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In August 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a landmark law that fulfilled his promise to "end welfare as we know it." The law killed the 60-year-old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. Instead, Congress gave the states money to run their own programs and required them to move many welfare recipients into the workforce. Supporters declared it a new day, the beginning of self-sufficiency for poor families. Others warned the action would push women and children into the streets, perhaps by the millions.

Find out how welfare reform has affected the lives of five women by clicking on the images above.

Find out how your state ranks in terms of welfare and foodstamp recipients, welfare check sizes, time limits poverty and unemployment rates, welfare cases closed (and why) and more.

After years of documenting poor Americans, John Biewen reflects on poverty after welfare reform.

Photos by Steve Schapiro

Listen to the radio documentary, download or read the transcript
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Major funding for American RadioWorks comes
from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

After Welfare is a production of American RadioWorks and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

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