fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

Report shows addtional $200 milllion matched for federal child aid grant

A December report by the Child Care Bureau shows that money matched under the Child Care and Development Block Grant helped approximately 53,200 additional children last year.

In the 2006 fiscal year, states received an additional $200 million in federal matching funds, according to the Center for Law and Social Policy.

That means the average monthly number of children served increased from $1.75 million in 2005 to $1.80 million in 2006.

To see how your state fared,  check out the State-by-State Child Care Spending and Participation in 2005 website, and click on your state in the picture like the map below.

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December 12, 2007 Posted by | Kid Concerns, Money Matters | , , , | 2 Comments

More CO parents could have help with child care

bilde.jpgSource: Coloradoan.com

Hundreds of low-income families could get help paying for child care when eligibility standards change in one Colorado town next year.

The Larimer County commissioners last week agreed to raise the income ceiling for eligibility in the Child Care Assistance Program, or CCAP, from 150 percent of the federal poverty level to 185 percent.

Here’s how the Coloradoan.com broke down the effect of the increase:

As of Jan. 1 Larimer County will increase income ceilings for eligibility in the Child Care Assistance Program from 150 percent of the federal poverty level to 185 percent. The following shows family size, followed by 150 percent of poverty, followed by 185 percent of poverty:

  • Two: $1,712/month; $2,111/month
  • Three: $2,146/month; $2,647/month
  • Four: $2,581/month; 3,184/month
  • Five: $3,016/month; $3,720/month

The change is expected to help more than 350 children.

December 12, 2007 Posted by | Kid Concerns, Money Matters | , , | Leave a comment

Shouldn’t child support actually help children?, one blogger asks

A blog by Maureen Lane on DMI Blog has an accurate and understandable synopsis of an ongoing concern for parents on welfare: payments going back to the state.

As I reported in November, a new study by the Institute for Research on Poverty, Public Affairs and Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that:

“Child-support payments for children on welfare are being used in almost every state to recoup state and federal welfare expenses. When Congress created the child-support system 30 years ago, recouping welfare costs by siphoning off collected child-support payments was an explicit goal. Yet close to half the states pass along none of the collected child-support while most others pay only $50 per child, even when a non-custodial parent pays several hundred more.”

In other words, when a custodial parent gets both welfare assistance and child support, many state governments collect the child support to make up the difference.

As a forward-thinking state, Wisconsin officials enacted waiver that allowed the state to forward all money collected to families. As a result, more non-custodial parents came forward and paid more of the money they owed, making families less reliant on aid and making up for any short-term loss of government revenue spent on welfare, according DMI blog.

However, the Bush administration did not renew the waiver, perhaps reflecting a greater emphasis on foreign affairs, rather than low-income economic issues.

According to their motto, DMI Blog covers “Politics, Policy and the American Dream.” At least one of these is missing when it comes to child support and welfare policies.

December 10, 2007 Posted by | Other Opinions, Pass-Through | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ind. apartment owner told to give back welfare funds

In the season that celebrates giving, one Indianapolis apartment agency may be returning welfare aid for alleged illegal actions.

WRTV-TV reports the Indiana Housing Authority is calling for the owners of the Phoenix Apartments to repay $300,000.

Officials said the complex failed to disclose required information to qualify for the payments.

14748128_240x180.jpg Bud Myers, of the Indianapolis Housing Authority, said RCM Phoenix Partners, which owns the Phoenix apartments, supplied incorrect information to the agency to get federal aid. Myers also said there are other problems, WRTV-TV reports.

The apartment complex recently drew local and national attention as the location where a 3-year-old was tortured and beaten to death by her parents.

Federal rules require welfare landlords to disclose troubled business deals and legal problems. RCM has until Dec. 14 to repay the money or challenge the order.


December 10, 2007 Posted by | Busted, Courts and Crime, Legally Speaking | , , | Leave a comment

Welfare worker sentenced for stealing more than $100,000

Fictitious families received more than $105,654 over five years according to prosecutors in a case against a Georgia woman accused of stealing money from the welfare office she worked at. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Gayla Owens, 43, a 15-year veteran of the state Division of Family and Children Services, pleaded guilty to stealing the money.

Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Kellie Hill said of the workers used the money to pay off gambling debts, she said. Hill said these workers have the responsibility to use tax dollars to help needy families.

None of the workers is still employed by DFCS.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville Owens to 15 years of probation and said she must avoid employment that allows her access to public funds.
Related: Welfare worked pleads guilty to bilking agency of $105,654

December 10, 2007 Posted by | Busted, Courts and Crime | , , , | Leave a comment

Program helps women work to better their lives

The Women’s Bureau has been doing the work to make sure women have jobs since the 1920s.

As part of their venture, the bureau sponsors Working Women in Transition . The multi-regional demonstration project, co-sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor, is designed to assist women who have arrived at a significant transition in their work lives.

Hands.net, a news wire on human service events, detailed the latest graduation from at Working Women in Transition initiative in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Arkansas-based Hope Center, a faith-based organization, conducted the graduation ceremony for current and past recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) who completed the program.

The transition program currently has initiatives in 11 states.

For more information on how to start an initiative in your area, contact the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau.

