Addressing Illegitimacy; The Root of Real Welfare Reform

Report Welfare

Addressing Illegitimacy; The Root of Real Welfare Reform

April 6, 1995 33 min read Download Report
George W.
Coordinator of The Heritage Foundation's Moscow Office

(Archived document, may contain errors)

1032 April 6, 1995 ADDRESSING ILLEGITIMACY THE ROOT OF REAL WELFARE REFORM INTRODUCTION At the heart of Americas welfare crisis is illegitimacy. President Clinton ,himself has recognized that welfare p lays a strong role in promoting illegitimate births and single parent families. The President has warned the nation that family disintegration is a lead ing cause of crime in the U.S? And he has predicted that, unless dramatic changes occur half of all Am e rican children will soon be born out of wedlock. But in contrast to legisla tion just passed by the House, the Clinton Administrations proposed welfare reform, the Work and Responsibility Act, basically continues current policy, promoting illegitimacy and even expanding the system? This is a tragedy. Unless Congress and the Administra tion make curbing illegitimacy the central component of a strategy to reduce welfare de pendency, reform will fail Since the onset of the War on Poverty, U.S. taxpayers have d evoted huge sums of money to providing cash, food, housing, medical care, and social services to poor and low-income Americans. In constant dollars total welfare expenditures have nearly tripled since 1975 and have increased ninefold since the beginning o f the War on Poverty in 19

65. From 1965 to the present, the t axpayers have spent $5.4 trillion on various forms of welfare assistance. Though the costs are staggering, far more alarming has been the welfare systems failure to achieve results. It is now apparent to taxpayers and Members of Congress, except those wit h a vested interest in continuing Washingtons poverty in 1 2 Presidential interview withTom Brokaw, NBC Nighrfy News, December 3,1993.

Transcript of Presidential Remarks, Ofice of the Press Secretary, The White House, Remarks by the President to the 86th Annual Holy Convocation of the Church of God in Christ, MasonTemple Church of God in Christ, Memphis,Tennessee November 13,1993.

For a discussion of the Clinton Administrations welfare reform legislation, see Robert E. Rector. How Clintons Bill Extends Wel fare As We Know It, Heritage Foundation Issue Bufferin No. 200, August 1, 1994 3 dustry, that the welfare system does not work-and in fact is reaping vast social harm by destroying marriage and promoting a tidal wave of illegitimacy.

The history of welfar e shows that good intentions alone are not enough. The marriage of good intentions and bad welfare policy in the past has had disastrous consequences. It was with the best of intentions that most liberals and many conservatives in Congress cre ated Aid to Families with Dependent Children and some 75 other welfare programs for low-income Americans-and established a mechanical declaration system for the award of AFDC benefits, thereby eliminating social investigation or the enforcement of standards of behavi o r on welfare recipients. This automatic disbursement of checks gener ally was applauded by conservatives and even some libertarians on the premise that more benefits would flow directly to the needy and fewer to program administrators and social workers. I t was never the intention of earlier reformers to channel huge amounts of money to unwed mothers and to trigger an explosion of illegitimacy. But sound welfare not only must be based on good intentions, it also must be coupled with a clear under standing of how assistance, improperly given, can harm rather than help the recipient.

Policy Changes. In order to deliver on President Clintons promise to end welfare as we know it, lawmakers must recognize the mistakes of the past and begin to undo them.

In particular, they must grapple with the rising tide of illegitimacy which is the key cause of dependence, crime, and many other social problems.

Three steps are needed to never-married women who have children out of wedlock has been a tragic mistake. This poli cy is largely the result of historical accident and subsequent political inertia. There is now a widespread understanding that this policy destroys marriage and promotes illegitimacy, thereby harming those it is intended to help. It is time for the fed er a l government to end its sixty-year-old failed policy of giving cash welfare to women who bear children out of wedlock Reform would end the entitlement nature of welfare. Welfare should no longer be a simple business of writing checks; it should become les s bureaucratic, allowing greater discretion on the part of the organization providing aid and demanding greater accountability from those receiving it.

Throughout most of U.S. history, charitable institutions recognized that sound wel fare policy must seek to mold the behavior of recipients in constructive ways. Private and public organizations granting aid insisted on responsible behavior by recipients as a condition of receiving aid. Over the past 50 years, this traditional approach to welfare has been r e placed by a new system focused on unconditional welfare entitlements. Wel fare organizations which formerly emphasized the accountability of a recipient and sought improvements in behavior and values have been transformed into giant check writing machines 8 The government should replace the current system of cash subsidies to never married mothers with alternative forms of aid. These alternatives should include fostering adoption and providing group maternity homes where unmarried mothers could reside with their children in a supervised setting. Adoption and closely super vised maternity homes were the principal means of dealing with illegitimacy before creation of Aid to Families with Dependent Children initiated the current policy of cash 0 There must be a recognition that the federal policy of providing cash subsidies 2 aid to never-married mothers. Replacing cash welfare with maternity home care will re duce, in part, the incentives to illegitimacy which are inherent in the current system and should have a significant effect in reducing the number of future out-of-wedlock births.

The maternity home also will provide a superior environment for the remaining chil dren who are born out of wedlock in the larger white THE RISE OF ILLEGITIMACY I I In 1940, when the renowned Swedish sociologist Gunnar Myrdal wrote his landmark book on American social problems, An American Dilemma, he recorded with alarm a rate of unwed motherhood of 16.2 percent among Americas nonwhite population in 19

36. The reason for this wo rry The illegitimate child is under many handicaps and seldom has the opportunity to develop into a desirable citizen. Even if he has a good mother, she cannot give him the proper care since she must earn her own living and cannot afford to place him unde r proper supervision. The absence of a father is detrimental to the development of a childs personality Too, the unwed mother tends-although there are many exceptions-to have looser morals and lower standards, and in this respect does not provide the prope r milieu for her child. It would be better both for society in general and for the mother if she had no child!

