Laura Lein, Ph.D.
This ongoing study explores the impact of new regulation and programming in the context of welfare reform provided for victims of domestic violence. Drawing on the resources of the CSWR, and in close consultation with the Texas Department of Human Services (TDHS) and the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), this project combines qualitative and quantitative techniques to study both the rates at which different categories of welfare recipients declare themselves victims of domestic violence, as well as the degree to which their life experiences are influenced by the services available to them.
Under the new welfare reform act, the state of Texas elected to allow temporary waivers for victims of domestic violence. Temporary waivers can be received on time limits or program requirements, as well as on child support and enforcement provisions if cooperating with these provisions would put the woman and her children at risk of further violence.
A TDHS/TWC pilot project placed domestic violence specialists in public assistance offices to assist welfare applicants with applying for domestic violence waivers. CSWR currently is tracking the implementation of this program and making recommendations for changes in policies and procedures. Selected households are tracked over time to determine the impact of the waivers on family progress towards safety and economic self-sufficiency.