Welfare Reform

Welfare and welfare reform has been a hot topic amongst politicians and their constituents for years. Feeling the pressure brought on by people crying out for welfare reform President Clinton brought about some changes in our welfare system. Prior to President Clinton?s sweeping reforms this is not the first time that the whole idea of welfare has come under fire; former California governor Wilson, was a strong opponent of welfare. It was he, along with many other people, which really were the ones to spark the welfare reform that President Clinton enacted. These people believed that welfare does not solve anything, it is just letting people become reliant on the government; sucking up money and valuable resources that could be spent elsewhere. For the purpose of this paper if we could just for a moment focus on how President Clinton?s welfare reform policies affect single African-American adolescent mothers.
Despite the multimillion-dollar campaign to educate adolescents on the risks of pre-marital sexual relationships the earlier portion of this decade has seen a dramatic increase in teen pregnancies, there for causing a missive economic backlash that can be felt in everyone?s back pocket. Only now in the past few years has the number of teen pregnancies gone down, in fact in 1997 the number of teen-pregnancies reached an all time low, that quickly started to raise yet again. According to a study in the late 1980?s black adolescents are more likely to become early parents than whites and other ethnic groups. According to that study 14% of adolescents are African-American female; and out all adolescents that have given birth 30% are African-American. It also show that half of all unmarried adolescent mothers are African-American. The study also yields that 40% of all first births of blacks are to teen-age parents; in comparison to the 20% of white teenage parents. "Teenage pregnancy can have significant negative social and economic consequences. Notably, about 40% of teenage pregnancies end in abortion, which is a costly both personal and financial terms and is viewed as morally objectionable by many in our society. The remaining 60% of teenagers that give birth face challenges in maintaining their social lives, achieving higher educational levels and obtaining successful employment."1
Social scientists have found that childbirth exacerbates the problems of poverty and family instability. In t the case of marriage whites are more likely to marry, their mentality is to think that motherhood is a compelling enough reason to leave home. African-Americans families tend to have a stronger bond, helping the mother regardless of their marital status. Blacks realize that their apparent lack of education leaves them in a difficult situation, finding it almost impossible to support a family. In 1987 Wilson "argued that the decline in the economic position of many young black men has mad marriage an increasingly unattractive alternative for young black women. As a result, many black teenage girls may conclude that they have little to lose by having an out-of-wedlock birth, and motherhood may ant the same time, offer them some measure of respect and attention."2 This is not a good thing because, when a family is unable to support itself then they tend to turn to welfare.
Education is key to a good life. Unfortunately for them, black mothers are less likely to reach the same level of economic status than whites. A reason why might be because African-American youths tend to have lower academic standards and become more educationally handicapped than their white counterparts. In today?s society we are more aware than ever that knowledge and education is power and a key to success, without them it is very difficult to become successful in life. It has been documented time and time again that teen pregnancy and drop out rates are in fact related. Reason being that a child is an awesome responsibility and extremely time consuming. Teen parents, even if married cannot keep up with the demands of school and their child at the same time. It takes time and money to raise a child, parents do not make money sitting in a classroom. "Contrary to popular assumption, marriage is not necessarily a solution to the economic problems of the adolescent mother. A negative association has been found between premarital pregnancy and the economic standing of the adolescent after marriage. The need for immediate income constrains the husband and wife in job choices and the ability