fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

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.

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December 10, 2007 Posted by | Kid Concerns, Related Reports | , , , , , | 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

Toronto Study Gets Tough on Welfare Policy

Maybe the United States can pick up some tips on productive public assistance from the neighbor to the north.

Over the past decade, more Canadians have gotten jobs, and the overall poverty rate has declined.

The Canadian Press writer Tobi Cohen says a study released in October by the C.D. Howe Institute, attempts to debunk the “doom and gloom” reports rampant about rising poverty rates.

In Reducing Poverty: What has Worked, and What Should Come Next, author John Richards finds that policies encouraging employment for low-income families, along with improved labor market conditions, have been key to reducing poverty in Canada.

The study points out how full-time working opportunities for a head of household can have a positive inter-generational effect that trumps the toughness of Canada’s welfare policy. For example,

The role model effect of a working parent increases the probability that children complete high school and avoid teenage pregnancy, two strong indicators of inter-generational escape from poverty. This effect exists even among lone-parent families where parental employment may reduce time for parenting.

Thus, the emphasis on employment, the study reports.

While it never hurts to have a comparative eye on issues effecting other communities, what implications could this study have on American policies on welfare?

Well, the study also identified several areas that need work:

  • Greater focus on education and closing the disparity gap for grades K-12. “The importance of education in increasing employment and lowering poverty” is noteworthy the study reports.
  • More attention for marginalized groups, such as Canada’s large Aboriginal population.
  • Recognizing that more caseloads deal with persons with serious mental and/or physical disabilities, meaning that “social workers (must) simultaneously restrict access to welfare among the employable, and be generous to the disabled.”

With each of these problems, however, there was a dialogue begun, without suggestions on how to implement solutions for their conclusions.

STUDY: Falling Poverty Rates Reflect Social Policy Success: C.D. Howe Institute

October 22, 2007 Posted by | Other Opinions, Related Reports, Research | , , , , , | Leave a comment