The Heartland Institute has released a very interesting study on welfare reform in the states, "Welfare Reform after Ten Years: A State-by-State Analysis." It's a state by state analysis of welfare since groundbreaking welfare reform was passed by Congress in 1996.
Minnesota received an overall grade of D- and an overall ranking of 40 among all states and DC. The grade is based on two components -- success at reducing poverty and welfare reform policies instituted.
Reducing poverty success is based on "percentage decline in the number of persons receiving Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF), change in poverty rate, TANF work participation rate, change in unemployment rate, and change in teenage birth rate." In regards to anti-poverty success, Minnesota received a F grade, and a ranking of 46.
Here, Minnesota received a ranking of 46 for teen birthrates, 42 for unemployment, 33 for work participation rate, 36 for poverty and 29 for TANF recipient decline. Thus 46 out of 51. Not a pretty picture.
In welfare reform policies, the factors considered were "service integration, increasing filing for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), work requirements, cash diversion programs, family cap provisions, lifetime limits on aid and sanctions." Here Minnesota received a C grade and a ranking of 26.
Here, Minnesota received a A for work requirements, A- for cash diversion, F for family cap provisions, D for time limits, and F for sanctions. Overall was a C.
One factor not considered but viewed by many as a critical element in future welfare reform is the status of marriage in a state. There's a bias against encouraging marriage, especially on the left but almost by some on the right. Marriage is an absolutely vital institution for reducing poverty not only in the present but also the future. Marriage is the foundation of the family and the family is the institution God has designed for forming character in the lives of not only children but adults. And character is an indispensable element for staying married, getting an education, working and staying out of poverty.
Heartland Institute has provided a valuable resource for people and policy makers to consider when deciding whether our state welfare programs are actually working.