The welfare systems in both Texas and Louisiana vary in many aspects. Considering that the two states have different demographics their welfare systems requires a careful analysis of the economic and political factors that play an essential role to the establishment of welfare systems in these two states. The welfare systems in both Texas and Louisiana are thus different in areas such as budget allocation and policies and regulations as they will be indicated in the following sections of the research.Purpose of study
The purpose of this study is aimed at establishing a good overview of the formation of welfare states in both Texas and Louisiana. The study will distinguish between the policies and regulations of the welfare systems and the areas of expansion and development of the welfare systems in both Texas and Louisiana. The study of the policies used in both states will further show the budget allocations from both the federal government and the local counties in both the states.Importance of study
The importance of the study is to examine the variations and differences in welfare systems in both Texas and Louisiana. These variations are based on the fashionable view that the two states have high levels of welfare systems which have significance spending and highly regulated policies. We can thus say that they are compatible with the new realities of a United States of America economy which impose heavy constraints on the policy autonomy of a particular state. The two states have to meet the demands of the federal government in terms of welfare spending and other domestic economic actors.Research questions
There are two important research questions which will be used to come up with the required information concerning the two states. These research questions include why some states have more extensive welfare systems than others, and if Texas and Louisiana boarder each other which state has the most extensive welfare system. These research questions are key in tis study.Why do some states have more extensive welfare systems than others?
The welfare systems in both Texas and Louisiana are different in different aspects such as budget allocation and policies. The article published by Department of social services: Louisiana program improvement plan eighth quarter progress (2007) Louisiana developed its original welfare Program improvement Plan (PIP) of its welfare in September 2004 to address deficiencies noted in the 2003 child and family services review. Department of social services: Louisiana program improvement plan eighth quarter progress (2007) indicated that the initiatives to improve Louisiana's welfare system were a series of changes for strengthening families and to ensure children safe permanent solutions. The article further says that Louisiana welfare system goal was to ensure a family focused and community based system for care for Louisiana most vulnerable children (Department of social services: Louisiana program improvement plan eighth quarter progress 2007, p. 4).According to Snyder et al (2006) Texas was one of the first states to reform its welfare system. Snyder et al (2006) says that in 1995 the Texas legislature passed landmark legislation in advance of the federal personal responsibility and work opportunity. In both Texas and Louisiana states the welfare systems and programs have the same objectives. The article published by Department of social services: "Louisiana program improvement plan eighth quarter progress" (2007) indicates that these objectives "include improving intake of those families who cannot support themselves, meeting family needs, community based services, fostering adoptive parenting, residential treatment and transitioning youth".Casey (2009) indicated that Louisiana is ranked 49th
among the states in its overall well being of its state. Unlike in Texas Casey (2009) indicated that Louisiana child poverty rate in 2007 was the second highest in the country. In her further studies Casey (2009) found out that 27% of Louisiana children lived in poverty in 2007 which is more that the national average of about 18% and three time as high as the child poverty rate in other states such as New Hampshire and far behind Texas. Texas and Louisiana boarder each other which state has the most extensive welfare system?
Casey (2009) also indicated that despite improvements since 2000 on four key indicators which are child death rate, teen birth rate, high school dropouts and teens who are not in school and not working (p. 1). From this indicators Louisiana ranked among the bottom ten states for all but one measure of child well being. Unlike in Texas Casey (2009) established that Louisiana data either stayed the same or got worse on three indicators that have a significant impact on a child's economic well being. A major indicator of the welfare state in Louisiana is that child poverty remained unchanged since 2000. Casey (2009) says that these trends are especially concerning because this data is based on information collected in 2007, before the effects of the current economic status.In Louisiana child welfare programs are focused on the safety where by "children are first and foremost protected from abuse and neglect and children are safely maintained in their homes whenever possible" (p. 4). The other advantage of the welfare system in Louisiana is ensuring that "children have permanency and stability in their living situations, and ensuring that families have enhanced capacity to provide for their children needs" (p. 4). The article Department of social services: Louisiana program improvement plan eighth quarter progress (2007) further indicates that welfare programs in Louisiana ensure that "children receive appropriate services to meet their educational needs and also ensure that children receive adequate services to meet their physical and mental health needs" (p. 4). Literature review
Snyder et al. (2006) say that "Texas has a philosophy of minimal government, reflected in a state constitutional provision limiting welfare expenditures to 1 percent of the states budget". Texas has the lowest share of its state general fund devoted to Aid to Families with Dependent Children in 1996: 0.8% (Snyder et al, 2006). Snyder et al. (2006) says that in 1998 Texas raked 50th
in total state government spending per capita ($2,584). In their article Snyder et al. (2006) say that Texas is the most populous state with n personal income tax. Snyder et al. (2006) also indicated that "Texas has the highest share of children lacking health insurance which was 23 percent in 1999".Texas has no state general relief program and therefore as a result in 2000 its TANF benefit level was the fifth lowest in the United States above Louisiana (Snyder et al, 2006). Snyder et al. (2006) continue to say that receiving welfare to all poor children at out of the thirteen states Texas ranked lower than any other in terms of the ratio of children which was a rough measure of welfare coverage. Child care eligibility rules differ across the state but because 13 of the 28 regions including many metropolitan areas. As a result Snyder et al. (2006) indicated that "Texans are subject to eligibility set at 150 percent of FPL or 53 percent of the state median income".
The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) like in Texas is cited as one of just six state education departments whose data systems include all the ten elements considered necessary for important for educational planning in a welfare system (Casey, 2009). In both states the data systems allows users to systematically track individuals students performance across a variety of measures including dropouts. This data is key to offer information for better or improvements of the welfares in these two states. Casey (2009) continues to say that while annual dropout is important to the implementation of welfare systems it also tells us about what percentage of students require support from the welfare systems.In addition Casey (2009) found out that 2006 to 2007 school year, the cohort graduation rate was 65.9% in Louisiana and the annual dropout rate was 6.9% for 9th
graders. From this statistics the welfare department can focus attention not just on the need for effective dropout prevention programs and support those children so that they may realize the need for strategies to help kids graduate from school on time (Casey, 2009).Snyder et al (2006) says that in Louisiana welfare reform which guided by HB 1863 has greatly reduced the welfare rolls. According to their article "there were 204, 168 TANF cases statewide but by May 2000 the total had fallen 44 percent to 115,213" (Snyder et al, 2006 p. 4). In heir research Capps et al (2001) the number of households receiving food stamps fell 31 percent from 751,094 to 514,786 in Texas but only 19 percent in the United States during fiscal year 1997-1999. Snyder et al (2006) also said that "children may continue receiving benefits p to five year federal limit even if their parents may no longer receive support" (p. 5). Snyder et al (2006) also said that the family is eligible for transitional Medicaid and child care. Integration of TNF, FSP and Medicaid eligibility in the states database automatically recalculates income levels versus eligibility thresholds. The article Louisiana - Social welfare (n.d) established that "the state of Louisiana developed a relatively progressive welfare system in the year 2001". The article further says this was as a result of the fact that the average weekly unemployment benefit was $ 192.39 (Louisiana - Social welfare n.d). At the same time Louisiana - Social welfare (n.d) indicated that "the average monthly participation in the food stamp program in the year 2002 was composed of 588, 458 persons".One of the policies enacted in Louisiana was the personal responsibility and work opportunity. This policy was the same as the one enacted in Texas. The policy was an open ended entitlement program with TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). It was a limited system of assistance funded largely through federal block grants. During this period