Midwest Welfare Peer Assistance Network (WELPAN)
In 1996, when the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act "ended welfare as we know it," Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) researchers who specialize in welfare reform established the Midwest Welfare Peer Assistance Network (WELPAN) for top state-level welfare administrators to exchange ideas and compare notes, both with each other and with researchers whose work could inform and be informed by their experience. IRP facilitated WELPAN meetings and disseminated its findings for eleven years. Members met regularly to share ideas about the challenges and opportunities created by welfare reform. IRP continues to support the group, which continues to communicate though it is no longer meeting, by hosting its Web site and electronic mailing list.
For 11 years, WELPAN has linked both Wisconsin social services administrators with their peers in surrounding states who are on the front lines of welfare-reform implementation to benefit from their experience and share their own, and it has linked researchers with practitioners, providing a mutual exchange between the two. The group also reaches beyond the Wisconsin and the Midwest to other welfare administrators through a Web site, electronic mailing list, numerous publications and videos, and technical assistance provided by IRP researchers.
- Quality of Life
Jennifer Noyes, Researcher
Department or Other Unit
Institute for Research on Poverty
School or College
College of Letters & Science
Project last updated on 8/03/2009