The illegitimacy problem that Myr dal warned about over fifty years ago has since exploded seechart 1 While black ille gitimacy rates have been h igher than those of whites, the rate of white illegiti macy is accelerating and now approaches the level reached by blacks during the 1960s. There is no reason to believe the social consequences Chart I The Rate of Illegitimacy 1936-1 991 60 50 40 30 20 I O I Whites I 1936 I960 I970 90 Note: I936 data are for non-hies. Source: National Center for Health Statistics Monrhly \\ lit01 Statistics Repart. Vol 42. No. 3 I993 Statistic01 Abstract ofrhe United States, I992 Binhs Stillbinhs and Infant Monolicy Stam 19

36. D. 9 4 5 Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma (New York: Harper Bros 1944). pp. 127-128.

For a summary of the relationship between illegitimacy and various other social maladies, see Patrick F. Fagan, Rising Illegitimacy: Americas Social Catastrophe. He ritage Foundation F. Y.I June 29, 1994 3 tween families headed by di vorced mothers and families headed by never married moth ers. Thereason seem to be that divorced moth tain a footing in the work force before having children and are generally older.

Never-married mothers, by con precluded by lack of support 6 ers typically ob while married or trast, often are parenthood and 6 7 8 9 D.J. Besharov and A.J. Quinn, Not All Female-Headed Households Are Created Equal, The Public Inreresr, Fall 1987 See Fag an, Rising Illegitimacy: Americas Social Catastrophe, pp. 8-9.

David Lester, Infant Mortality and Illegitimacy, Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 35, No. 5 (1992). pp. 739-740.

Christine A. Bachrach and Karen Carver, introduction to Ourcomes of Early Chil dbearing, National Institutes of Health National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) Conference Proceeding, May 1992 pp. 48-56 Chart 2 Mean Income of Families Headed by a Single Mother: 1985 Thousands of Dollars $14 I2 10 8 6 4 2 Divorced Mo thers Never-Married Mothers Source: D.J. Besharov and AJ. Quinn. Not All Female-Headed Households Are Created Equal.

The hblK Interest Fall 1987, pp. 48-56 4 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 women had a substantially higher risk of having infants with very low or moderately low birth weights.

As children born out of wedlock grow, the negative effects continue to multiply. The cognitive development (especially verbal) of these children is held back. In addition many of these children have trouble controlling thei r behavior (a difficulty known popu larly as hyperactivity This lack of control usually signifies that problems in learning will occur in later life. Project TALENT, a federal survey commissioned in 1960 which tracked the development.of 375,000 high schoo l students from 1960 through 197 1, found that children born out of wedlock were likely to have lower cognitive scores, lower educational aspirations, and a greater likelihood of becoming teenage par ents themselves.

The negative effects of a child being b orn out of wedlock continue throughout the childhood years. A 1988 University of Illinois study of adults born outside of marriage found that the longer the time spent in a sin le-parent family, the less education attained.

This held for all income levels of parents three times as likely to fail and repeat a year in grade school than are children from intact two-parent families. l5 And they are almost four times more likely to be expelled or sus pended from school. l6 The effects of being born out of wedl o ck do not end with childhood. A major analysis of national survey data confirmed that children in two-parent families have far fewer mental health and developmental health problems. Overall, children from mother-only families have about twice as many ment a l problems. l7 In addition, children from one-par ent families have less ability to delay gratification and have poorer im ulse control. They also have a weaker sense of conscience or sense of right and wrong. Moreover, the inci dence of child abuse and n e glect is much higher among single-parent families k 13 148 Children from single-parent families are 18 Joel C. Kleinman and Samuel S. Kessel, Racial Differences in Low Birth Weight. New England Journal of Medicine A. Walsh, Illegitimacy, Child-Abuse and N e glect, and Cognitive Development, Journal of Genetic Psychology, Vol. 15 1990 pp. 279-285; J.J. Card, Long Term Consequences for Children Born to Adolescent Parents, Final Report to NICHD (Palo Alto, CA, American Institute for Research, 1977 J.J. Card, Lo ngTerm Consequences for Children of Teenage Parents, Demography,Vol. 18 (1981 pp. 137-156; JaneWadswonh et al Teenage Mothering: Child Development at Five Years, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatr)l, Vol. 25, No. 2 (1984 pp. 303-3 13.

J. Brooks-Gunn and Frank Fustenberg Jr., The Children of Adolescent Mothers: Physical, Academic, and Psychological Outcomes, Developmental Review, Vol. 6 (l986 pp. 224-225.

Card, see note 1 1. supra.

Sheila F. Krein and Andrea H. Beller, Educational Attainment of Children From Single-Parent Families: Differences by Exposure, Gender and Race, Demography,Vol. 25 (May 1988 pp. 221-234.

Deborah Dawson. Family Structure and Childrens Health: United States 1988, Data from the National Health Survey Series 10: No. 178 (Hyatt sville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control National Center for Health Statistics, June 1991).


