, diversion programs fall into one of three categories. Most common are diversion programs that provide “lump sum payments” in lieu of welfare benefits.11 Those programs assist families facing an immediate financial crisis or short-term need. The family is given a single cash payment in the hope that the immediate problem can be taken care of without the need to go on welfare. In fact, a family is usually precluded from going on welfare for a period of time, after accepting a diversion payment.

Most states do not restrict how lump sum payments may be used; they have been used to pay off back debts, as well as for childcare, car repairs, medical bills, rent, clothing, and utility bills. Recipients may also use lump sum payments toward work-related expenses, such as purchasing tools, uniforms, and business licenses. A few states restrict the use of lump sum payments to job-related needs, although that definition can be interpreted broadly. For example, even moving expenses for a new job may qualify. 12

Another common diversion approach is a “mandatory applicant job search,” used by 27 states. Under this approach, welfare applicants are required to seek employment before they become eligible for benefits. In most cases, the state will assist with the job search by providing job contacts and leads, access to a “resource room” where applicants can prepare résumés and conduct job searches, or classes in job search skills. The state may also provide childcare and transportation assistance.

Finally, eight states have programs designed to encourage welfare applicants to use “alternative resources” before receiving TANF benefits. Those programs generally do not have specific guidelines but amount to caseworkers encouraging would-be applicants to seek help from family, private charity, or other government programs.13 Even in states with alternative resource referral programs, this approach is the least used, possibly because it is poorly understood by potential recipients and requires extensive caseworker involvement.

In Utah and Virginia, the states that have the most extensive diversion-tracking information, between 81 and 85 percent of those initially diverted do not subsequently reapply for TANF.14 HHS should consider a method of awarding states credit for participating in diversion programs. If states are being rewarded for moving recipients off the roles, then they should similarly be encouraged to keep people from ever entering the system.

Time Limits
Before welfare reform, pride and self-determination were the main forces driving recipients off welfare. Unfortunately, many were comfortable with the lifestyle that welfare benefits provided and saw no need to work their way out of the system. They had been told welfare benefits were an entitlement, and with no end in sight, some dependents made welfare a way of life.

In an effort to deter such “career recipients,” PRWORA set limits to how long someone can receive welfare. The federal TANF program imposes a lifetime limit of 60 months (5 years). States can reduce that period or continue to support recipients after that time with their Maintenance of Effort (MOE) money or other state funds. Because caseloads include on-again-off-again recipients, many are just now reaching the overall five-year moratorium on aid. As recipients begin to hit the federal time limit, states are struggling with the decision to kick families off the rolls or continue benefits out of scarce state funds. Eighteen states have been spared the dilemma as they were granted waivers before PRWORA that allow for the exclusion of all or part of their caseloads from time limits. Many states have implemented categorical exemptions for various recipients, choosing to continue funding with their own money.15

Sanctions
Obviously, it is not enough for states to just promulgate new welfare policies-those policies must be enforced. If welfare recipients fail to meet work requirements or violate other areas of a state’s welfare policy, penalties must be imposed. Modest sanctions tend to deduct only the adult portion of the TANF benefit, sparing any children in the household and thereby only minimally reducing the benefit. States with the most stringent sanctions withhold the entire TANF benefit upon the first violation. Then there are sanction policies that fall along the spectrum, allowing multiple violations as benefits are gradually reduced or withheld.16

Michael New, postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-MIT data center, evaluated the effectiveness of sanctions in a Cato Institute Policy Analysis entitled “Welfare Reform That Works.” New found that a state’s sanction policy could affect caseload decline by as much as 20 percent, through both the indirect effect of encouraging recipients off the rolls and the direct effect of ending their eligibility.17 Not only is there a relationship between state sanction policy and caseload decline, New found, but that relationship is constant over several years.18

Sanctions are not successful because they throw recipients off welfare; rather they serve as a threat of actual consequences for failing to meet requirements or reaching time limits. Only about six percent of those leaving welfare have done so due to sanction enforcement.19 However, there is a wide variation among states as to the percentage of their caseloads affected by sanctions. For example, in an average month in 1998, almost 30 percent of case closures in North Carolina were due to sanctions, while less than 1 percent of closures in California, Oklahoma, and Nebraska were related to sanctions. 20

