ETI Publications

Document Type

Technical Paper

Publication Date



In 1986 the Wisconsin Legislature authorized the Department of Health and Social Services to implement pilot programs to test the effectiveness of two approaches aimed at reducing AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) dependency and increasing the economic self-sufficiency of Wisconsin families. Two types of county level programs were established: a Work Experience and Job Training program (WEJT) to test the effectiveness of a “workfare” requirement combined with an extensive array of services, and a "workfare" program (called the Community Work Experience Program, CWEP) which would require county AFDC recipients to participate in unpaid community service jobs. The Employment and Training Institute was selected by DHSS to evaluate both programs. The evaluation measured the overall impact of these programs on the state's AFDC caseload and separately assessed the impact of county WEJT and CWEP programs operational in 1987 and 1988, according to the research design approved by the state and presented to the Legislature in December 1989. Econometric models were used to analyze the effect of the statewide impact of the waiver experiments and expanded welfare employment programs. Analysis of Wisconsin AFDC caseloads from 1984 through 1990 showed that AFDC caseloads began declining due to the improving economy well before the welfare reform measures went into effect in most counties. (Unemployment rates dropped from 8.9 percent in February 1986 to 3.4 percent in September 1988.) The analysis also showed a reduction in AFDC cases as a result of the state's six percent cut in AFDC benefits in Fall of 1987. The data did not show reductions in state AFDC caseloads resulting from the new welfare employment programs or from the federal waiver experiments.