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Responding to Welfare Privatization

New Tools for a New Age

By Wendy A. Bach

Privatization of the operation of public benefit programs in the wake of welfare reform diminished the effectiveness of traditional approaches to advocacy. A case study from New York City of how private contractors succeeded in reducing welfare roles while imposing punitive policies on poor families offers a glimpse of possible new advocacy tools. Requiring contract-monitoring bodies that involve community members and advocates could help facilitate transparent contracting processes and reshape social welfare programs to serve clients.

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