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Tip Sheet on Welfare Reform (Released: 8/2/96)

Story ideas for journalists

by Renu Sehgal, Office of University Communications.

Experts at the University of Connecticut have varying opinions of the welfare reform package moving through Congress. President Clinton has agreed to sign the bill, which will drastically revise 60 years of Federal Welfare policy.

Here's what they have to say on:

The children:

''It's going to drive a million children into poverty,'' said Nancy A. Humphreys, a professor in the School of Social Work. Humphreys may be reached at the school (860) 241-4726 or at home (860) 651-5392.

The law:

Robert L. Bard, a professor of law, is opposed to the new legislation for different reasons. He said Clinton will sign the legislation to avoid seeming to be beholden to the radical wing of the Democratic Party and to fulfill his ''ill-conceived and politically driven promise to 'change welfare as we know it.' '' The changes will not have any significant impact on the capacity of current and future welfare recipients to become self-sustaining,'' he said. ''It is rather amazing that no one fears that this afflicted group will begin to consider revolutionary alternatives,'' Bard said. He can be reached at (860) 241-4669.

The public's perception:

G. Donald Ferree, director of the Connecticut Poll and associate director of the UConn Institute for Social Inquiry, said the American public is skeptical about welfare. ''Even though Americans are sympathetic to people in need, the public thinks welfare is counterproductive because people become dependent on it. '' Ferree can be reached at (860) 486-4440.

The recipients:

Deane Argenta helps welfare recipients get jobs. As project manager for the Cooperative Extension System's Jobs Training Program, she helps 150-200 recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children train to become child care workers, food preparers, providers of respite care and horticulturists. About 61 percent of the trainees have found permanent jobs. She can be reached at (860) 241-4954.

The politics:

Ken Dautrich, a political science professor and associate director of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, says there are political pros and cons to Clinton agreeing to sign the bill. He can speak about the strategic maneuvering behind the legislation. He can be reached at (860) 486-2579.

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