A Growing Concern over Welfare
Welfare is a growing concern across the nation, and Louisiana is being hit harder than ever with cuts affecting those on government assistance. However, the solution is not cutting these programs, but to support well-structured programs that will help those on government assistance find a foothold in today’s economy, giving them a helping hand, not a hand out. The Welfare system has become a drain on the states economy, but that does not mean that we should give up on our fellow citizens denying them the help they need. We need to look at welfare reform, current politicians see the problem but lack the guts and the ingenuity to put into place a system that would make this state stronger and provide a better life for its people.
We are raising up a generation that has never known a life without government assistance, one that sees no hope, no way out of the system, a generation that feels defeated before they are even given the opportunity to try.
Our current system of welfare entraps our citizens into a never-ending circle of dependency. I propose reforming welfare, by allowing the state to implement a cohesive four step program that will allow those in need to receive assistance immediately, one that provides for on the job training, childcare, housing, and job placement. A well-structured stepped approach to welfare that provides educational opportunities, job placement and housing could provide a positive solution to the issue of social welfare and the growing drain on the state’s economy.
The program would consist of a four-year plan, in which recipients would receive financial assistance, medical care, childcare, living expenses and food, during their first two years on the program. These years would involve job training or adult education classes, counseling, money management classes, parenting classes, and household management skills. Year 3 would provide on the job training, giving those on assistance the experience employers are looking for when they attempt to find work on their own. Companies providing these job opportunities would receive further benefits from the state. During year four, counselors would work with recipients, helping them budget their households as the amount of assistance would be lessened according to their new salary, and the search for non-government housing would begin. This year recipients would work with a mentor to insure they are able to manage their money and household budgets.
A program like this would reverse the negative impact welfare programs have had on our state, turning the receipts of government assistance into members of the community that contribute to the economy's growth through revenue and taxes.
House GOP’s Proposed Budget Cuts Would Cost Louisiana Millions of Dollars in Federal Funding
February 24th, 2011 Posted by: Teaway Zehyoue Collins
A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examines the impact of H.R. 1, a proposal passed by the Republican-controlled House in Congress that would cut 2011 non-security discretionary funding by 13.8 percent and negatively affect low-income families and children. For example, the House proposal would reduce funding to Head Start programs by nearly $1.1 billion. Head Start programs promote school readiness among at-risk children up to 5 years old by enhancing development through education and other services. If enacted into law, this bill would negatively affect over 21,000 children in Louisiana that are enrolled in Head Start programs.
These proposed cuts by House Republicans would also affect other programs in Louisiana:
The issue of Welfare Reform involves not only the state, but national reform
I have included how we as a state can help to change the welfare system in
Louisiana, as well as provided information on what is currently going on
I believe there two fundamental changes we must make in Louisiana to decrease our populations dependency on Welfare and government assistance.
1. Fund Education Properly. Provide Public Schools with Vocational and
Agriculture Programs that work in conjunction with Trade Schools to put a
skilled labor force back into Louisiana’s Economy.
2. Work to bring the Workforce Investment Network to Louisiana – WIN
has a proven track record of helping states cut the welfare population, by
providing citizens with a hand up, not a hand out. Through WIN we can provide welfare recipients with educational opportunities, job training, and access to good paying jobs. http://www.workforceinvestment.org/
*This is an informational Page to look at Welfare; how Louisiana fits into
the larger National picture, and to examine how our children are affected.
Here is a summary of a Law introduced to Reform Welfare Nationally:
Congressional Research Service Summary
The following summary was written by the Congressional Research Service, a
well-respected nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress.
3/17/2011--Introduced. Welfare Reform Act of 2011 - Welfare Reform Restoration Act - Amends part A (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) (TANF) of title IV of the Social Security Act to revise the TANF program by: (1) eliminating the temporary modification of the caseload reduction credit; a(2) reducing funding of state family assistance grants. Amends the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to:
(1) restore its former name, the Food Stamp Act of 1977, and restore its text as if the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 had not been enacted; (2) rename supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits once again as food stamps;
(3) revise work requirements for the food stamp program; and
(4) require able-bodied work eligible adult members of a family unit to participate in a work activation program during a full month of participation in the food stamp program, fulfilling specified levels of work activity during that month.
