Elizabeth Lower-Basch, in The American Prospect, chronicles the down-sizing of the American social welfare system, a process that began in earnest in 1997.
Lower-Basch's article is linked below.
The American Prospect: A Diminished Social Safety Net
"Five years later, in 2011, as a result of the worst recession in generations, the number of poor children in the U.S. had climbed to 16.1 million, but still just 3.4 million children were in families receiving cash assistance under TANF. The number of families receiving help grew in some states, but never as much as need rose."
---Elizabeth Lower-Basch, The American Prospect