Pushing Moms on Welfare

24childcarePicA1-articleLarge When Bill Clinton vowed to end welfare as we know, child care was always an issue. Does it make sense to force the single mom to work for minimum wage at McDonald's and then pay someone else to watch her child? Many argued yes. The mom would gain skills at her job, which would enable her to find more well paying jobs. The state would subsidize the child care for a short time. This would end the cycle of poverty.

Welfare time limits and subsidized child care did keep people off the welfare rolls. While there was never great data on what happened to people once they were kicked off of welfare, there was evidence that this program did get people working again.

Until the economy sucked. Between huge unemployment numbers and declined state budgets, which have decimated subsidized child care programs, single moms are in trouble. The New York Times reports on how the reduced numbers of subsidized child care programs are pushing women back on welfare.

The cuts to subsidized child care challenge the central tenet of the
welfare overhaul adopted in 1996, which imposed a five-year lifetime
limit on cash assistance. Under the change, low-income parents were
forced to give up welfare checks and instead seek paychecks, while
being promised support — not least, subsidized child care — that would
enable them to work.

Now, in this moment of painful budget cuts, with Arizona and more than
a dozen other states placing children eligible for subsidized child
care on waiting lists, only two kinds of families are reliably securing
aid: those under the supervision of child protective services — which
looks after abuse and neglect cases — and those receiving cash
assistance.

Without subsidized child care and without viable job opportunities, we're about to return to welfare as we've always known it.

2 thoughts on “Pushing Moms on Welfare

  1. What struck me most about the article is the disdain that the working poor have for people who have gone on welfare.
    “Ms. Wallace abhors the thought of going on cash assistance, a station she associates with lazy people who con the system. . . ‘I fall back to — I can’t say “being a lowlife” — but being like the typical person living off the government. That’s not what I’m trying to do.'”
    It’s a sentiment I have found common among people who are (or who grew up in) relatively poor neighborhoods. Your availability heuristic pulls up the hardworking neighbor who would never go on welfare, and also pulls up lazy Mr. Jones, who you hated because he always seemed to get by without working for anything.
    It never pulls up those neighbors who had to go on welfare, but did it quietly without bragging. It also didn’t pull up those people who lived in neighborhoods even poorer than yours, who didn’t even have the opportunities that lazy Mr. Jones passed over.

  2. What struck me most about the article is the disdain that the working poor have for people who have gone on welfare.
    I think that without that type of distain, the whole welfare system would collapse because of high costs.

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