Current welfare reform legislation raises a number of questions about how the field of human services will broaden its analytical and educational functions in a context of uncertainty about what welfare will look like in the years to come. How can information and insights about the distribution of welfare dollars and the process of leaving welfare by a heterogeneous population of clients become the basis of contrastive analysis? We describe information sources which can provide a framework for positioning academic work to use longitudinal quantitative tracking sources to lay out qualitative inquiry suggestions for collecting process data that will emerge over time. We suggest that such data will be valuable to practitioners working with persons composing their own histories in the face of the admonishing welfare construct "get off welfare."

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