Nor is she eligible to receive Medicaid, based on her minimum wage income.
This has put the minimum wage earning single parent in a situation where she must devote her minimum wage to food and healthcare, if healthcare is available to her through her job, and, if it is not, she becomes medically uninsured.
TANF now allows states money to.".. spend their share of federal block grant funds ($16.38 billion annually) in any way "reasonably calculated to achieve the purposes of TANF (Hasnan and Morris, 2)." This is an incredibly worrisome aspect of the program, since it would be necessary to challenge on a step-by-step basis the ways in which the states use of the $16.38 billion dollars annually to determine if in fact those monies are being spent in furthering the goals of TANF. This is allowing the states access to monies budgeted to needy families, and there is no oversight in connection with assuring that the states use the money in ways that assist the families, or whether or not the use of the money is metaphorically assisting the families, with no real improvement in the lives of the families for the dollars spent. The temptation for corruption in the spending of these monies is overwhelming, and requires an intensive and independent study to determine where, and by whom and on whom, these monies are being spent.
Abstract the new welfare system mandates participation in work activity. We review the evolution of the 1996 legislation and how states implement welfare reform. We examine evidence on recipients' employment, well-being, and future earnings potential to assess the role of welfare in women's work. Policies rewarding work and penalizing nonwork, such as sanctions, time limits, diversion, and earnings "disregards," vary across states. While caseloads fell and employment rose, most women who left welfare work in low-wage jobs without benefits. Large minorities report material hardships and face barriers to work including depression, low skills, or no transportation. And disposable income decreased among the poorest female-headed families. Among the important challenges for future research is to differentiate between the effects of welfare reform, the economy, and other policies on women's work, and to assess how variations in state welfare programs affect caseloads and employment outcomes of recipients (Corcoran, Danziger, Kalil, Seefeldt, 2000, 241)."
Additionally, TANF allows the states to limit further the five-year cash assistance, to two years. This, again, makes an assumption as to a child's readiness to be surrendered to the public systems for his or her nurturing needs.
Another set of questions focuses on state policies. How much do welfare recipients' work and economic outcomes vary across states? How much of this variation is due to differences in state policies or implementation practices? What proportion of applicants are diverted from enrolling on welfare, and how are these diverted applicants faring? Are work requirements, anticipation of time limits, or sanctions the primary reason state welfare rolls are falling and single mothers' employment is up? (Corcoran, Danziger, Kalil, Seefeldt, 2000, 241)."
TANF also has given rise to a number of other peripherally related conditions. There is a proliferation of short-term "grant" factories that have sprung up in the rural areas where perhaps welfare recipients are collectively more numerous than in urban centers. These factories exploit the poor by providing job training to young women, single parents being forced off welfare, and into those factory jobs at minimum wage.
One type of training that shows promise is employer-based training ("EBT"). EBT is training that is typically employer-initiated and customized to meet the needs of the employer. It involves an extensive assessment of the employee's skills and job performance. (11) Although research into EBT is just beginning, results suggest that EBT is beneficial. There are indications that EBT programs might offer better opportunities for at least a segment of the welfare population. In addition, people are just beginning to recognize the importance of post-employment training and development if former welfare recipients are to remain and be promoted in the workplace (Ellis, 2005, 589)."
The factories receive subsidies from the state for participating in the "welfare-to-work" job programs by providing jobs to the mothers. This is one way in which the states have elected to exercise their discretion over the TANF funds they receive.
The WIA replaced the myriad of existing job training and development programs administered under the JTPA (30) with three block grants to the states funding adult employment and training, disadvantaged youth, and adult education and family literacy. One of the major goals of the WIA was to streamline services. (31) to meet this objective, each local area established a one-stop delivery system offering multiple employment and training services serving both employers and job seekers. (32) the one-stop center allows clients to engage in job search activities, explore work preparation and career development services, and access a full range of employment, training, and adult educational programs at a single location (Ellis, 2005, 589)." problem with WIA and EBT is that former Clinton administration supporters and promulgators of TANF are touting the success of WIA, EBT and TANF without enough research having been conducted in these areas. There is not enough information through studies to show that the claims to success, or that the "benefits" of these programs are indeed successful or beneficial to the families. At best, these programs arise out of social bias, and, at worst, they are designed to take dollars budgeted by Congress out of the hands of the families, and place those funds into the hands employers whose job training programs do not prepare the recipients for long-term employment or with the skill to go into the job market and find work - other than their "special" training - where they have acquired the skills to meet employer needs in other than low paying factory jobs. The programs are keeping them in lowing paying jobs, factory work for the most part, for which there is little to personally feel good about, or to financially benefit them long-term.
Welfare to work recipients do not demonstrate long-term employment, in part because employers who are not participants in the welfare to work program through WIA (Corcoran, Danziger, Kalil, Seefeldt, 2000, 241). It would probably, after studies are eventually, if ever, conducted, be demonstrated that one of the reasons welfare to work mothers do not maintain long-term employment, is because being employed presents many more obstacles for them as single parents than did staying at home to raise their children on the AFDC system.
Social Bias of Welfare to Work
To suggest that single parents by virtue of their need less capable of parenting skills is the implication of the two-year welfare to work policy that forces single mothers off of welfare and into a job market for which they are ill equipped skill-wise or socially to deal with; is a reflection of social bias at is worst. While the former Clinton administration pointed to the success rate in employing single mothers, it likewise shifted the parenting responsibilities of these young women to public daycare and school systems, where the families were further targeted for biased incentive programs, and for more morally unforgivable practices; such as steering the children of single parents towards social service agencies and psychiatric practitioners who actually prey upon these indigent families.
In a recent New York Times article, "Child Welfare Turns Nightmare," Somini Sengupta described the impact of this fear in poor New York City neighborhoods. Cynthia Marquez, a Bushwick mother, was suspected of child abuse when her ten-year-old son with behavioral problems hit his little brother and school officials reported the bruises. A child welfare investigator inspected her apartment and questioned the children. The charges were dropped, but the encounter with the child welfare agency left its mark on the family. The next time her son threw a temper tantrum Marquez thought twice about calling the police to help her control him. Marquez's decision, Sengupta writes, reflects "a real everyday fear that a momentary crisis can become something worse. That a parental mistake can lead to an investigation. Or that in the nightmare case a difficult child can be taken away."
229 Parents feel they are "living out every parenting move under suspicion" and routinely protect themselves against the constant threat of investigation. They carry documents clearing them of abuse and neglect charges, such as a doctor's note for school absences and food pantry receipts in case they run out of groceries (Roberts, 2001, 77)."
This writer was surprised, too, to discover that people whose titles are designated as "marketing representatives," for private mental healthcare hospitals, regularly telephone and meet with school counselors in order to assess potential admissions to the hospitals where they work. Additionally, the "marketing reps" make regular holiday and follow up visits to the schools and counselors, often leaving candy, flowers and other low cost gifts, or taking those school officials to lunch or dinner. It gives rise to concerns about who is being referred to these mental…