fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

Toronto Study Gets Tough on Welfare Policy

Maybe the United States can pick up some tips on productive public assistance from the neighbor to the north.

Over the past decade, more Canadians have gotten jobs, and the overall poverty rate has declined.

The Canadian Press writer Tobi Cohen says a study released in October by the C.D. Howe Institute, attempts to debunk the “doom and gloom” reports rampant about rising poverty rates.

In Reducing Poverty: What has Worked, and What Should Come Next, author John Richards finds that policies encouraging employment for low-income families, along with improved labor market conditions, have been key to reducing poverty in Canada.

The study points out how full-time working opportunities for a head of household can have a positive inter-generational effect that trumps the toughness of Canada’s welfare policy. For example,

The role model effect of a working parent increases the probability that children complete high school and avoid teenage pregnancy, two strong indicators of inter-generational escape from poverty. This effect exists even among lone-parent families where parental employment may reduce time for parenting.

Thus, the emphasis on employment, the study reports.

While it never hurts to have a comparative eye on issues effecting other communities, what implications could this study have on American policies on welfare?

Well, the study also identified several areas that need work:

  • Greater focus on education and closing the disparity gap for grades K-12. “The importance of education in increasing employment and lowering poverty” is noteworthy the study reports.
  • More attention for marginalized groups, such as Canada’s large Aboriginal population.
  • Recognizing that more caseloads deal with persons with serious mental and/or physical disabilities, meaning that “social workers (must) simultaneously restrict access to welfare among the employable, and be generous to the disabled.”

With each of these problems, however, there was a dialogue begun, without suggestions on how to implement solutions for their conclusions.

STUDY: Falling Poverty Rates Reflect Social Policy Success: C.D. Howe Institute

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October 22, 2007 - Posted by | Other Opinions, Related Reports, Research | , , , , ,

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