Quantitative Results

Caseload Reductions
The greatest decline in welfare rolls occurred in the first two years following the enactment of welfare reform. Caseloads began to level out in most states by 1998, and some states that experienced the most significant initial declines began to see caseloads inch back up. New Mexico, for example, reduced its rolls by almost half in the first two years following reform, and then had a nearly 25 percent increase in 1999. Delaware, Tennessee, and Wisconsin also saw their caseloads increase after initial declines.21 As the economy began to slow in 2001 and 2002, the era of declining caseloads came to a close. In 2002, 26 states experienced higher caseloads than the year before, although all state caseloads remained significantly below prereform levels. 22

Poverty Rate and Child Poverty Rate
Poverty rates mirrored the success of caseload reductions as national poverty rates declined every year after reform until 2001. Even though 2002’s slow economy caused a minor uptick in poverty rates, they continue to remain well below prereform rates.23 Most significant, poverty rates declined for women, children, and minorities, groups that were thought to be most at risk. Many critics of welfare reform issued dire predictions, forecasting at the time PRWORA was passed that more than a million children would be thrown into poverty.24 Instead, child poverty rates declined from 20.5 percent in 1996 to 16.2 percent in 2000, the lowest level in more than 20 years. 25

Teen Birth Rate
For many women, having a child out of wedlock leads to a lifetime of poverty. Once on welfare, single mothers often find it very difficult to escape. Although the average recipient remains on welfare for less than two years,26 by the early 1990s almost 40 percent of all never-married mothers on welfare remained on the rolls for 10 years or longer.27

Teen mothers now account for roughly 29 percent of all out-of-wedlock births. That figure, however, may understate the severity of the problem. Women who give birth out of wedlock as teens frequently go on to have additional children out of wedlock. More than a third of all out-of-wedlock births to mothers aged twenty and over are to women who had their first child as unwed teenager.28

Teenage birth rates peaked nationally at 61.8 in 1991 and have fallen by 27 percent in the past decade.29 It is essential that states continue to reduce teenage pregnancy if there is to be any hope of ending welfare dependence. If states can dissuade young women from giving birth out of wedlock in their teenage years, more women will complete school and have a better chance for a self-sufficient future. Reduction in births to teenagers is an important measure because it shows whether states are laying the groundwork to break the cycle of welfare dependence.

Looking at Where We Are Going

The greatest result welfare reform could produce would be the elimination of the welfare system. Colonial America had only a modest government safety net. Churches, charities, and the community-known as “civil society”-took the lead in providing assistance to those in need. These entities had the freedom to distinguish between the “deserving” and “undeserving” poor. The deserving poor included those who, although normally self-sufficient, had experienced temporary setbacks due to sickness, accident, or loss of employment during a recession. The deserving poor also included those incapable of self-sufficiency, such as the elderly and orphans. The undeserving poor were those who could be self-sufficient but elected not to work, or who made poor choices that were an obstacle to employment.30

Early U.S. welfare law was modeled after English Poor Law. That law established four basic principles for government charity: (1) care for the poor was a public responsibility; (2) care for the poor was a local matter; (3) public relief was denied to individuals who could be cared for by their families; and (4) children of the poor could be apprenticed to farmers and artisans who would care for them in exchange for work.31 As with civil society’s assistance, the themes were personal responsibility and self-sufficiency. If you were able-bodied, you should be working. If you could not work, then assistance was best delivered on the local level to ensure effectiveness and accountability.

Unfortunately, the United States did not maintain its modest safety net. Politicians learned that the promise of social programs wins elections, and the economic repercussions of such programs are for the next president to worry about. As each president attempted to shower more “compassion” on those in need, the number of needy continued to rise. For many, the satisfaction of earning a salary was vanquished by the temptation to draw a check for doing nothing.

Welfare reform is a step in the right direction, attempting to reverse the growth of a federal welfare state that had been expanding for decades. PRWORA removed the entitlement to cash assistance and now sends the message that welfare is meant to be temporary, not a way of life. As welfare administration continues to devolve from the federal government to the states, and eventually to more local levels, communities will effectively assume responsibility for the welfare system. Those localities, held accountable by local residents and voters, will begin to find innovative ways to meet the needs of the poor, using charitable organizations and encouraging civil-society solutions rather than relying on government.

Corrupting Charity

Just because something is a good idea does not mean it should be a government program. In the case of faith-based organizations, government involvement can easily kill the very entity it is trying to nurture. During the past decade, the federal government has recognized the successful results that come from social services delivered by civil society, including religious organizations. It is the charity’s autonomy and flexibility that allows for its success, yet these characteristics are threatened by the red tape and liability that come with government funding.