Nicholas Zill and Charlotte A. Schoenborn, Developmental, Learning, and Emotional Problems-Health of Our Nations Children, United States 19

88. Advanced Datafrom Vital and Health Statistics of the National Center for Health Statistics No. 190, November 1990.

E.M. Hetherington and B. Martin, Family Interaction, in H.C. Quay and J.S. Weny, eds Psychopathological Disorders of Childhood (New York: John Wiley Sons, 1979 pp. 247-302 Vol. 317 (1987 pp. 749-753 5 Bein born out of wedlock decreases the chances that th e child will have an intact mar Daughters of single mothers are twice as likely to be single mothers them- 2# riage selves.21 Likewise, boys from single-parent families are twice as likely to father a child out of wedlock as are boys from intact families.

One of the greatest social costs of illegitimacy is increased crime.22 Research details the strong correlation between lack of married parents and criminal activity. A major 1988 study of 11,000 individuals found that the percentage of single-parent house h olds with. children between the ages of 12 and 20 is significantly associated with rates of vio lent crime and b~rglary.2~ According to research by June ONeill of Baruch College City University of New York, young black men raised in single-parent families are twice as likely to engage in criminal activities when compared to young black men in two-par ent families, even after holding constant family income, urban residence, neighborhood environment, and parents education. And growing up in a single-parent f a mily in a neighborhood with many other single-parent families on welfare triples the chance that a young black man will engage in criminal activity.24 Finally, women who give birth out of wedlock are more likely to go on welfare and to spend more years on welfare once enrolled (72 percent of single mothers 17 years of age or younger receive AFDC).25 If these women do marry, their marriages are 92 percent more likely to end in divorce than are the marriages of women raised in two-parent fami lies.26 And bei n g raised in a single-parent family triples the probability that a child will become a welfare recipient as an adult. 27 HOW AMERICA USED TO DEAL WITH FATHERLESS CHILDREN Because of the relationship between illegitimacy and social pathologies, how the wel f are system treats illegitimacy is of great social significance. The most important welfare program in this regard is Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). While it now seems a permanent feature of Americas political landscape, AFDC is a relative ly re cent creation. In fact, before 1915 there was no public or governmental relief at all for un 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 Walsh, Illegitimacy. Child-Abuse and Neglect, and Cognitive Development.

Neil Bennett and David Bloom, The Influence of Non-marital Childbearing on the Formation of Marital Unions. paper given at NICHD conference on Outcomes of Early Childbearing, May 1992.

Sara S. McLanahan, Family Structure and Dependency: Early Transitions to Female Household Headship, Demography For a review of the professional literature linking illegitimacy with violent crime, see Patrick F. Fagan, The Real Root Causes of Violent Crime: The Breakdown of Marriage, Family, and Community, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No 1026, March 1995.

Douglas Smith and G. Roger Jarjoura, Social Structure and Criminal Victimization, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 25, No. 1 (February 1988 pp. 27-52.

M. Anne Hill and June ONeill, Underclass Behaviors in the United States: Measurement and Analysis of Determinants New York: City University of New York, Baruch College, March 1990).


Ibid. Irwin Garfinkel and Sara S. McLanahan, Single Mothers and Their Children: A New American Dilemma (Washington D.C The Urban Institute Press, 1986 p. 31 Vol. 5, NO. 1 (1 988 pp. 1-16 6 wed mothers, even at the state and local levels, aside from indoor workhouse relief in poorhouses with undifferentiated populations. Unwed motherhood then was a personal catastrophe for the mother, and the rate of Occurrence was extremely l o w. An elaborate network of private charities grew up to aid so-called fallen women, an expression that to day sounds quaint and surely would be deemed politically incorrect in official Washing ton. These charities provided assistance largely in the form o f private maternity homes for unmarried mothers.

In Cleveland, for example, by 1925 there were five private1 sponsored maternity homes large enough to serve all of the citys unwed mothers. These group homes gen erally were not limited to the middle-class w hite population. In fact, during the 1920s a sizable number of homes for African-American mothers were created, including the Phyllis Wheatley House in Chicago, the Harriet Tubman House in Boston (established by the black women of the Womens Christian Tem p erance Union and an interracial effort the National Association for the Protection of Colored Women, which operated houses in Baltimore, New York, Norfolk, Philadelphia, and Wa~hington There is a substantial body of professional literature devoted to the m anagement of such homes, which stressed parenting skills, mutual aid, nutritional and medical services, moral and religious train ing, and placing children for adoption. These homes typically kept mothers for an aver age of 20 months, and about 60 percent of the children were placed for ad~ption Youth, convened by President Theodore Roosevelt, recommended that cash relief be given to children of parents of worthy character [with] reasonably efficient and deserv ing mothers preferably in the form of private charity.31 Thereafter, a movement fu eled by sympathy for widows, particularly war widows, began to secure enactment of state mothers pension laws.

Organized private charities, experienced in relief of unwed mothers, vehemently op posed these seemingly mo dest proposals. They were concerned, in particular, that such cash aid would extend beyond widows and would begin to promote divorce, desertion and illegitimacy. They expressed grave concerns on several grounds, all of them remark ably prescient A Federal policy began to change in 19

09. The White House Conference on Children and 28 29 30 31 M.J. Morton, Fallen Women, Federated Charities and Maternity Homes, 1913-1973. 62 Social Service Review 61-82 1988) discusses Cleveland. For other studies of maternity homes, see J. Brumberg, Ruined Girls: Changing Community Responses to Illegitimacy in Upstate New York, 1890- 1920, 18 Journal of Social History 246-272 (1984 R.P. Kunzel The Professionalism of Benevolence: The Florence Crittenton Homes, 22 Journal of So cial History 1-43 (1988 R.W.

