Virginia Knox

Virginia Knox is a director for Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation's Family Well-Being and Child Development Policy Area.

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If welfare reform is ultimately to be considered a success, the new system should do a better job than the old one at enabling low-income children to grow up to become healthy, productive adults. Protecting children from destitution was, after all, the original mission of the welfare system when it was included in the Social Security Act in 1935. But during the 1996 debate on welfare reform, poverty reduction was pushed to the margins by calls for reducing welfare dependency. As Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) comes up for reauthorization this year, however, we have the opportunity to reconcile the conflicting goals of the welfare system: Evidence from rigorous new research shows that we can reduce poverty and promote work -- and improve outcomes for children, especially their school performance -- all at the same time. In particular, recent studies of three programs -- the New Hope Project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the Canadian Self-Sufficiency Project; and the...