fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

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

Rhode Island welfare needs exceed time limits

This month, for many welfare recipients in Rhode Island the time of the year that centers on giving is more about needing.

Nearly half of the state’s 10,755 families receiving cash assistance last year had been on welfare rolls for more than five years, according to data provided by the Department of Human Services. And nearly one quarter of the families had been on cash assistance for more than 10 years.

The problem is, the time limit for receiving aid under the state’s current plan is five years.

According to the Rhode Island Department of Human Services website, the state’s welfare program underwent sweeping changes a decade ago:

  • New Family Independence Program: There is now a five-year, lifetime limit on the receipt of cash benefits for adult members receiving benefits.
  • Old AFDC Program: Cash assistance was considered an entitlement and there was no time limit on the receipt of cash benefits.

Now Governor Donald Carcieri is considering cuts to the New Family Independence Program. According to The Providence Journal, “the governor suggested …on talk radio in recent weeks that he would propose cutting in half, from 60 months to 30 months, the time limit for Rhode Island families receiving cash benefits.”That’s two and a half years.

To show he means business, the Gov. Carcieri cut 483 jobs from the state payroll as of Nov. 16.

Want to speak out on these changes? Click on the “Reach out to Your Representatives” How-To.

December 3, 2007 Posted by | Politicking | , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-commerce official fesses up to welfare fraud

Newsday.com reports that a New Jersey public official faked a low-income status in order to collect benefits.

Lesly Devereaux was formerly second-in-command of the state Commerce Commission.

In a trial hearing on Oct. 26, The Associated Press reports, “She told the judge she applied for food stamps as a clerk-typist when she was really a private-practice lawyer. She collected about six months worth of benefits for children living in her home, which she’ll have to repay, lawyers said.”

The 49-year-old faces five to 10 years in prison when she’s sentenced in December.

She’ll also be disbarred and prohibited from holding any public-sector job in the state.

Oh, and Deveraux’s lawyer says she would’ve qualified for the benefits, had she not lied. The reason she made up her status? She was embarrassed.

It’s cases like this that bring the icky stereotype to light; women like Deveraux are the reason the welfare queen stereotype perpetuates. She would’ve been like every other person seeking extra assistance for a temporary hardship, but she was too proud to be humble.

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Busted, Politicking | , , , | Leave a comment