Her Thoughts — The question of welfare

Published 2:00 pm Friday, April 1, 2022

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The welfare system in the United States has been something that I’ve thought about for many years. Many Americans have become dependent on it. Under the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt the New Deal plan was created in the 1930s during the Great Depression in order to help the economy bounce back. Welfare was a part of that initiative which was designed to help struggling individuals and families meet their basic needs. Programs like the Aid For Families and Dependent Children (AFDC) and later the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant gave families a means of support.

Yet, I believe, over the years some have misused the system. You have those who find themselves in a situation where children are born outside of marriage with mothers having to find a means of support for their children. Why? Because some fathers won’t step up and take responsibility for the children they have helped create. For the fathers who are taking care of their children, thank God for you. This doesn’t apply to you. Here’s where the misuse comes in. The Welfare programs AFDC and TANF were temporary solutions; not meant to be lived off the rest of one’s life. Isn’t there a way to become less dependent on Welfare? In the past, legislators have suggested modifications like having the mother name the father in order to secure benefits, yet, nothing ever became of that suggestion. Just think about the amount of money that could be diverted from the inflated Welfare system to other programs such as education and job creation. For example, provide services such as job training and financial management workshops so individuals and families could benefit from meaningful assistance.

Subsequently, in 1996 the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (perfect name) altered the set up for Welfare payments, adding new criteria for states that receive Welfare funding. During President Bill Clinton’s administration these reforms would change Welfare with each state receiving flat rates based on population. All states must meet certain criteria to ensure that recipients are being encouraged to get off Welfare and go to work. That reformed program is called the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). In addition, each state is encouraged to require individuals to show proof of employment search in order for funds to be relinquished imposing a five year lifetime limit cash assistance.

You see, Welfare, as we know it, was established to assist those in economic hardship for a time-not all the time. The hardship of not having the support of the family unit can impact so many lives on so many levels. We should strive to create a system where Welfare and the continual dependence on it will be a thing of the past. With prayer through action that, I believe, can happen.

Judy Moore lives in Wylliesburg and can be reached at v5agabond2@gmail.com. Ms. Moore is a tour guide at The Central High Museum.