Many faith-based organizations lack the manpower, financial resources, and technical knowledge to deal with mountains of paperwork, much less sorting out all of the new rules and regulations.32 Religious entities succeed because of their focus on the individuals they are serving; their strength lies in their care for others, not their careful reading of the Federal Register.

Faith-based initiative money is certainly a temptation for those serving the needy. If they are serving many now, how many more could they serve with more funding? Unfortunately, federal funding is not reliable, and faith-based organizations are susceptible to mission creep-following the subsidies and rewriting their mission to fit whatever grant is popular that year.33 Essentially, through funding, the government can kill a successful charity, forcing it to change from whatever service it was successfully offering or to shut down due to lack of funding. Faith-based organizations are crucial members of civil society that need to replace the federal welfare system, not be dependent on it.

Federal Marriage Programs

Another area where Congress should resist the urge to “do good” is the marriage initiative. We all agree that marriage is a good idea. Social science shows that marriage is good for society. But as I previously mentioned, not every good idea should be federally funded. Often what is good for society needs to be promoted privately, not forced onto society by the government.

Additionally, promoting marriage as a solution to poverty is an insult to those who are struggling to escape poverty. Who, exactly, are these women supposed to marry? In areas of high poverty (and accompanying crime and unemployment), there are relatively few marriageable men.34 Studies show that the fathers of children born out of wedlock are not men who will lift single mothers out of poverty-more than a third lacked a high school diploma, 28 percent were unemployed, and another 20 percent had incomes of less than $6,000 per year. In addition, roughly 38 percent had criminal records.35

If Congress wants to encourage marriage, it should start by removing the disincentives to marriage. The current welfare system, as well as our tax code, erect barriers to marriage by reducing benefits and/or increasing tax liability if a couple weds. Before the government starts spending new money on incentives, it should fix current programs to reflect its pro-marriage agenda. Additionally, research shows that financial difficulty is one of the leading causes of divorce. Congress should focus its resources on encouraging a dynamic economy, through lower taxes and less regulation of business. Job security, higher wages, and a lighter tax burden would go a long way toward securing marital stability.

Conclusion

Congress needs once again to look to the states and evaluate what has worked under welfare reform. We need to keep moving in the direction of devolution and innovation, placing more control in the hands of local government and encouraging civil society to play a bigger role in helping the neediest members of the community. Congress can help the states with their own dependency problem by weaning states off federal funding. Without the strings that come with federal dollars, states would have even greater flexibility to be innovative and efficient. Partnering with local nonprofits and community organizations, states could encourage a shift in the safety net back to civil society, where it belongs.

Endnotes

1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, TANF Fifth Annual Report to Congress, February 2003, sec. II, “Trends in Caseloads and Expenditures,” p. II-5.

2. G. Adams and R. C. Williams, Sources of Support for Adolescent Mothers (Washington: Congressional Budget Office, 1990), pp. 49-51.

3. Richard Wertheimer and Kristin Moore, “Childbearing by Teens: Links to Welfare Reform,” Urban Institute, New Federalism Issues and Options for the States, Series A, no. A-24, August 1998.

4. U.S. Census Bureau, unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2000, http://www.census.gov/hhes/poverty/povdynam/pov93t5.html.

5. Lawrence Mishel, Jared Bernstein, and John Schmitt, The State of Working America, 2000-2001 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001), p. 153.

6. Uri Bronfenbrenner et al., The State of Americans (New York: Free Press, 1996), pp. 176-77.

7. Sources: State Policy Documentation Project, “Minor Living Arrangement: Eligibility and Exemptions,” February 1999, www.spdp.org/mla/laexempt.htm; and 07 Alaska Administrative Code 45.227 “Assistance to a Minor Parent,” 2003.

8. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “HHS Releases Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies,” November 7, 2001. The press release summarizes 26 separate studies. A complete list of those studies can be found at aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/NEWWS.

9. U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services, “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program Information Memorandum,” TANF-ACF-IM-2004-03, December 27, 2004.

10. Kathleen A. Maloy et al., “A Description and Assessment of State Approaches to Diversion Programs and Activities under Welfare Reform,” George Washington University Center for Health Policy Research, August 1998, Table I-1.

11. Although more states have authorized lump sum payments than any other type of diversion program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that those programs are rarely used in practice. Kathleen Maloy et al., “Diversion as a Work-Oriented Welfare Reform Strategy and Its Effect on Access to Medicaid: An Examination of the Experience of Five Local Communities,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, March 1999, pp. 8-9. Utah, Virginia, and Montana appear to have the most extensive experience with the concept.

12. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, “A Description and Assessment of State Approaches to Diversion Programs and Activities,” August 1998, chap. 2, http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/isp/diverzn/chpttwo.htm.

13. Ibid., chap. 3, http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/isp/diverzn/chptthree.htm.

14. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, “A Description and Assessment of State Approaches to Diversion Programs and Activities,” August 1998, chap. 2, http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/isp/diverzn/chpttwo.htm.

15. Forty-six states have put in place exemptions for parents or caretakers of children with disabilities and others caring for a disabled family member. Forty-two states exempt women in cases of domestic abuse, and 26 states exempt elderly recipients. Other states grant exemptions for individuals making a “good-faith” effort to find work (23 states), parents with young children (22 states), recipients engaged in “work activities” (22 states), recipients enrolled in educational or training programs (21 states), and families in areas of high unemployment (19 states). General Accounting Office, “Welfare Reform: With TANF Flexibility States Vary in How They Implement Work Requirements and Time Limits,” pp. 16-18.

16. General Accounting Office, “Welfare Reform: State Sanction Policies and Number of Families Affected,” March 2000, pp. 44-47.

17. Michael New, “Welfare Reform That Works: Explaining the Welfare Caseload Decline, 1996-2000,” Cato Institute Policy Analysis no. 435, May 7, 2002, p. 8.

18. Ibid., p. 6.

19. An additional 16 percent have left as a result of “state policies,” which could include time limits or other administrative regulations. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Characteristics and Financial Circumstances of TANF Recipients, FY 1998,” http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/characteristics/fy98/sum.htm.

20. General Accounting Office, “Welfare Reform: State Sanction Policies and Number of Families Affected,” pp. 52-53.

21. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, TANF Fifth Annual Report to Congress, sec. II, “Trends in Caseloads and Expenditures,” Table 2:2:c, p. II-34.

22. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Change in TANF Caseloads”; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “TANF: Average Monthly Number of Recipients-Fiscal Year 2001,” February 2002, http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/stats/recipientsL.htm; and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “TANF Total Number of Families and Recipients January-March 2002,” November 2002, http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/news/stats/jan_mar2002_rev.htm.

23. U.S. Census Bureau, “Poverty in the United States: 2002,” September 2003, p. 1-3, http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p60-222.pdf.

24. See, for example, Sheila Zedlewski, “Potential Effects of Congressional Welfare Reform Legislation on Family Incomes,” Urban Institute, 1996, http://www.urban.org/url.cfm?ID=406622.

25. U.S. Census Bureau, “Poverty Status of People by Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin: 1959-2000,” www.census.gov/hhes/poverty/histpov/hstpov3.html.

26. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress 2004, June 2004. p. II-31.

27. Barbara DaFoe Whitehead, “Dan Quayle Was Right,” Atlantic Monthly, April 1993, pp. 47-84.

28. Elizabeth Terry-Humen et al., “Births Outside of Marriage: Perceptions vs. Reality,” Child Trends Research Brief, Washington, April 2001, p. 2.

29. “Revised Birth and Fertility Rates for the 1990s and New Rates for Hispanic Populations, 2000 and 2001: United States,” National Vital Statistics Reports 51, no. 12 (August 4, 2003): 4.

30. Marvin Olasky, The Tragedy of American Compassion (Washington: Regnery, 1992), pp. 6-24.

31. Michael B. Katz, In the Shadow of the Poor House: A Social History of Welfare in America (New York: Basic Books, 1986), pp. 13-14.

32. The average church in the United States has a congregation of only 75 members. Less than 1 percent of churches have congregations of more than 900, and less than 10 percent have congregations exceeding 250 people. The average annual church budget is only $55,000. Mark Chaves, “Religious Congregations and Welfare Reform,” Social Science and Modern Society 38 (January-February 2001): 26.

33. Stanley Carlson-Thies, “Faith-Based Institutions Cooperating with Public Welfare: The Promise of the Charitable Choice Provision,” in Welfare Reform and Faith-Based Organizations, ed. D. Davis and B Hankins (Houston, TX: Baylor University, 1999), p. 38.

34. Kathryn Edin, “Few Good Men: Why Poor Mothers Don’t Marry or Remarry,” American Prospect, June 2, 2000.

35. Sara McLanahan et al., “The Fragile Families and Child Well-Being National Baseline Report,” Princeton University, 2001; and Irwin Garfinkle et al., Fathers under Fire: The Revolution in Child-Support Payments (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1998).