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Language Matters

Designing State and County Contracts for Services Under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

By Eileen P. Sweeney, Barbara L. Bezdek, Sharon Parrott, Carol W. Medaris & Cary LaCheen

As they implement welfare reform, states have entered into contracts with private organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit, to provide services families need to move from welfare to work. In many instances the states have not developed the contracts with sufficient care to help cash-aid recipients move successfully into work or with any understanding of the civil rights of people with disabilities. But efforts are under way to improve the language and design of welfare-to-work service contracts (in, e.g., Baltimore, Md., Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin) and to consider the applicability to such contracts of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

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