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

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

A little healthy suffering never hurt, one expert says

Voice for Uninsured

Some economists believe Census data indicates an estimated 47 million Americans have chosen not to have health insurance.

And according to one professor, that’s their prerogative, and a necessary right.

In a Nov. 21 Accuracy in Media column entitled, “Unhealthy Freedoms,” West Virginia University Professor Daniel Shapiro argues that in a world that stresses egalitarian paradigms of a health system ensuring insurance for all, shouldn’t someone have just as much right to choose not to be healthy?

Yes Shapiro’s actually arguing against health care for all.

He’s speaking out in reaction to the latest campaign by the American Medical AssociationVoice for the Uninsured— encouraging voters to think about uninsured Americans when they hit the polls. His latest book, Is the Welfare State Justified?, examines the TANF system.

Instituting a universal healthcare system would undermine citizen’s positive rights by placing their health care choices under bureaucratic government control, argues Shapiro. “All national health insurance [programs] promise a very general right to medically-necessary care….or right to access whatever the system offers. However, judicial remedies when care is denied are non-existent or weak,” in countries with universal healthcare systems, he says.

Shapiro also believes a universal system would benefit the rich and well-connected, many of whom would be able to afford better, more prompt healthcare, the article said.

So what about all-inclusive? Would you feel any less independent to have the government footing your feel-good bills?

November 26, 2007 Posted by | Critiques & Critics, Initiatives, Media Matters, Money Matters | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Talk with Tom Caplan, Associate Dir. of the Institute for Research on Poverty

Click below to listen in on our chat:

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November 22, 2007 Posted by | Legislation, Money Matters | , , , , | Leave a comment

Talk with Tom Caplan, expert on child support pass-through laws

In Oct. 2007, the Institute for Research on Poverty released a pivotal study on a hot topic for welfare recipients. Many state laws allow the state to collect $50 a month from welfare recipients who also receive child support.

Today, I spoke with Tom Caplan, associate director of the institute the study and implications it has on the correlation between child support and welfare benefits.

Click below to listen to the chat http://hilaryp.podbean.com/medias/play/aHR0cDovL21lZGlhMS5wb2RiZWFuLmNvbS9wb2RjYXN0LWJsb2ctYXVkaW8tdmlkZW8tbWVkaWEtZmlsZXMvYmxvZ3MvMjc0OTEvdXBsb2Fkcy9XaXNjV2VsZmFyZUludGVydmlldzEubXAz/WiscWelfareInterview1.mp3>Listen%20to%20this%20episode</a></font>

Can’t hear the audio? Read on for a full copy of the transcript.

Hilary: How important is the topic of welfare is to your research institute?

Tom: The institute was founded 40 years ago during the war on poverty, in the 1960s.

Hilary: This study specifically dealt with the difference between disregard and pass-through?

Tom: Before the big national welfare reform of 1996, the U.S. government had one policy for how states should treat child support. Any private child support that exceeded $50 just reimbursed the state and federal government. So after 1996, the policy changed and states weren’t required anymore to disregard the first $50 of child support. Most states chose not to, so that every dollar of child support that came in, none of it went to the children.

Hilary: Do you think the general public understands the importance of having pass-through?

Tom: No, I don’t think so at all. On the one hand, look, we’re giving these people public benefits, and that’s meeting their basic needs. Any money that comes in from public child support, that ought to reimbursement the public. On the other hand, if someone said that ‘gee, we’re not providing that much with public welfare benefits so that if a family is able to receive private child support, it ought to be on top of those basic welfare benefits. I think people would believe that too.

Hilary: The study found that pass-through has had a negative effect on the non-custodial parent being responsible and continuing to upkeep their payments. Do you feel like that’s accurate?

Tom: The study was setup by states where some people in are randomly assigned to get pass-through, and some parents were assigned not to get pass-through. If we could look at  state policies where it was all done one-way and it wasn’t an experiment, we’d have a more accurate account.

Hilary: But what if people don’t see a benefit in having $50 more dollars going to a family?