Sedlack, Young Women and the City, 23 History of Education Quarterly, 1-28 (1983 See generally Marvin Olasky The Tragedy of American Compassion (Washington, D.C Regnery Gateway, 1990 George W. Liebmann. The AFDC Conundrum: A Ne w Look at an Old Institution, 38 Social Work, January 1993, pp. 36-43.

A. Billingsley and J.M. Giovanni, Children of the Storm: Black Children and American Child Welfare (San Diego Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972).

On functioning of the homes, see K. Barrett, Some Practical Suggestions on the Conduct of a Rescue Home (Salem, NH Ayer Press, 1903 R.S. Barrett, Care of the Unmarried Mother (New York: Garland Press, 1929 Florence Crittenton Foundation, The Brother of Gi r ls (New York: Florence Crittenton Foundation, 1910 0. Wilson, Fifry Years Work With Girls (Salem, NH: Ayer Press, 1933 and, for a later period, P. Rains, Moral Reinstatement: The Characteristics of Maternity Homes, American Behavioral Scientist, Vol. 14 ( 1971 pp. 219-235.

R. Lubove, The Struggle for Social Security, 1900-1935 (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1960 p. 92 7 First, they argued that cash relief would undermine family and neighborhood responsibil ity, including that of the extend ed family, the great principle of famil solidarity calling upon the strong members of the family to support the ~eak.~Refusal to give aid, they said, brings relatives and friends from under cover.33 Second, they argued that cash relief would erode work in c entives, would cultivate the pauper spirit, [and] would increase pauperism, parasitism, and dependen~e Third, they argued that cash relief would destroy the beneficent effects of social work since voluntary. philanthropy combined relief with careful inves t igation and diag nosis of each case,*35 financial aid was a very minor, if not negligible element of family rehabilitati~n and the government would fail to realize the importance of attracting competent trained administrator Fourth, they argued that it is a dangerous experiment [to try] to solve social problems by merely giving money.38 Mary Richmond, the dean of social workers in her time, commented that The claim is made that it is only more income that is needed that personal service, supervision, conti n uous oversight and care are not only super fluous but even impertinent. If individualized care is not necessary at this point, if casework had no place, then we are confronted here with the solitary exception in the whole range of social endeavor Human be i ngs are different, and to et so cially helpful results we have to do different things for different people. 38 Of more significance, private-sector social workers foresaw the enormous growth of what is now known as the poverty industry. Cash relief would c reate lobbies for more relief, they said, since recipients will think they have a claim on it which they will urge more strongly than if it comes from private sources and this will create special interest groups to exploit the public treasury seeking not a lms, but their right to share.40 This approach also would prove socially counterproductive: Cash relief, according to Homer Folks, a prominent social worker, would tension desertion or illegitimacy [and place] a 1 premium on these crimes against society S u ch farsighted criticisms on the part of private charitable institutions did persuade the several dozen states which enacted mothers pension laws during this period to severely 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 M. H. Leff, Consensus for Reform: The Mothers Pen sion Movement in the Progressive Era, 47 Social Service Review F. Almy, Public or Private Outdoor Relief, 1900 Proceedings National Conference of Charities and Corrections (New York: George H. Ellis, 1900 pp. 137ff.

New York Commission on Relief forwidowed Mothers, Proceedings (New York: Arno 1914 p. 1

31. See also Leff.

Consensus for Reform.

Lubove, The Struggle for Social Security. 1900-1935, p. 92 bid p. 107.

Leff, Consensus for Reform, p. 402.

National Conference of Charities and Corrections, Proceedings (Boston: George H. Ellis, 1912 p. 490.

Motherhood and Pensions, in M. Richmond, The Long View (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1930 p. 363.

Lubove, The Struggle for Social Securiry. 1900-1935, p. 107.

Homer Folks, quoted in W. Bell, Aid to Dep endent Children (New York: Columbia University Press, 1965 p 7. The mothers pension controversy is illustrated by the materials in E.P. Bullock, Selected Articles on Mothers Pension Laws New York: H.W. Wilson, 1915 397-4 17 (1 973 8 restrict eligibility f o r cash assistance in ways which denied relief to unwed mothers and avoided creation of Backers of the state laws de scribed them as embodying all the principles of case diagnosis and treatment that have been worked out so carefully by the private agencies in the past.42 The pen sion programs were targeted pri marily to widows and to married women who had been abandoned rather than to un married women who gave birth out of wedlock see chart 3 rverse incentives which could boost the out-of-wedlock birth rate chart 3 Recipients of Mothers Pensions: 1921 Widow 49.477 Divorced 1.396 Deserted 3,296 Disabled husband 4,JW Unwed 55 Total Pensioners: 60, I I9 Source: US. Childrens Bureau. Mothers Pension lorn I92

1. See also the later figures in T. Skocpol. htecting Mothers and Soldiers 1994 In 1921, only two states, Michigan and Nebraska, allowed unwed mothers to receive mothers pensions, and only 1 percent of the recipients in Michigan were unwed moth er By 1931, the picture had not changed very much. Some 82 perc e nt of mothers pension recipients were widows, a fact stressed by U.S. Childrens Bureau witnesses tes tifying for AFDC at the 1935 Senate hearings.44 A POLICY ACCIDENT CASH AID TO UNWED MOTHERS The advent of the AFDC program in 1935 made possible both the c hange in Americas welfare system and the ensuing social disaster. AFDC, for the first time, created a na tional welfare program of cash aid to never-married women who had children out of wed lock. This critical change, extending cash aid to cover illegiti m acy, was basically a policy accident; a small cabal of bureaucrats engineered the plan without the participation or knowledge of the responsible Cabinet officer, Franklin D. Roosevelts Secretary of La bor Frances Perkins 42 Lubove, The Struggle for Social Security, 1900-1935, p. 108 43 E.O. Lundberg, Aid to Mothers with Dependent Children, 98 Annuls 97-105 (1921 Lundberg was Director of the Social Services section of the Childrens Bureau 44 R. Stevens, Srururory Hisrory of the United Srures: Income Securit y (New York: Chelsea House: 1970 p. 120, citing hearings on S. 1 130 before the Senate Finance Committee, 74th Congress, 1st Session (1933, at pp. 337-494 9 The Aid to Families with Dependent Children legislation was based on a report written by Katherine L enroot and Martha Eliot of the Childrens Bureau, with the help of former Bureau chief Grace Abb~tt!~ Drawing from this report, the Roosevelt Administrations bill was a product of a five-member Cabinet committee that included Secretary of Labor Perkins. At the Senate hearings on the legislation, Lenroot-noted the limited scope of the program. Abbott likewise pointed out that in 193 1, some 82 percent of mothers pen sion recipients were children of widows-or, as Abbott put it, nice children from nice familie s . The House report described the bill as a measure for aiding widowed, sepa rated, or divorced mothers.46 The critical feature of the bill-the provision of aid to never-married mothers-was left unclear bly intended either by the Roosevelt Administration o r by the original sponsors of the legislation. It has evolved into precisely the sort of negative program feared by repre sentatives of private charitable institutions who had argued many years earlier that cash assistance would be a direct incentive to th e abandonment of women and to illegitimacy.

The Cabinet officer most responsible for advancing the AFDC legislation, Secretary Perkins, revealed to an interviewer in 1983 that she had not understood that unwed moth ers were included in the new legislation She felt the Childrens Bureau let her down o n the provision of aid to mothers with dependent children. She maintained that she always thought a dependent mother was a widow with small children or one whose husband had been disabled in an industrial accident or one who married a neer-do-well who had deserted her or hit the bottle. She said it never occurred to her, in view of the fact that shed been active in drives for homes that took care of mothers with illegitimate children, that these mothers would be called dependent in the new legislation. She blamed the huge&kgitimacy rates among blacks on aid to mothers with dependent children.

Thus, the federal government embarked on the momentous policy of providing cash as sistance to never-married mothers surreptitiously and largely by accident. There was no clear debate and no consensus on the new policy. In the decades which have passed since the creation of AFDC, it has become clear that those who warned of the disastrous conse quences of such a policy had great foresight Tragically, the AFDC program h a s taken a very different course from the one ostensi THE EROSION OF STANDARDS AND DECLINE OF SOCIAL WORK The creation of AFDC presaged another trend in welfare: the replacement of the social work focus on character and behavior with a new bureaucratic foc u s on income mainte nance or check writing. At the time AFDC was being debated in Congress, even some of 45 S. Ware, Beyond Suffrage: Women in the New Deal (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981 p. 99 46 Stevens, Statutory History, note 26, p. 152, citing House Report No. 615.74th Congress, 1st Session, April 5, 1935 47 G.D. Reilly, Madame Secretary, in K. Louchheim ed.. The Making ofrhe New Deaf: The Insiders Speak (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), p. 177 10 its supporters expressed c o ncerns about potentially negative impact on effective private social work. For example, while Grace Abbott, the former Childrens Bureau chief, sup ported the AFDC bill She wanted [AFDC] given to the Childrens Bureau where it could be integrated into a pro g ram of social services. She feared that placing the program in a large new administrative structure completely outside the states mothers pension laws would result in loss of standards and a program that would take on vestiges of-poor relief!8 But AFDC wa s made part of the new Social Security Administration, and cash pay ments were divorced from social services in the federal bureaucracy.

At the state level, the demise of the social work approach, with its emphasis on foster ing responsible behavior and di scouraging illegitimacy, was slower. In many states, legis latures enabled social workers to place limitations on AFDC which made it difficult or unattractive for never-married mothers to receive cash aid. With such restrictions in place, the tendency of A FDC to promote illegitimacy was constrained. In addition, case workers were given authority to modify or withhold benefits in order to ensure responsi ble behaviors among those mothers on welfare; caseworkers could reduce or end bene fits, for example, if the mother abused alcohol or drugs, or failed to get medical checkups for the child, or allowed the child to be consistently truant from school THE WELFARE RIGHTS MOVEMENT All this changed as a result of the welfare rights movement sponsored by the White H ouse Office of Economic Opportunity in the 1960s. After existing state suitable home and other restrictions, which kept unwed mothers off the rolls, were attacked suc cessfully by the Legal Services program, the coup de grace to the social work approach i n AFDC was administered, by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Goldberg v. Kelly (1970 the Court imposed elaborate hearing requirements on each decision to deny welfare benefits to a person or to require specified behavior of recipients. This eliminated the practi cality of administrative discretion. The immense significance of this decision was realized im mediately by perhaps the most distinguished federal judge then sitting, the late Henry J.

