fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

National Conference on (Not) Making Ends Meet, Register Now

For all of you policy enthusiasts out there, a big shindig on social issues in going down our nation’s capital this week! The one day event will include a forum to discuss working families struggling to get by.

The registration website notes, “In the United States, it is generally assumed that that getting a job is enough to make ends meet. But, in today’s labor market, where nearly a quarter of jobs pay low wages and offer no benefits, this couldn’t be further from the truth for millions of workers and their families.”

So if you’re in Washington D.C. on Oct. 18, grab your bullhorn and soapbox and meet at the Bridging the Gaps National Conference, sponsored by The Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Register online now by clicking here.


October 15, 2007 Posted by | Links we Like, Meeting Matters | , , , | Leave a comment

Report: How does Your State Spend TANF Funds?

The Center for Law and Social Policy has released a preliminary report on how states have spent their TANF allowances as of October 2007. See how your state stacks up. Browse comprehensive PDF and Excel files on how 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the entire country spent funds to help families in need.

To give you a sneak peak at the numbers, as a whole, the federal government and the country had more than $16 billion to spend in TANF and Maintenance of Effort federal funds for the 2006 fiscal year. So why did they have more than $4 billion left over that same year? Click below to find out where federal aid is spent most.

Analysis of Fiscal Year 2006 TANF and MOE Spending

October 15, 2007 Posted by | Money Matters, Related Reports, Research | , , | Leave a comment

Moving Off TANF slows nationwide

The Urban Institute has released a new report that shows the move from federal public aid to self-sufficiency has slowed down over the last decade.

The study says, between 1997 and 2002, the percentage of people who left welfare because they entered the workforce declined from 70 to 56 percent.

The findings detail that in 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) emphasized hard work and temporary dependence on public assistance for persons on welfare. Caseloads fell dramatically in the 90s. But the study shows that the remaining families on welfare — bogged down in an overburdened system — seem to stuck on slow.

TANF Caseload Compition and Leavers Synthesis Report (it’s a big PDF, click wisely)

October 15, 2007 Posted by | News & Numbers | , , , | Leave a comment

CLASP: Center for Law and Social Policy


October 15, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll | , , | Leave a comment

Benefit Banks to Open in Arkansas, Gov. Says Come get Unused Funds

Single parents struggling with bountiful bills might considering moving to Arkansas after they hear these numbers. According to an Oct. 9 report by the Arkansas News Bureau, residents pass up on some $280 million in state and federal benefits annually.

That’s why Gov. Mike Beebe announced a plan this month to start a pilot program to help low-income residents receive all the benefits for which they’re entitled.

It’s called the Benefit Bank of Arkansas, and the state’s Transitional Employment Assistance program — under the federal TANF program — is shelling out $1.4 million to make sure no benefit goes unused. Part of that money will be used to train volunteers working in churches, community centers and other public meeting places to register people that qualify for benefits, in an effort to make the process more convenient. The banks will open in seven Arkansas counties, and will stay open longer than normal business hours to accommodate working schedules.

October 15, 2007 Posted by | Initiatives, Money Matters | , , , | Leave a comment

Broke and Busted: NYPD Mom on Welfare While Working

Late last month, The New York Post reported a 25-year-old mother attending Police Academy was busted for collecting both a salary and welfare.

Claribel Polanco was living off $1000 in welfare benefits, in addition to the $25,100 she earned as an NYPD Cadet. At the same time, Polanco doubled her duty as a college student. When Polanco failed to notify welfare officials that she was hired by the NYPD in January, she kept collecting benefits illegally.

Peter Moskos, a criminal justice professor and veteran of the Baltimore City Police Department, says Polanco’s ploy ain’t new news to him.

No, according to Moskos ( a fellow blogger) a salary stretch such as this doesn’t make Polanco morally bankrupt. Once a police officer himself, he says’ struggle is the name of the salary game.

<blockquote></blockquote>The starting salary of the NYPD is $25,100 a year. Granted it goes up a lot after 6 months, but still. How can you live off this for 6 months when you’re not allowed to hold secondary jobs and can’t make overtime? I was making $28,400 when I was hired as a police officer… 8 years ago… in Baltimore. I could get by, but I had no family, no car payments, and $300/month rent. You can’t live in New York City on that money.

Perhaps her situation wins one for the policy team chanting ‘welfare doesn’t discriminate.’ One officer, as quoted in the New York Daily News says Polanco is persona of problems faced by many young people trying to enter into a stable job whose salary doesn’t support them.

<blockquote></blockquote>She’s all the problems in a nutshell – a trifecta,” one police source said. The department pays dirt, so all they can hire are kids on welfare. … So she committed a crime to get by. And now the department has a criminal on the books – and she’s not even out of the Police Academy yet.

Polanco’s problem may cue a new conversation on the working poor. To date, the state of New York has nine campaigns for a living wage. For more info, see the Living Wage Ordinances in New York, Sept. 2005

The Economic Policy Institute says a living wage is “usually the wage a full-time worker would need to earn to support a family above federal poverty line, ranging from 100% to 130% of the poverty measurement.”

Right now, the living wage law for New York City assures a salary of $10 an hour for 50,000 employees in service fields, contracted for city work; that does not include police officers.

And so the fight for fair pay wages on.

October 15, 2007 Posted by | Busted | , , , , | Leave a comment