Madri Hall-Faul, PhD Candidate, School of Social Work, University of Connecticut:
The Role of the Devolved Policy Implementation in Social and Economic Rights Fulfillment: The Case of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in Connecticut
The devolved model of social welfare policy in the United States leads to inequality in benefit access and adequacy, as exemplified by the implementation of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This inequality between states has been studied extensively, but has not been analyzed in depth as a violation of social and economic rights of families in poverty. My dissertation will examine how this inequality is created in one state through a case study of TANF in Connecticut. Using a framework of participation, nondiscrimination, equality, human dignity, transparency, accountability, and adequacy, I will evaluate TANF and its impact on social and economic rights in Connecticut. I will conduct interviews with decision-makers and advocates, and review budgets and public documents. This dissertation will contribute a human rights-based analysis of TANF to social welfare policy literature and provides a novel focus on public administration decision-making, which is limited in social work literature.