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Abstract

Although welfare rolls have declined dramatically since the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996, many of those parents still receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) face multiple barriers to employment. In response to a proposed state bill increasing work requirements and imposing stricter time limits, the authors conducted focus groups and interviews in order to learn about the experiences of long-term recipients of TANF in Maine. Domestic violence, children's disabilities, and health issues for the mother emerged as key obstacles to meeting TANF work requirements for the 28 women participating in the study. Study findings contributed to the defeat of the state bill and informed policy recommendations offered herein.

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