Findings on Current AFDC Work Programs and Implications for Pending Legislation

Gao ID: T-HRD-87-12 April 30, 1987

GAO discussed the current Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) work programs and their implications for pending legislation. GAO believes that: (1) the current multiplicity of program authorizations results in a division of responsibility and duplication of effort between state agencies, complex and conflicting regulations, and unintentional incentives created by disparate funding levels; (2) AFDC work programs are serving a minority of the AFDC case load and are concentrating on beneficiaries who least need assistance; and (3) current programs provide low-cost job search services helpful to participants who are job-ready, but do little to resolve the employment problems of those with little education or work experience. GAO also believes that Congress should consider legislation that: (1) encourages states to target AFDC work programs and services at the remedial educational and vocational training level to a more needy clientele; (2) encourages the provision of support services during and after participation in a work program and provides for performance standards that reflect gains in employability and the potential for jobs found that lead to self-sufficiency; (3) consolidates the current multiplicity of AFDC work programs into one comprehensive program; and (4) requires the collection of standardized information about program participants, activities, and outcomes.

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