fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

Program helps women work to better their lives

The Women’s Bureau has been doing the work to make sure women have jobs since the 1920s.

As part of their venture, the bureau sponsors Working Women in Transition . The multi-regional demonstration project, co-sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor, is designed to assist women who have arrived at a significant transition in their work lives.

Hands.net, a news wire on human service events, detailed the latest graduation from at Working Women in Transition initiative in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Arkansas-based Hope Center, a faith-based organization, conducted the graduation ceremony for current and past recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) who completed the program.

The transition program currently has initiatives in 11 states.

For more information on how to start an initiative in your area, contact the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau.

December 10, 2007 Posted by | Initiatives | , , | 1 Comment

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.

December 10, 2007 Posted by | Kid Concerns, Related Reports | , , , , , | Leave a comment

To catch a welfare thief, start with the state

In a Nov. 23 article by The Advocate out of Baton Rouge, LA, the numbers are clear, but the destination is not.

Millions of dollars are given away each year in public assistance programs such as TANF, but many government officials don’t know where they end up.

According to the article, during the past fiscal year, Louisiana spent more than $42 million in two TANF-funded cash assistance programs it administers — the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program and the Kinship Care Subsidy Program.

But the federal law that created TANF in 1996 requires state agencies to confirm “the state has established and is enforcing standards and procedures to ensure against program fraud and abuse,” the article said.

But policy experts say the broad definition of welfare fraud makes it hard to catch.

  • Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a senior policy analyst for the Center for Law and Social Policy, said in an e-mail that she does not know of any state that puts specific limits on how TANF cash assistance may be spent, so there is technically no such thing as “misuse of funds.”
  • Kenneth Wolfe, spokesman for the national Administration for Children and Families said the federal government ultimately oversees the funding of cash assistance programs, but it is the state and local agencies that are the direct administrators.
  • “No state in the nation monitors what is purchased with the monthly benefits,” Louisiana Department of Social Services spokeswoman Cleo Allen said.

November 26, 2007 Posted by | Busted, Critiques & Critics, Legally Speaking | , , , , , , | 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

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

IN brings the heat for low-income families

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels announced last week that $56 million will help heat up Hoosier homes this winter.

inSide Indiana Business reports the money will come from the state’s Energy Assistance Program.

The assistance program includes $44 million of federal funds, $6.9 million from a special allocation of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) funds previously ordered by the governor, and $4.7 million in contingency and carry-over funds from the 2006-07 program year.

The money will help individuals and families with incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty level who need help paying their winter heating bills.

Daniels increased the level of eligibility from 125 percent of the poverty level to 150 percent of the poverty level two years ago.

To get more information on the assistance program, contact your local utility company.

November 18, 2007 Posted by | Initiatives | , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog says immigrants scapegoats for poor social security system

Count the opinion as you will, but know it’s from an Everyday Citizen.

A blog entry on Nov. 14th from the site Everyday Citizen corners one viewer who comments, “the majority of illegal aliens in this country are from Mexico and they know exactly what they are doing. For them, America is the land of the free – health care, welfare, food stamps, no taxes on their income …”

As blogger Larry James would have you know it, illegal immigrants do not qualify for TANF benefits and subsidized assistance.

James is CEO of Central Dallas Ministries (CDM), a human and community development corporation with a focus on economic and social justice at work in inner city neighborhoods.

That notion is supported by a commentary like this one by the San Diego Union-Tribune, entitled, Illegal Immigrants and Social Security.

If not for the billions in payroll taxes that illegal immigrants are paying into the system, the funding crisis facing Social Security would be much more serious and much more imminent

Writer Ruben Navarette brings out the fact that the stream of illegal immigrants is a cycle, supported by the acceptance of bogus identification by so-called reputable companies. The passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act support the need to have a Social Security Card, not to prove that card is real. As a result, many adults, children, and families sow the social benefits from which we reap, without getting a cut they also, by illegal means, seek. 

November 18, 2007 Posted by | Other Opinions | , , , , , | 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

ND officials say fewer families depending on welfare

When North Dakota officials decided to assess just how welfare had fared in the past ten years, the numbers were enough to know.

Last June, 2,073 North Dakota families received TANF aid, according to the Jamestown Sun.

To put that in perspective, the North Dakota Department of Human Services website reports that, “in July 1997, when the state implemented welfare reform, 3,859 families were receiving TANF assistance.”

But in the past several years, a closer look will show that the decrease in families often had nothing to do with finding stable jobs.

  • Of 7,392 TANF cases closed between July 2005 and June 2007:
    • 180 are listed as closed due to employment; 42 because the five-year limit was reached
    • 225 because they were sanctioned for not complying with work or educational programs
    • 1,508 because they had excess unearned income or began collecting child support due them.
    • Other reasons account for the rest.

The drop in welfare families comes in large part because of the state’s excellent economy, state officials said last week.

November 8, 2007 Posted by | Related Reports | , , , , , | 1 Comment

TANF money funds healthy marriage program

Laurel Community Family Center staff

Is it too intrusive to get good marriage advice through your local government?

One local community group in Laurel, Miss. thinks it’s a good idea, especially for families that can’t afford marital enrichment classes.Yesterday, the Laurel Leader Call featured a program promoting healthy marriages through a TANF grant, awarded by the Department of Human Services under the Mississippi Healthy Marriage Initiative. Mariann Taylor, director of the Laurel Community Family Center, says the grant is necessary for making healthy families, which leads to healthy communities.

When you have strong, stable marriages, it trickles down into all aspects of your society.

“You have a better economy, you have less crime. So that was the city’s thinking in writing this, and I’ve been to some conferences and training, and they’re really applauding the city for being that forward thinking.”

Taylor said governments have begun to fund healthy marriage initiatives across the nation because research shows children, on average, do better when raised in a two-parent family.

The Intiative’s website says “the Mississippi Healthy Marriage Initiative is not a counseling program. ” But it is designed to help singles make informed decisions, and couples making lasting choices.

For more information on the family center, call 601-425-4035.

November 5, 2007 Posted by | Initiatives, Marriage Matters | , , , , | Leave a comment