fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

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.

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

Families benefit from ex-offender jobs

Workforce, Inc.

They’re in the business of recycling.

But its more about the renewal of lives rather than resources.

Workforce Inc. is a computer recycling program in Indianapolis that hires ex-offenders for 6-month jobs that help them move from prisons to the first paycheck.

Persons who served five or more consecutive years in a state correctional facilities are eligible.

In an Oct. 21 column in The Indianapolis Star, Gregg Keesling, president of Workforce Inc., says work provides a distraction from destruction; and old habits are difficult to quit when desperation hits.

From child support to probation monitoring fees, bills await most who come out of prison. While bills await, jobs do not; roughly 70 percent of employers won’t hire felons, Keesling said. Of course, you don’t have to pass a background check to deal drugs or break into a house.

Keesling’s observations support the need for a bill introduced in the house in the last session that would allow some of those first funds from jobs to be set aside as child support for those families that are also receiving welfare funds. In other words, some of the money would “pass through” to benefit families receiving assistance through TANF block grants.

But House Bill 896 has yet to make it out of the committee circle. For now, more programs are needed to give people who have offended a chance to support a family, instead of that family subsisting on public aid.

October 31, 2007 Posted by | Bills Bills Bills, Initiatives | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Push for Pass-Through: House Introduces Bill to Make Child Support Payments Easier

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h110-896

Stay tuned! The bill will soon have a live updating feed.

October 7, 2007 Posted by | Bills Bills Bills | , , , , , | Leave a comment