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Abstract

The Welfare State of the mid-twentieth century has been supplanted by the rise of the Contractual State, miring welfare reform in the United States in this worldwide reinvention of government. Moving people from welfare to work became a primary goal of federal welfare policy with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program it created. This new structure expressly permits states to devolve welfare policy and operations further still, to the county and city levels, and even to private vendors. As a result of this change, new issues of accountability and democracy arise. This Article probes the deficits of Contractual Welfare and canvasses potential solutions. In addition, it contains a case study of Baltimore's own implementation - under a strong "work first" philosophy, and in substantial reliance upon public and private vendors for the delivery of work-related services - of the TANF program.

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