Friendly, who succinctly described it as mak[ing] government unworkable .Judge Friendly vainly proposed instead an ombudsman system of administrative reviews like those prevailing in Scandinavia and France, on the premise that much of the wel fare litigation arises from misguided acts of lowly and overpressed officials which t heir superiors would gladly correct-if only they knew of them.49 Faced with the need to provide thousands of Goldberg hearings if assistance were de nied or conditioned, the states gave up efforts to condition the granting of funds on their proper use or t o seek to influence the behavior of recipients. Instead, states adopted a fed erally encouraged declaration system for determining eligibility for welfare benefits. 11 48 L.B. Costin, Two Sistersfor Social Justice: A Biography ofGrace and Edith Abbott (Ch a mpaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1983 p. 224 49 H.J. Friendly, Some Sort of Hearing, 123 Universify of Pennsylvania Law Review 1267 (1975 11 TI legitimacy rates skyrocketed. The presence of economic incentives to single-parenthood combined with a new moral permissiveness fostered by new birth-control technology and liberalized abortion rules, thus created a new culture in which women were prepared to run personal risks which they previously had avoided.

Since social workers no longer had any effec tive say in the distribution of welfare benefits, the states rapidly concluded that there was no need for high-priced professionals to administer AFDC. Social services therefore were divorced administratively from AFDC and supplanted by check-writing agen c ies (rechristened Income Maintenance Administrations The professional literature of social work now laments the fact that practitioners no longer have any meaningful role in addressing the nations most serious social problem and instead serve only the mid d le class. The result, as Professor William H. Simon of Stanford University has pointed out, was the demise of the personal ap proach of the professional social worker to some of the most difficult social problems The social work view of public administrat i on [involved] informal but complex judgment, decentralized administration, and professionalism-a professional culture in which people were socialized for public responsibility supplemented by relatively decentralized review If formalization and bureaucrat i zation reduced the problems of coercive arbitrariness and invasion of privacy, they exacerbated the problems of indifference and irresponsibility. They gave the poor more rights, but reduced the availability of the advice and assistance needed to enforce t hem. They mitigated the experience of punitive moralism, but they also eliminated the experience of trust and personal care [and] eliminated the influence over public assistance of a profession dominated by women social work) i favor of professions domina ted by men (law and management Jb E REVIVAL OF MATERNITY HOMES In the postwar period, AFDC has largely replaced its predecessor: maternity homes.

But such homes have not disappeared entirely. From 1937 to 1961, the AFDC law made no provision for either ins titutional or foster care. In 1962, maternity homes, which by then had diminished in number and become largely middle-class institutions, were made eligible for some government payments. But these institutions were never made part of any comprehensive nat i onal strategy to address problems of dependence and illegiti macy. By 1966, a directory of such institutions showed there were still 194 homes for un wed mothers in the United States, 70 percent of them run by the Catholic Church, the Sal vation Arm or th e Florence Crittenton Association (now the Child Welfare League of America)5In 1984, the Child Welfare League published a directory of 35 such homes twenty of which received AFDC reimbursements and ten of which received food stamp assistance. 52 50 W.H. Si m on, The Invention and Reinvention of Welfare Rights, 44 Maryland Law Review 1,23,35-36 (1985 51 U.S. Childrens Bureau, Number and Kind of Childrens Residential Institutions in the United States (Washington, D.C U.S. Government Printing Office, 1967); U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Maternity Homes and Residential Facilities for Unwed Mothers (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966 12 Spurred by the right-to-life movement and a growing number of organizations con cerned wi t h increasingly serious inner-city social problems, there has been a revival of in terest in maternity homes. In California, for example, the legisature in 1977 enacted the Pregnancy Freedom of Choice Act, making maternity homes providing services through o ut pregnancy and for fourteen days thereafter eligible for reimbursement payments at the rate of $965 per month. The statute declared that It is the policy of the State that when an unmarried person under 21 years of age is pregnant, she shall be provided the services of a licensed maternity home at her request or the request of her parent or par ents. Annual.appropriations of $2A million are authorized by the statute.53 In urban areas such as Los Angeles and New York City local private groups have es tabl i shed new homes. A survey in 1994 listed 215 homes?4 In response to these efforts U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (D-NJ) introduced eight pieces of legislation in 1993 designed to help community groups address their local problems. One of these measures was S 11 3 3, which would provide up to $250 million to establish residential programs for low income and young mothers during the third trimester of the mothers pregnancy and the first year of life. Under the Bradley legislation, the program would provide the mothe r with health and substance abuse screening or treatment, and education in parenting.

This bill further provided that the program must include cognitive stimulation as well as immunizations and other care for the child? It is to be reintroduced during the 104th Congress. The 1993 Budget Reconciliation bill contained a provision56 sponsored by Senator Bradley allowing communities in empowerment zones to use federal funds to provide residential drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs that offer co m prehensive services for pregnant women and mothers and their children.

Measures like the Bradley bill recognize that maternity homes not only avoid the ab sence of responsibility which accompanies unrestricted cash benefits, but also discourage further b irths out of wedlock, assist adoption, and foster parenting and employment skills. Further, they remove young mothers for a time from a dependency culture. They provide adequate prenatal ~are.5~ They also foster mutual aid and self-respect and pro vide co ntinuing assistance and supervision to their former residents.

