Click to read Block Grants Were THE Solution to Welfare Reform

Mission Statement

The Carleson Center Welfare Reform Action Fund (WRAF) supports proven public policies that reduce welfare dependence, restore fiscal integrity to government spending, and encourage economic growth. The WRAF is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(4) organization.

When state spending on welfare threatened to bankrupt California, Governor Ronald Reagan tapped Robert B. Carleson to find a solution. Together, in 1971, they charted a course of reform that rescued the state and simultaneously improved benefits and services for those who depended on welfare. When Reagan became President their work to reform welfare expanded nationwide. Carleson's continued efforts after the Reagan Administration culminated in passage of the historic 1996 Welfare Reform Act. The Act fundamentally changed the cash assistance portion of welfare, and appropriately renamed it the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.

Instead of the old, failed and dysfunctional cash welfare program that promoted fiscal irresponsibility despite poor results, the Act transformed welfare into a successful jobs program for the poor. The key provision was restoring power to the states by providing a fixed amount of money — called a block grant — that allowed them to efficiently manage their welfare programs and respond to the needs of their communities without federal micro-management. Millions of families moved from welfare to work, with no increase in poverty, while restoring fiscal discipline to a portion of the federal budget.

But the job that Reagan and Carleson began in 1971 is not finished. Numerous other federal welfare programs still need to be fixed, and the Obama Administration is steadily dismantling the successful 1996 Welfare Reform law.

To achieve Reagan and Carleson's goal, and fight back against the Obama Administration's efforts to undermine the 1996 TANF law, the Carleson Center Welfare Reform Action Fund is committed to working with Congress and grassroots groups across America to fight for the conservative policies developed by our 501(c)(3) sister organization, The Carleson Center for Welfare Reform (CCWR), to:

  • Secure our national safety net by moving control of welfare programs out of Washington to the individual states, which are better equipped to target limited government resources to truly needy populations;
  • End the interference of unaccountable federal bureaucrats in state welfare decisions; and
  • Institute responsible solutions to help reverse the growth in our national debt and restore the nation's fiscal integrity for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

The WRAF and the CCWR are both guided by veteran policy advisors to President Ronald Reagan — people who understand the dangers of micro-management from Washington — and who have the experience and knowledge to help enact public policies that have been proven to work. The Carleson Center Welfare Reform Action Fund's ultimate mission is to halt destructive government policies and return America's public spending priorities to constitutional principles of federalism, limited government, responsible tax policy, and free market enterprise.