Examining the impact of the family violence option on women's efforts to leave welfare

Andrea Hetling, Catherine E. Born

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: The establishment of the Family Violence Option (FVO) in 1997 was met with some controversy, as critics believed waivers from time limit and work requirements would hinder women's ability to leave welfare and find employment. Method: Using administrative and interview data from Maryland, multivariate equations analyze if domestic violence disclosure, administrative documentation, or waiver use had a statistically significant affect on one year employment and welfare use outcomes of individuals. Results: Waiver holders did not differ from nonvictims, but victims who are not documented received fewer months of welfare and earned less income. Conclusions: Findings do not indicate that FVO waivers encourage women to stay on welfare longer. However, the poor outcomes of undocumented victims indicate that some individuals may be slipping through the cracks of a well-intentioned policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-153
Number of pages11
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)


  • Domestic violence
  • Employment
  • Family Violence Option
  • Welfare receipt

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