Twenty years ago, with bipartisan support, President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act that “ended welfare as we know it.” Popularly known as “welfare reform,” the controversial legislation dismantled the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, which had the effect of precipitating a massive decline in families receiving cash assistance and increased the number living in poverty.
While scholars have conducted influential research on the history and outcomes of welfare reform, few are familiar with the low-income women who came together to seek a more responsive program and a better life for themselves and their children.
Marking the 20th anniversary of this consequential legislation, the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College will convene a panel documenting the struggle of women on welfare as told by representatives of two organizations that have been active since the start: Hunter College’s Welfare Rights Initiative and Community Voices Heard.
Roxanna Henry, Legal Advocacy Organizer, Welfare Rights Initiative
Sandra Killett, Social Justice Organizer & Board Member, Community Voices Heard
Mimi Abramovitz, Bertha Capen Reynolds Professor of Social Policy, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and The Graduate Center, City University of New York.