December 10, 2007 Posted by | Initiatives | , , | 1 Comment

NY families not getting eligible money, study finds

The Center for Governmental Research— a non-partisan, independent think thank based in Rochester, NY — released a report this fall documenting a nearly 40 percent decline in children receiving subsidies since 2001–from 13,575 children served in an average month in 2001 to 8,400 children served on average during the first four months of 2007.

According to the report, over 12,000 children in Monroe County are living in families that are potentially eligible for child care assistance and are not receiving it.

Many of those families also receiving TANF, or welfare aid, but still are not receiving extra child assistance.

The report details several policy changes at the county and state levels have contributed to the decline in children receiving assistance:

  • Since 2002, income eligibility for child care subsidies in Monroe County has fallen from 200 percent of poverty to 165 percent.
  • While fewer families are income-eligible for assistance, more parents seeking child care subsidies are being denied. The rate of applicant denial increased from 11 percent in 2001 to 50 percent in 2006. A contributing factor to this increase in denials was failure of applicants to comply with a 2004 New York State law that requires applicants to seek child support payment as a condition of receiving child care assistance. (Federal law does not require parents to seek child support from a non-custodial parent in order to obtain a child care subsidy although several states have this requirement.)
  • Finally, the county has decreased spending on child care in recent years, contributing to an accumulation of approximately $5 million in unspent child care funds.

The report was unable to conclude why a large number of TANF child care cases were of a short duration or why few families transitioned to the income-eligible child care assistance program.

December 10, 2007 Posted by | Kid Concerns, Related Reports | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cal. wants 28,000 low-income parents into the state’s work force

Sacramento BeeParent fills out paperwork at the Sacramento County Department of Human Services on Friday. SOURCE: Sacbee.com

California is under pressure to get more parents off welfare, and working for their income.

The state’s welfare-to-work program — the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids, or CalWORKS — must meet federal guidelines or face fines.

The Sacramento Bee reports, if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t get 28,000 low-income parents off welfare soon, then  the state could face a $150 million annual penalty and force the state to spend an additional $180 million.

According to the Sac Bee, a draft report released in September suggested two proposals:

• Give $50 more in food stamps to former CalWORKS recipients who make the transition out of the program. Such a move would cost the state $25 million and allow the state to claim credit for successfully moving those people into the work force.

• Establish a state-only welfare assistance program for recipients who have a harder time finding jobs. An elaborate shift of existing state resources is being proposed for funding such a program.

Gov. Schwarzenegger was supposed to turn in a state report detailing a plan to the California legislature Oct. 1.

As of Dec. 4, government and social service leaders were still waiting.

December 10, 2007 Posted by | Money Matters, News & Numbers, Politicking | , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Reach out to Your Representative

Click on the video above to find out how you can write as you think.

Think you have to be 18 to rock the vote? Sure, voting is a liberty important to having you voice heard.

But so is your right to write your local representative.

I’m going to show you how.

  • Step one, log on to www.projectvotesmart.org.
  • Next, in the left-hand search bar, enter the name of your representative from either the candidate or representative in the House or Senate. According to GovTrack.us, U.S. citizens in the 50 states have three representatives in the U.S. Congress: two senators and one representative. Each state elects two senators for six-year terms. The 435 representatives have two-year terms.
  • If you don’t know your rep’s last name, enter your 9-digit ZIP code. To find those last four digits, click on the “Don’t Know Your 9-Digit ZIP?’ enter your address, then return to Project Vote Smart.
  • Step three, scroll down your list of results, and choose from current elections, officials, or candidates. I’ll pick Julia Carson, my Congresswoman from the house7th district.
  • Then, Scroll down the page to view a biography, work history, and most importantly legislative history of your representative
  • Step five, copy down the address of the your rep and get ready to pen democratic prose.

December 4, 2007 Posted by | How-To, Politicking, View Video | , | Leave a comment

NYT says critics calling for change in child support for welfare families

New York Times

Picture Source: Sally Ryan for The New York Times

Against a doctor’s advice, Karla Hart, a mother of four, took a part-time job at a day care center in Milwaukee to help pay her bills.

She’s the face of a Dec. 1 story in the The New York Times on a state policy that blocks child support payments for parents on welfare.

The Times pulled a clipping from her monthly child-support statement to show why she puts her health on the line to pay her bills:

  • Paid by the father: $229.40
  • Amount deducted to repay federal costs of welfare: $132.18

According to the NYT, close to half the states pass along none of collected child support to families on welfare, while most others pay only $50 a month to a custodial parent, usually the mother, even though the father may be paying hundreds of dollars each month.

Critics say using child support to repay welfare costs harms children instead of helping them, contradicting the national goal of strengthening families, and is a flaw in the generally lauded national campaign to increase collections.

In an Oct. “fare them well” report, “Families benefit from ex-offender jobs,” a story from Indiana supported this notion. The entry highlighted a program in Indianapolis focused on giving recent ex-offenders jobs in order establish an income that could help pay child support as well as court fees.

Work Force Inc.’s mantra is one reason many welfare advocates are pushing for a bill introduced in the house last Feb., which if approved, would allow $50 from a non-custodial paycheck to immediately pass-through to a child, instead of being automatically extracted as restitution to the state for welfare costs.

It’s an outstanding journalistic example of the rising wave of voices speaking out against the prevent of pass-through.

December 3, 2007 Posted by | Bills Bills Bills, Other Opinions, Pass-Through, Politicking | , , , , | Leave a comment