ANN ARBOR---Researchers at the University of Michigan will present a new study about a population whose needs have been overlooked by welfare reform: those with mental health problems and those who suffer from drug dependence.
The federal welfare reform act of 1996 imposes a lifetime five-year limit for federally funded cash aid, but the law also requires most welfare recipients to find work or participate in job training programs, or other work-related activities, within two years of receiving aid. But obtaining and maintaining work will be difficult for those who need drug intervention programs or medical treatment, say U-M researchers.
"Substance abuse and dependence, and mental health problems, are important barriers to economic self-sufficiency and the successful fulfillment of family roles. With treatment, recipients are more likely to become self-sufficient. Effective services are needed to address great and preventable anguish in an important part of the welfare population," said Harold Pollack, assistant professor at the U-M School of Public Health.
Pollack will present the results of this study on Nov. 9 at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Chicago. The study is co-authored by Sheldon Danziger, U-M professor of social work and public policy and director of the Center for Poverty, Risk and Mental Health; Rukmalie Jayakody, assistant professor of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University; and Diane Steffick, a U-M doctoral student in economics.
The study is based on data from the 1994-95 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse (NHSDA), an annual survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and the 1979-96 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. The authors focused on a sample of 2,728 single mothers who are at least 18 years old,
Contact: Amy Reyes
University of Michigan