WAGES Planning & GIS
a joint project with

DCF - District 11District 11


The Geography of Welfare Reform in Southeast Florida
(382KB - PowerPoint Presentation)

The Geography of Welfare Reform in Southeast Florida - Part One (Draft June 23, 1999)
(1.2MB Adobe Acrobat PDF File)

Welfare reform has been ongoing since 1996 with the passage of the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act. In Florida it is being implemented through the WAGES Coalitions that are organized into 24 districts throughout the state. Implementation and monitoring is being done at this district level, which in a few cases is one county area. This is true in southeast Florida for Districts 9 and 10 that cover Palm Beach and Broward Counties, respectively, while District 11 covers both Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.

A characteristic of southeast Florida is for people to live in one county yet work in another (SFRPC, 1995). Recent studies have shown that single mothers make more and longer trips than married mothers and that the vast majority of welfare mothers are single (Annalynn Lacombe, 1998). This raises the question of whether a regional approach may be beneficial to further the objectives of Welfare Reform.

The South Florida Regional Planning Council's staff possesses broad experience and expertise for understanding the regional implications of social, economic and environmental issues. The Department of Children & Families, District 11, Office of Research and Planning was formed in 1993 specifically to address the social and economic issues impacting the most vulnerable population groups (i.e., children, elderly, poor and disabled) in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. The two organizations have unique skills and similar missions with regard to welfare-to-work and its impact on the region. It is for this reason that the SFRPC and the District 11 Office of Research and Planning have formed a working group to pursue a project that will advance and refine regional concerns.

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The spatial mismatch between WAGES participants, childcare, and jobs is a barrier to moving into the workforce. Many WAGES recipients live in central cities while jobs are in the suburbs. This mismatch may be overcome by transportation resources or intensified by inadequate access (i.e., working late evenings when traditional transportation services are reduced or concluded). In addition, access to childcare is a critical service necessary for welfare mothers to move into the workforce. Therefore, transition into the workforce is predicated on the ability to access appropriate jobs and childcare resources through the available transportation resources.

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This project will use a geographic information system (GIS) to assess access to jobs and public transportation resources for WAGES recipients living in the region. The analysis will include Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. Project products will include the development of database(s) and appropriate map(s) showing the spatial relationship of key data elements (e.g., client, employment/employers, and transportation). The outcome is to determine regional access to transportation resources, regional journey to work linkages, discover how well transportation resources meet work trip needs.

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A. Contact the two other DCF districts and Treasure Coast RPC to assess their involvement needs and assistance.
B. Conduct literature search on similar projects to glean approach methodologies, data sources, and issues applicable to this project.
C. Collect/compile data:
1. WAGES Clients
2. Employment/Employers/Jobs
3. Public Transportation
4. Childcare/daycare
5. Food Stamp
6. Other federal assistance data (e.g., unemployment compensation)
D. Prepare GIS Reports
E. Evaluate process and outcome
F. Prepare final report

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Initial meeting August 6, 1998
Literature search August 25, 1998
Second meeting/Project refinement August 25, 1998
Third meeting/data elements September 15, 1998
Fourth meeting October 15, 1998
Database assembly and analysis September 15 - October 30, 1998
Draft report November
Final report/project completion December 1, 1998

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Trip chaining
Various work shifts
Fragmented transportation systems
Emergency transportation services
Transportation funding
Human capital/volunteerism
Job skills/educational mismatch
Multiple barriers to employment
Living wages

NOTE: We wish to acknowledge that several counties are currently studying the mismatch of WAGES participants to jobs and other support services at the county or local area level.

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South Florida Regional Planning Council, 1995. Strategic Regional Policy Plan: pages 105-106.
Annalynn Lacombe, 1998. Welfare Reform and Access to Jobs in Boston. BTS98-A-02: pages 2-3.

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This page and all contents prepared by the South Florida Regional Planning Council.
Last updated on 10 December 2008