Oregon's Shrinking Safety Net

April 29, 2002 Download PDF

Welfare’s Decreasing Role in Meeting the Needs
of Families With Dependent Children During Recessions

by Michael Leachman and Charles Sheketoff

Executive Summary

The last year’s economic downturn has hit working Oregonians hard. In February 2002, there were nearly 86,000 more unemployed people in the State than there were a little over a year earlier, in December 2000, when the slowdown began. The total number of unemployed Oregonians more than doubled in 14 months.

Download a copy of this executive summary:

Oregon's Shrinking Safety Net (PDF)

Related materials:

News release

Full report (PDF)

Data Charts (PDF)

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, commonly known as welfare, provides monthly cash assistance to very poor families with children who are struggling through difficult times. During a recession, Oregonians with children who have lost their jobs and lack unemployment insurance must look to the temporary assistance program as a safety net to stabilize their families until better times arrive.

At first glance, it might seem that Oregon’s temporary assistance system is responding effectively to the recession. The welfare caseload increased 27 percent from December 2000 to February 2002. Once put in perspective, though, it becomes clear that Oregon’s welfare program is not doing the job.

Among its findings, this OCPP analysis shows: