Nearly a decade has passed since Indiana began planning its approach to welfare reform. In January 1994 Governor Evan Bayh announced an initial plan, called the “Partnership for Personal Responsibility.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approved a revised plan in December 1994 and, in May 1995, Indiana randomly assigned its entire welfare caseload (more than 60,000 families) to one of two groups for purposes of evaluation. The first was subject to the State’s new welfare reform rules and the other to its previous welfare policies. The goals of the program, as specified in 1995, were to increase clients’ employment and decrease their reliance on welfare, to make work more financially rewarding than public assistance, and to encourage responsible parenting.
Since 1995, Indiana’s welfare reform goals and approach have been consistent. Under Governor Frank O’Bannon, the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) made policy changes in 1997 and 2000 intended to strengthen welfare reform, but these changes were consistent with the program’s original goals and most of the original policies remain in place. Relatively minor changes were required as a result of enactment of welfare reform at the federal level, in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA).