With welfare reform reauthorization fast approaching, the focus for policymakers is changing from looking back to looking into the future. While poverty has fallen in recent years, welfare reform has been and will continue to be a catalyst for an ongoing discussion about poverty in this country. This debate involves such issues as: the balance between individual and social responsibility; society's obligation to those who work but remain poor; what, if anything, can be done to reduce childbearing outside of marriage; and how to break the cycle of poverty for children growing up in low-income communities.
The Summer 2001 issue of the Brookings Review titled "Welfare Reform and Beyond" features articles that examine the effects of welfare reform to date and also address its unfinished agenda.
This event, sponsored by the Brookings Welfare Reform & Beyond initiative, will begin with a brief overview of the present state of poverty in the United States. Each panelist will take a step back from the current discussion of welfare reform and reflect more broadly on where the U.S. should be going in terms of dealing with poverty. A discussion with audience participation will follow.