Saturday, July 26, 2008

Welfare to Work: Myths

My fellow Democrats,

Since social justice is an integral part of our party platform, and in the interest of making sure we are all armed with accurate information about public safety net programs like welfare, I thought I'd post this reference sheet from the American Psychological Association:

Myth: Poverty Results From a Lack of Responsibility

Fact: Poverty Results From Low Wages

Myth: A Huge Chunk of My Tax Dollars Supports Welfare Recipients

Fact: Welfare Costs 1 Percent of the Federal Budget

Myth: People on Welfare Become Permanently Dependent on the Support

Fact: Movement off Welfare Rolls Is Frequent

Myth: Most Welfare Recipients Are African American Women

Fact: Most Welfare Recipients Are Children-Most Women on Welfare Are White

Myth: Welfare Encourages Out-of- Wedlock Births and Large Families

Fact: The Average Welfare Family Is No Bigger Than the Average Nonwelfare Family

Myth: Welfare Families Use Their Benefits to Fund Extravagance

Fact: Welfare Families Live Far Below the Poverty Line

Finally, the APA goes further to suggest some recommendations for making the family safety net called "welfare" a more successful program:

1. Federal and state agencies should provide newspapers and other media with accurate information about welfare recipients and programs, including information on welfare reform.

2. Jobs need to pay better than welfare. Rather than focusing on welfare time limits, policy action at the state and federal levels must address reforming the low-wage labor market by raising wages and increasing the ability of low-wage workers to join unions and bargain collectively.

3. Public and private agencies should collaborate more effectively to promote and increase employment opportunities for women, especially of hard-to-place women.

4. States should provide training for case managers and other appropriate personnel to advocate for, support, and follow up with clients in ways that are not adversarial or punitive during their job search process.

5. States and federal agencies should fund and conduct research on the impact of the transition of mothers to work on the mother and the family and on what strategies best promote most positive outcomes for the mothers and their families.

6. States should require and fund formative and summative evaluations of proposed programs.
Thank you for your time and for all that you are doing to help us win in November!

D. Tree

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