Ending Welfare As We Know It

Ending Welfare as We Know It follows six welfare mothers over the course of a year as they struggle to comply with new work requirements, find reliable child care and transportation, battle drug addiction and depression, confront domestic violence, and try to make ends meet in the new era of welfare reform.

The film profiles families living in Wisconsin, Florida, and New Jersey—states that implemented their own reforms before the passage of the federal bill—and offers a preview of welfare reform as it unfolds across the country. Each featured state has reduced welfare caseloads by imposing strict new rules which include work requirements, time limits, and special provisions for teen mothers. Some states offer job training, education, child care subsidies, life skills classes, and more. But which measures are most effective? And what has become of the people who have left the US welfare system?

The documentary draws attention to the new requirements that are motivating many welfare recipients to work, but also highlights the many who are unable to land on their feet in the wake of the program’s changes. As the film reveals, the solution to welfare dependency are as complex as the reasons people turn to the program in the first place.


Best AV Materials of 1999, Science Books & Films
Gold Apple, National Educational Media Network, 1999
CINE Gold Eagle, 1999
Bronze Plaque, Columbus International Film & Video Festival, 1999


" . . . this thoughtful documentary strikes a fair balance and doesn't settle for easy answers." Booklist
" This video has immediate value for a wide range of audiences." Science Books & Films


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