fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

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.

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

New Yorker sick of state health policies

Courstesy Fed-Up in Western New York

One blogger in New York has one DVD on the top of his Christmas list.

Fed- Up in Western New York reports gives points to Michael Moore’s movie Sicko — now on DVD — for illuminating disparities in national and local health systems.

He took a lesson from the movie and found out that one in six adults in NY don’t have health insurance. That fact came from a story in the New York Sun: about a report from the state department of health, entitled: Report: One Million New Yorkers Are Without Insurance.

Fed-Up also dug deeper to find out just how many children and families are dependent on public aid and Medicaid from the state:

But according to the blog, a new stadium is the only thing on the state’s wish list for residents upstate.

November 12, 2007 Posted by | Related Reports | , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Rochester, Project SAVE aims to push families into work

With a grand amount of grant money, one community in upstate New York is giving families the nudge they need to move off of welfare.

In November, County Executive Maggie Brooks proposed an initiative to get welfare recipients into jobs and children in foster care into permanent placements.

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on Nov. 1 reported the local Department of Human Services’ plans to implement Project SAVE.

The department suffered massive layoffs in 2002 when 120 jobs were cut, the paper said.

So, Brooks is hoping to stabilize the department, with the addition of jobs.

Problem is, it will take welfare benefits to do so. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports that Brooks administration officials say they’ll save money by reducing payments to welfare recipients and foster parents.

Taking from welfare to help welfare.

And those new job recipients will be in charging of corralling more families off of welfare.

The system says it’s in such dire straits, it must make mobile families stuck in a cycle of receiving rather than doing.

Here’s how the initiative breaks down:

  • The Department of Human Services will use a $1.3 million state grant to hire 59 new social workers.
  • The grant will cover costs associated with hiring the workers and the equipment they will use. The new staff will fill positions that had been budgeted in prior years but were vacant.
  • Fifty percent of children in foster care return to their immediate families or a relative within six months.
  • The project goal calls for 12,550 temporary public assistance cases per month, on average. That’s a drop of 225 cases from the department’s current count of 12,775.
  • By implementing this program, Monroe County will realize savings of $13.4 million over the next four years due to the reduction in welfare and foster care caseloads at DHS. New strategies will be implemented to allow those needing services that are capable of becoming self-sufficient to become self-sufficient more quickly.

But look closer, for one of these things is not like the others. One goal shows money saved, but a greater loss to local families that most literally don’t make the cut.

November 5, 2007 Posted by | Initiatives, News & Numbers | , , , , | Leave a comment