Tom: It’s surprising that absent parents know that the money is going to the family, and their willingness does not always happen.  I think the supposition, that pass-through does not does not increase the willingness of a non-custodial parent to pay, the likely reason for that is that in most states it’s pretty hard to get away with not paying.

Hilary: With all of those variables taken into account, we’re still seeing more single moms now more than ever. DO you think we’ll see more push for pass-through?

Tom: Well, I do. The federal government just passed legislation that allows states to do pass-throughs. I don’t know if we’ll ever see a majority of states do this.

Hilary: Where could someone who wants more information about pass-through go onine?

Tom: It’s: www.irp.wisc.edu/publications

November 19, 2007 Posted by | Kid Concerns, Legislation, Listening, Money Matters, Pass-Through, Related Reports, Research | , , , | 1 Comment

TANF money loss matters for Marietta

Due to looming cuts in the state budget, one social service program in Ohio faces losing a large chunk of its TANF funds.

 The Marietta Times reports that the Washington County Department of Job and Family Services could lose between  $500,000 and $600,000 cut from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) fund. This grant is supplied to the state by the federal government and distributed to various organizations throughout Ohio, according to the report.

This will drop the amount of money they get from the TANF fund to around $2.2 million this fiscal year, the paper reports.

More budget hearings are set for Mon. Nov. 19th.

November 19, 2007 Posted by | Money Matters | , , , | Leave a comment

Report updates status of state spending on children

A 1992 study by the Rockefeller Institute was updated earlier this month using the latest date compiled in 2004. The New York-based public policy group found that state and local spending per children grew from 34 percent between 1992 and 2004, accounting for inflation. State Funding for Children: Spending in 2004 and How it Changed From Earlier Years

State Spending

  • Out of the $467 billion spent by state and local governments on major programs for children in the fiscal year 2004, about about 1 out of ten dollars supported programs like TANF, child care and other welfare services. The rest of those dollars went to education initiatives for grades K-12
  • Spending on children under TANF accounted for $8 billion

TANF Spending Declines

  • All other spending increased $0 per child, or 19 percent, reflecting strong growth in spending on child welfare program and earned income tax credit, offset in part by real per-child declines in spending on family assistance (TANF and related program).

According to the study, real per-child spending on rose a mere .2 percentage points in a decade, from 4.1 to 4.3. If a decline in TANF spending is meant to reflect states’ efforts to move more families off welfare and into full-time work, to where are those extra funds being allocated?

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Money Matters, Related Reports | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Tis the season to be scrooged: welfare office wants its money back

An editorial by a New Hampshire paper is bringing the scrooge spirit a little earlier than December this year.

The Concord Monitor Online wrote an Oct. 14 editorial blasting town officials in the community of Epsom for sending out letters reminding welfare recipients to pay back the state’s charitable giving — plus six percent interest.

Yes, ’tis the season for giving, and we mean give us back our money, contends the Monitor staff. Moreover, the paper specifically wagged a an editorial finger at Town Welfare Officer Lisa Cote.

Cote, who doesn’t seem to understand her obligations under the state’s Right to Know Law, declined to say how many welfare recipients were sent letters reminding them of the liens, how much is owed the town in aggregate, or how far back some of the debts go. Though the specifics of each welfare case are private, the rest of the information is not. Epsom residents, or anyone else who asks about them, should expect a timely answer.

The Monitor points out that the state law on repayment is optional, providing the recipient if financially able to repay. But once targeted, welfare recipients risk having a lien placed on their property if they don’t pay up, as the paper detailed in an Oct. 12 article, “Epsom wants welfare funds paid back.”

At least Cote won’t get coal in her stocking from one reader. She might call him the good guy in the story, pun intended. Guy Goodwin says he thinks the editorial was a personal attack on the welfare official.

Cote aside, why isn’t the welfare office more forthright with the list of people they mailed? If they are so adamant to recollect money, why not serve up the list of people they’ve assisted?

Working divorced mother Colleen Neely says applied for welfare 15 years ago to help out with her suddenly single-parent status. Are these mailings a scarlet letter to keep certain families out of Epsom?

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Money Matters, News & Numbers | , , , , | 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