California Legislature Enacts Compromise Welfare Reform

Robert B. Carleson, who helped initiate major changes in the California welfare system in the early 1970s and implemented them as part of then-Gov.

Ronald Reagan's administration, has died. He was 75.

Carleson, of Alexandria, Va., who continued to focus on welfare reform initiatives as a special assistant to Reagan when he became president, died Friday in a Washington, D.C., hospital after a brief illness, said his wife, Susan.

While the Reagan workfare program may not have succeeded, it was a key part of his welfare reform package of 1971 that led to stricter eligibility requirements and higher welfare benefits. It was also the predecessor of a more sophisticated workfare and training program for welfare recipients that was adopted by California last year.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, Reagan signaled his intention to try once again to reshape the welfare system and reduce the dependency of poor people on their welfare checks.