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The Welfare Advocate's Challenge

Fighting Historic Racism in the New Welfare System

By Henry A. Freedman

Race discrimination has a long history in government welfare programs. The 1996 welfare reform law expanded caseworker discretion, which can lead to disparate treatment of persons of color. Research shows that it has led to such treatment. While the 1996 reform eliminated the entitlement to welfare and recent court decisions have limited litigation under civil rights acts, there remain many viable antidiscrimination strategies, some of which advocates have yet to invent.

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