Welfare Reform – Guest Post by Brad Young

A guest post by Brad Young, State House Candidate and DYR Member

As a Christian, taking care of the poor and needy is an important part of my faith. Charity towards all mankind is a responsibility I do not take lightly. Following the belief of doing unto others as you would have others do unto you has always served me well.

A key principle to charity is providing a way for the recipient to become self-sufficient thereby no longer needing help of others for daily living. True self-respect and dignity can only come as we learn to be self-sufficient.

For this reason I am a strong supporter of the Workfare system. Workfare is the idea of requiring able-bodied welfare recipients to work or, if necessary, pursue job training which leads to future stable employment. Workfare helps to bring self respect as individuals strive to become self-sufficient.

The first step to bringing Workfare to Georgia is by enforcing the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWORA) signed by President Bill Clinton. This act instituted the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) whose goal is to: “end dependence of needy families on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage.”

The TANF program required that 30-40 percent of able-bodied recipients engage in any of 12 different work activities for a total of 20 – 30 hours per week. These work activities were very broad and included vocational education, community service work, job searching (for up to six weeks) and job readiness training which included high school or GED preparation for those under 20 years of age.

One year prior to PRWORA’s signing, nearly one in seven children was on the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. Within a few short years the TANF program cut the caseload in half and employment rates and earnings among single mothers soared. By 2003 roughly 3 million fewer children lived in poverty than in 1995. This included 1.2 million fewer black children, marking it the lowest level of black child poverty in the nation’s history.

In 2008, this successful program was all but dismantled by the current federal administration. Workfare requirements were no longer enforced and states were incentivised to increase caseloads to bring more money into the state. With this change caseloads rose and poverty climbed.

Georgia must take action. With appropriate state laws mandating workfare back into our state system we can once again help bring self-reliance to our brothers and sisters in need.

 

Information taken from the following research studies:

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/09/obamas-end-run-on-welfare-reform-part-one-understanding-workfare

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/09/obamas-end-run-on-welfare-reform-part-two-dismantling-workfare

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/09/an-overview-of-obama-s-end-run-on-welfare-reform

For more, visit his site at http://www.bradyoung.us/