Beyond these legislative developments, a number of traditional group homes have an nounced plans to expand their services to young women seeking help, including the Lulu Belle Stewart Center in Detroit, Michigan?8 the Florence Crittenton Home in Wheeling 52 Child Welfare League of America, Substitute Care Programs for Young Mothers and Their Infants (New York: CWLA 1984 J. Miles, Adoption Agencies, Orphanages and Maternity Homes: An Historical Directory (New York: Phileas Day 1981 53 Wests CaliforniaWelfare and Institutions Code, secs. 16145-1615 I; see also 22 California Code of Regulations 303 et seq. It was last amended in 19

90. See California Department of Social Services. Adoption Branch, Handbook of Policies and Procedures: Licensed Materniry Home Program (November 1992 54 E.E. Yorclan, M.D., and R.A. Yordan, M.D., Maternity Homes for Adolescents: A National Portrait, 7 Adolescent Pediatric Gynecology 214-219 (1994 55 Statement of Senator Bill Bradley, March 18, 1993, part

6. On the Bradley proposal, see Congressional Record (daily ed March 18, 1993 56 42 V.S.C.A. S 1397(f)(b I 57 On the correlation between illegitimacy and low pre-natal care utilization, see Nicholas Eberstadt, Parents a nd the Districts Endangered Children, The Washington Times, February 22 and 23, 1994 13 West Vir ~nia Crittenton Services of Toledo, Ohio;6o and the Crittenton Center of Los The most favorable development in revitalizing these traditional private institut i ons was the group of amendments to the AFDC statute in the Family Support Act of 1988 which expressly allowed states to tie AFDC assistance to residence of the mother with her parents or in an approved maternity home.62 Unfortunately, this power has not y e t been exercised extensively by the states Angeles. 6 WHAT TO DO ABOUT ILLEGITIMACY It is clear that illegitimacy must be deterred by moving back to the structure of disin centives favored by the original generation of social workers: no cash aid as a mat t er of right, the active fostering of adoptions, and the moral education and reformation of moth ers in maternity homes run by the voluntary sector. The only major comprehensive wel fare reform legislation that channels welfare funds into adoption services and closely su pervised group homes for young, unmarried women and their children is the Welfare Re form Act of 1994 (S. 2134, H.R. 4566 sponsored by Senators Lauch Faircloth (R-NC and Hank Brown (R-CO) and Representatives JimTalent (R-MO) and Tim Hutchin s on R-AR)63 The Faircloth-Talent bill takes the first clear step in reversing the sixty-year-old mis taken policy of federal cash subsidies to women who bear children out of wedlock. The bill intends to remove or diminish many of the current welfare incent i ves which promote illegitimacy. The legislation provides that one year after enactment, women age 2 1 and under who prospectively bear children out of wedlock will no longer be eligible for di rect cash, food, or housing aid from the federal government. E ligibility for direct federal aid will be restored only if the mother subsequently marries or if the child is adopted.

The bill focuses initially on limiting direct welfare to young unmarried women pre cisely because the consequences of illegitimacy are most severe among members of that age group. The bill would raise the age cutoff to

26. But four years after the date of enact 58 Using teen fathers as helpers, this institution tries to reinstate and expand the transitional living program for young mother s and infants. Lulu Belle Stewart Center, Inc Annual Reporr, 1992, p. 4 59 Florence Crittenton clients receive medical attention and prenatal counseling and care resulting in an average maternal weight gain of 30 pounds or more, an average newborn birth w e ight of 7 1/2 pounds and average Apgar scores of 7.5 at one minute after delivery and 8.8 at five minutes following delivery Apgar is the standard ten-point scoring device used to determine the overall health of an infant at birth). Florence Crittenton Ho m e and Services. Buds of Hope, 1991-92 1992, p. 2 60 They come in here kicking and screaming, because many are court-ordered. They hate the rules. the staff, the food. But then they go through the steps, and end up crying when they have to leave. Lori King . Toledo Crittenton Services Provides Open Door for Teens, Womens News, April 1993, p. 4 61 [The] only agency in Los Angeles County that provides long-term residential treatment and foster family placement for neglected and abused non-pregnant or pregnant g irls and young mothers between the ages of 13 and I8 and their babies from birth to age three. All are wards or dependents of the Juvenile Court. Crittenton Center forYoung Women and Infants, Annual Report 1990-1991, p. 4 62 42 U.S.C. sec. 6 02(A 43), as a dded by Public Law IO 0485,Title IV, Sec. 403,102 Stat. 2397 (October 13, 1988 63 Rector, How Clintons Bill Extends Welfare As We Know It. pp. 12-13 14 ment, the bill would expand the limits on aid to cover all women under 26 who give birth out of wedlock .

However, the Faircloth-Talent bill does not propose simply to go cold turkey by de nying aid with no alternative. Under the bill, all aid which ordinarily would have gone di rectly to the unmarried mother is given instead to the state government for a spe c ial grant. The grant may be used for two purposes: 1) to prevent out-of-wedlock pregnancies and 2) to support those children who are born out of wedlock through alternative means that do not involve conventional welfare payments to the mother. The bill en courages use of these funds for pregnancy prevention, adoption, and closely supervised group homes for unmarried mothers and their children.

Under the type of group maternity home envisioned in the Faircloth-Talent bill, the be havior of the mothers would be closely monitored. They would receive no cash for drugs cigarettes, alcohol, and non-working boyfriends. Instead, constructive behavior would be required. For example, mothers in the group home could be required to take parenting classes, to do their h o mework, and to complete high school. Thus, while the group mater nity home would provide much less encouragement than the current welfare system for out-of-wedlock births it would also provide a higher quality of environment for children born out of wedlo ck.

