On Monday I posted a link to an article about one of the first studies to be conducted on the effects of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act. The Study suggested that the deeply poor may be worst off then they were before welfare reform. Today Mother Jones ran an article that brought me to tears. In an article titled Alabama Voters to Decide Whether to Save Poor Kids, writer Stephanie Mencimer revels that Alabama may become the first state to drop out of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Should that happen an already bad situation would be made much worse. According to Mencimer:
In Alabama, TANF benefits are really hard to get. A family of three won’t qualify if the parent earned more than $3,200 in annual income; that’s five times below the federal poverty line. And the average payment is only $189 a month. That amount could be higher, but Alabama diverts almost a quarter of its TANF grant to other projects, like child abuse and neglect programs—initiatives that the state would have to pay for itself if it lost its federal block grant funds.
Mencimer went on to explain how Congress made an already difficult situation for Alabama’s poor harder by allowing TANF Supplemental Grants to expire. If you are a Social Worker in Alabama what has the professions response been? Has your state’s NASW chapter or any other Social Work group been organizing to fight this?
Posted by Rachel L. West, MSW, LMSW