the article Louisiana - Social welfare (n.d) indicated that the reform act also impacted the food stamp program, the supplemental security income program and the child nutrition program. The article Louisiana - Social welfare (n.d) further says that "Louisiana's TANF cash assistance program is called the Family Independent Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP), and the work program is called FIND work (Family Independence Work Program)".Center for Public Policy priorities (2007) says that "Texas offers very limited cash assistance benefits and serves only extremely poor families" (p. 3). The article also noted that the state of Texas has one of strictest welfare t work program in the country ad there Texas has focused on educing welfare caseloads and has made limited investments in service to help families advance in the workforce and escape poverty (Center for Public Policy priorities, 2007).Some of Texas welfare policies include: eligibility limits and benefits levels, time limits, the choices work requirement, child care, and the personal responsibility agreement and sanction policies. According to Center for Public Policy priorities (2007) in the eligibility and benefit levels, families must be below 14 percent of poverty to qualify for TANF which is les than $2,350 annually for a family. The article further says that in Texas the maximum monthly TANF payment was $213 for a family of three in 2003 (Center for Public Policy priorities, 2007). The second policy is choices work environment. Center for Public Policy priorities (2007) says that Texas adopted a work first approach in choices, its welfare to work program which emphasizes immediate employment over job training or education. Center for Public Policy priorities thus says that though the work first approach has been very helpful in ensuring that the employable TANF adults into low wage jobs I has also limited the recipients opportunities to attain the skills and credentials they need to become self sufficient (2007, p. 3).Center for Public Policy priorities (2007) says that in 2005 the average wage of employed TANF leavers was $7.08 per hour well below poverty for a family of three. It further indicated that only 7.4% of TANF leavers were earning at or above 20% of the federal poverty level; less than two thirds which is approximately 57% maintained those wages a year later (Center for Public Policy priorities, 2007). The article also established that "Texas exempts certain families with barriers to employment from meeting the choices work requirement" (Center for Public Policy priorities, 2007 p. 4).Child care policy in Texas is very important. Center for Public Policy priorities (2007) says that "TANF adults who need child care in order to work receive a subsidy that covers the cost of this care" (p.4). The article further says that although most families remain eligible for child care subsidies after they leave TANF, many do not receive this assistance.Personal responsibility agreement policy states that to receive cash assistance in Texas recipients must sign "personal responsibility agreement" which includes the work requirement as well as certain parenting and conduct rules (Center for Public Policy priorities, 2007). This means that for example recipients must agree not to abuse drugs or alcohol and keep their children in school.Center for Public Policy priorities (2007) says that "in 2003 Texas adopted a fully family sanction for infraction of any program requirement including the parenting and conduct rules" (p. 4). Under this policy it is clear that the entire family loses its assistance when an adult des not comply with a program rule. Center for Public Policy priorities (2007) says that Texas adopted the full family sanction policy as a means t improve compliance with program requirements as well as to achieve continued caseload. From the implementation of this program and sanctions Center for Public Policy priorities says that in 2006 average of 3,500 families including 8,000 children lost their cash assistance each month for failure to meet program requirements (2007).In addition, Center for Public Policy priorities (2007) says that "Texas welfare caseload is made up of three of families which include one isn't families, two parent and child only families" (2007). In this case families the children receive assistance but the adults do not. In Texas the "TANF primary goals as spelled out in federal law are to ensure that needy families can care for their children in their own homes or in the homes of relatives, help needy families become independent of government assistance through job preparation, employment and marriage, reduce out of wedlock pregnancies and to promote the formation of two parent families" (Center for Public Policy priorities, 2007).The methodology which is appropriate for this study will be using research from primary sources. Researchers who may want to investigate welfare systems can use quantitative analysis of linked and also use some analysis of combined quantitative and qualitative data. King & Schroeder (2003) say that qualitative analysis of interviews for those who receive welfare and those who leave the welfare or diver tees can be used to do analysis of the effectiveness of the welfare programs. The range of data can be taken from a period or a time frame of several months. It not a must to do an analysis of an entire welfare population but instead this can be addressed in the most significant groups for example children and the aged (King & Schroeder, 2003). The research could for example seeks to determine which range of old aged people receive support or the number of child support who leave the welfare support in a period of a certain number of months (Snyder et al., 2006). These figures can be analyzed in terms of a percentage.