SACRAMENTO, CA (AP) - Advocates of welfare reform in California often cite an eye-popping statistic as they press for cuts and changes to the program in recent years: The state has one-eighth of the nation's population but one-third of all welfare recipients.
Yet steps taken in recent years to cut costs and get more recipients back in the workforce have run head-on into the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression.
Recipients have been left with fewer training programs, shrinking welfare checks and a shorter period during, which they are eligible to receive assistance at a time when employment prospects for even highly qualified job-seekers are dim.
That has led to fear and uncertainty among welfare recipients, many of whom have spent a year or more in job-preparation programs without success.
The Associated Press