12 UNC institutions to examine how N.C. counties handle welfare reform

f East Carolina University, Derick Smith of Fayetteville State University and Rebecca Winders of N.C. Central University.

The study could be important nationally because North Carolina is one of 10 states that rely on counties to deliver social service programs, Wright said. In fact, North Carolina might have the most decentralized system in the country for delivering social services.

"The federal government is trying to get states to take on more responsibilities, and North Carolina, which can be seen as a kind of laboratory, is trying the same thing with its counties," Cooke said. "This is part of an important larger effort to redefine the focus of governmental responsibilities away from the model it began adopting in the 1930s. Our work should enable us to tease out which counties are responding in creative ways that might be useful to other counties here or in other states."

The goal will be a clearer picture of the evolving relationships between the state and its counties, he said.

Participating faculty hope to attract further funding so they will be able to track changes in the effects of welfare reform over time, Wright said. What the team learns might be relevant to delivery of other services such as those surrounding mental health.


Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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