(Work activation means, not employment, but supervised job search, community service activities, education and job training, workfare, or drug and alcohol treatment.)
Specifies a financial reward for any state that reduces its food stamp caseload below calendar 2006 levels.
Requires the President to include means-tested welfare spending in every budget submission.
Amends the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 and the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 to define and establish an aggregate cap for means-tested welfare spending.
Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide grants to states to reward reductions in poverty and government dependence and increases in self-sufficiency.
Prohibits the expenditure for abortions, with certain exceptions, of any funds authorized or appropriated by federal law, and funds in any trust fund to which funds are authorized or appropriated by federal law. Prohibits funding for health benefits plans that cover abortion.
Prohibits the allowance of any tax credit with respect to amounts paid or incurred for an abortion or with respect to amounts paid or incurred for a health benefits plan (including premium assistance) that includes coverage of abortion. www.govtrack.us
Statistics for Louisiana Children as of January 2011
1,123,386 children live in Louisiana: 7,804 are American Indian/Alaska Native17,694 are Asian/Pacific Islander24,189 are two or more races50,029 are Hispanic425,858 are Black605,720 are White, non-Hispanic
- In Louisiana:
A child is abused or neglected every 54 minutes.A child dies before his or her first birthday every 14 hours.A child or teen is killed by gunfire every 3 days.
Louisiana Ranks:*30th among states in per pupil expenditures.49th among states in percent of babies born at low birthweight.48th among states in its infant mortality rate.
Child Poverty in Louisiana:
Number of poor children (and percent poor) 268,036 (24.2%)Number of children living in extreme poverty (and percent in extreme poverty) 116,581 (10.5%)Number of adults and children receiving cash assistance from TemporaryAssistance for Needy Families (TANF) 24,170Maximum monthly TANF cash assistance for a family of three $240.
Child Health in Louisiana:
Number of children without health insurance (and percent uninsured) 131,000 (11.0%)Number of children enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)* 170,082**CHIP eligibility: 250 percent of federal poverty ($55,125 for a family of four)Number of children enrolled in Medicaid 580,686**Medicaid and CHIP participation rate 88.5%Children as a percent of total Medicaid enrollment 55.0%Medicaid expenditures on children as a percent of total Medicaid expenditures 25.0%Percent of two-year-olds not fully immunized 23.1%*States may have a different name for CHIP**The number of enrolled children throughout the year rather than on a given day.
Child Hunger in Louisiana:
Number of children who receive food stamps 323,236Percent of eligible persons who receive food stamps 74%Number of children in the School Lunch Program (free and reduced price only) 385,570Number of children in the Summer Food Service Program 30,033Number of women and children receiving WIC (Supplemental Nutrition Programfor Women, Infants, and Children) 141,704.
Early Childhood Development in Louisiana:
Percent of children under age 6 with all parents in the labor force 66.4%Number of children served by Head Start 22,712Number of children served by the Child Care Development Fund/CCDBG 46,600Average annual cost of child care for a four-year-old in a center $4,610Percent of 3-year-olds enrolled in state pre-k, Head Start, or specialeducation programs 18.0%Percent of 4-year-olds enrolled in state pre-k, Head Start, or specialeducation programs 48.2%.
Education in Louisiana:
Annual expenditure per prisoner $10,252, Annual expenditure per public school pupil $8,486
Percent of public school fourth graders:unable to read at grade level 82%unable to do math at grade level 77%Percent of public school eighth graders:unable to read at grade level 80%unable to do math at grade level 80%Number of high school students who drop out of school annually 20,456
Child Welfare in Louisiana:
Number of children who are victims of abuse and neglect 9,660Number of children in foster care 4,786Number of children adopted from foster care 578Number of grandparents raising grandchildren 62,668Youth at Risk in LouisianaPercent of 16- to 19-year-olds not enrolled in school who are not highschool graduates 7.8%Averaged freshman high school graduation rate 63.5%Percent of 16- to 19-year-olds unemployed 19.6%Number of juvenile arrests 18,674Number of children and teens in juvenile residential facilities 1,350Ratio of cost per prisoner to cost per public school pupil 1.2Number of children and teens killed by firearms: 11482 homicides; 21 suicides; 10 accidents; and 1 undetermined http://www.childrensdefense.org: