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Sociological Studies of Children and Youth

ISBN: 978-0-76230-967-2, eISBN: 978-1-84950-180-4

ISSN: 1537-4661

Publication date: 31 July 2003


Social policy linked to child poverty, welfare programs and needs of children has been undergoing major change in the United States. In 1996, major welfare reform was passed that eliminated the old cash assistance program of AFDC (Aid to Families of Dependent Children Program) and replaced it with a new block grant program, TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families). Advantages of the new TANF program were that it provided more flexibility to States, made the time period for which funds could be received much shorter, and therefore strongly encouraged adult welfare recipients to enter the workforce (Sherman & Sandfort, 1998; Watts, 1997). As part of this change, along with changes enacted earlier from 1984 to 1990, Medicaid eligibility for low-income children was expanded by gradually delinking Medicaid eligibility from welfare eligibility (Kronebusch, 2001). As part of a continued policy goal of expanding access to health care services to children at lower ends of the income spectrum, Congress in 1997 passed the Balanced Budget Act of that year. That act created the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This program provided an opportunity for States to participate in CHIP and thus acquire funding from the federal government to expand their health care coverage to uninsured, lower-income children. This program was particularly aimed at children of the working poor, whose parents were often in the labor force but worked for an employer who did not provide health care insurance. The numbers of these parents were expected to increase in future years, as the TANF welfare reforms decreased the number of parents on welfare who were receiving cash benefits and increased the number of parents who accepted jobs. Many of these jobs will not provide the full set of benefits that are common in many white-collar and middle income jobs (Seccombe & Amey, 1995). The legislation allowed States to expand their Medicaid programs, create a separate CHIP program, or combine the two options (Shi, Oliver & Huang, 2000).


Jacobs Kronenfeld, J. and Mathieson, K.M. (2003), "CHILD HEALTH, SOCIAL POLICY AND THE NEW CHIP PROGRAM", Sociological Studies of Children and Youth (Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 87-104.



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