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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 1999

Ryan Announces Record Numbers Of Illinoisans Are Leaving State Welfare Rolls For Work

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that nearly 100,000 Illinoisians have successfully moved from welfare to work over the past two years.

The current number of people within the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANIF) program who are available to work totals 82,057, a 59 percent decline from 1994. A recent Department of Human Services study showed that 86 percent of people leaving welfare have not returned for assistance after one year and 74 percent have not returned for assistance after two years.

"Through innovative strategies developed by the Department of Human Services, more families are achieving self-sufficiency. Since July of 1997, more than 97,000 people have earned their way off Illinois' welfare rolls," Ryan said. "Typically, that means former welfare recipients are earning more than three times what they would have received from a welfare check."

Currently, five Illinois counties; Schuyler, Putnam, Brown, Hardin and Moultrie; have 100 percent of their TANF caseloads working. In Chicago, seven inner-city DHS offices have more than 50 percent of their caseload working.

"A child is better off if he or she is living in a home where the responsible adult works. You can't find a single child in Illinois who deserves to be on welfare, " said DHS Secretary Howard A. Peters III. "Welfare reform has done more than just help families go to work. It has created the opportunity to really build better communities."

Illinois' work participation rate exceeds the federal requirement for the latest reporting period. Illinois' average work participation rate for TANF clients is 56 percent. The federal government requires that 35 percent of the client caseload be working or in a work related activity. The state's average two family work participation rate is 93 percent, which exceeds the federal requirement of 90 percent.

Under the state's welfare reform policies, DHS clients who are determined to be eligible for benefits are the assessed for needed services. They are then linked with training, employment services, child care and local resources to ensure that services meet the family's needs and promote self-sufficiency and independence.


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