October 7, 2009

California reverses welfare position

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Caught between falling budgets and the rising ranks of the unemployed and underemployed on welfare, the state of California has suspended employment assistance services such as child care subsidy for welfare families, according to The New York Times’ Erik Eckholm

After vigorously pursuing policies to push more welfare recipients into the workforce, the state is also dropping work requirements and penalties for single parents with a child aged 1 to 2, or those with two children under 6.

By 2011, the state’s welfare-to-work program CalWorks will enforce stricter rules for participants to reduce costs.  Until then, the state is slashing those programs because they are ineligible for stimulus act funds. 

The reversal of a decade’s worth of welfare policies worries many who supported the cultural change effected by California’s carrot-and-stick approach to getting welfare recipients back to work.

 

 

 

Mr. Schwarzenegger did wring savings out of the state’s welfare-to-work program, known as CalWorks, and achieved a future tightening of the rules. But those changes do not start until July 1, 2011. In the interim, to save $375 million a year, the state is trimming the employment assistance programs at the heart of the welfare-to-work approach, especially subsidized child care, and suspending work requirements for a large share of recipients.

Those programs were selected, in large part, because they were not eligible for extra federal money under the stimulus act.

— Kristen Young

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