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Short Title

Value Discretion in a People-Changing Environment

Abstract

This article explores the normative value judgements (called value discretion) made by Ontario Works income assistance case managers in their people-changing roles. The focus of case management under welfare reform has moved from determining eligibility for income assistance—people processing, to moving recipients from assistance to employment—people changing. The article outlines case managers’ pursuit of “the long view” in working with recipients over time moving from assessment to crisis work to meeting workfare requirements. In taking the long view case managers expose a basic contradiction in welfare reform that people changing does not result in the shortest route to a job.

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