The Faircloth-Talent bill comes full circle, returning to adoption and supervised mater nity homes as means of grappling with illegitimacy-the very policies which Secretary Frances Perkins favored as an alternative to AFDC sixty years ago. It does not cut off teenage mothers, but insures that aid to them is properly supervised and that they are not ignored. It does not punish their children; rather, it insures them the pre- and post-natal care and drug-free environments that they now are too often deni e d A more limited form of the Faircloth-Talent proposal was included in the Republican Contract With America and in the welfare reform legislation enacted recently by the House. Under this legislation, federal cash aid would be denied to women under 18 who prospectively had children out of wedlock. As in the Faircloth-Talent bill, the funds would be redirected to pregnancy prevention, adoption, and group maternity homes The Cost of Maternity Homes The concept of maternity homes for unmarried mothers is gain i ng support from both sides of the political spectrum. For example, use of maternity homes was advocated by the liberal Progressive Policy Institute, a research organization close1 linked to the Democratic Leadership Council, in a 1994 report on teen pregn a ncy. Criticism of su pervised group homes is largely restricted to the charge that they will be far more costly than the current system of direct cash, food, and housing aid to unmarried mothers. Sev eral points can be made in response to this charge. Fir s t, the Faircloth-Talent legislation and similar bills do not call for a direct one-for-one exchange in which all young unmar l.5 64 The Fairclotmalent bill restricts the use of federal funds only. Any state would be free to use its own funds to continue t o give cash welfare to never-married mothers if it so chose 65 Progressive Policy Institute, Preventable Calamiry: Rolling Buck Teen Pregnancy, Policy Report No. 22, November 1994 pp. 17-18 15 ried mothers who otherwise would have enrolled in AFDC will be p laced in maternity homes. Instead, the backers of the bill predict a sharp redirection in the number of out-of wedlock births as well as an increase in the number of young mothers supported by fam ily and friends rather than welfare. Thus, the number of y oung mothers who would enter group homes would be only a fraction of those who would enroll in AFDC under the cur rent welfare system.

Second, mothers on AFDC currently must be housed somewhere. The simple fact is that congregate housing, in which bath and kitchen facilities are shared, costs less than providing a separate housing unit for each mother. The extra cost, if any, involved in a maternity home will come from the additional supervision provided. But welfare systems already provide a large array o f fragmented social services to mothers on AFDC, often designed to deal with crises after the fact. These services could be provided better by ma ternity home supervisors on site.

Most states currently assign portions of their bureaucracies to fitful and i nadequate ef forts to ensure that young mothers attend school, secure required immunizations, keep prenatal medical appointments, and refrain from physical abuse of their children. All these functions are performed more appropriately by a resident supervi s or. Even the most rudimentary regime of residential supervision by a trained adult in control of the purse strings should suffice to reduce inner-city rates of infant mortality that are now of Third World proportions.66 The states pay for the absence of t his supervision in the emergency room and pediatric hospital components of their Medicaid programs, in their special edu cation programs and institutions for the retarded, and ultimately in their juvenile justice and prison systems.

Third, there are a numb er of ways to keep the costs of maternity homes low. The cities in which the AFDC caseload is greatest are, by no particular coincidence, those that also are depopulating most rapidly. Characteristically, they possess a number of recently closed hospitals or wings of hospitals. In consequence of the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, many state governments also possess hospitals or wings of hospitals which are susceptible of adaptive use. Finding physical facilities for maternity homes would not s e em to present a large problem. The use of wings of operating hospitals also would greatly facilitate the rendition of medical services necessary in the first few months of life and now gravely neglected by this population. Corridors of public housing com plexes also could be sealed off from the rest of the housing units and converted into su pervised group quarters.

Estimates that maternity homes will cost as much as $7,000 to $30,000 per mother per year to operate are grossly inflated. Such estimates are based on facilities where the staff to-client ratio is as high as 1 to

2. Clearly, homes can be operated at much lower ex pense, as is demonstrated by many small church-related homes s onsored by organiza- tions like Loving and Caring, Inc., of Lancaster , Pennsylvania. 67 66 See Eberstadt. Parents and the Districts Endangered Children 67 See Loving and Caring, Inc Operating a Group Housing Ministry (1994 Maternity Home Manuals (1994 16 CONCLUSION It is time Congress fixed the blunder that worried Frances Pcrkins in 19

35. Unwed motherhood should no longer create entitlement to public cash aid or be perceived by teenage girls as a path to economic independence. Rather, as the timid 1988 Family Sup port Act began to suggest, young unwed mothers should recei ve their principal assis tance from their own families where possible and from private group homes subsidized with government funds, and supervised living arrangements sponsored by them, where family support is unavailable.

It will not work to provide mat ernity homes merely as an add-on to the current welfare system. Governments simultaneously must stop providing recipients with other more con venient and attractive types of aid. Maternity homes, with the requirements they place on their residents, will b e widely used only if the alternative of responsibility-free cash pay ments is no longer provided to women who bear children they cannot support.

Decades of experience have demonstrated that the policy of defining cash benefits as rights of teenage mothers has failed. The effect of the policy has been not to assist such mothers in becoming part of society, but to isolate them at a time when their greatest need is for education, supervision, and direction. Those who claim that reversing the pol icy will gen e rate abandoned children, a new class of homeless, or teenage prostitution ig nore the existence of responsible alternatives to it. Government should provide support for maternity ho.mes and social assistance. It also should give the institutions and socia l workers with whom young mothers become affiliated the means to provide limited super vised assistance where it is needed. But if illegitimacy and dependency are to be reduced unsupervised cash aid must be brought to an end, and teenagers must be told in unmistak able terms that supervision-and not a fraudulent form of independence-is the conse quence of irresponsibility.

Prepared for The Herita e Foundation by George W. Liebmann 6 68 Baltimore, Maryland, attorney George W. Liebmann, P.A served as counsel to the Maryland State Department of Social Services 1967-1969, and executive assistant to the Governor of Maryland, 1979-1980 17


George W.

Coordinator of The Heritage Foundation's Moscow Office