Sunday, August 07, 2005

Welform: Reforming Welfare Reform

(After typing welform a half dozen times, I gave up and decided to use it.)

I know there are some who view Wyoming's welform as a success. They have reduced the number of families on welfare by a staggering 90% to only 400, and have seriously reduced the problem of generational dependence on welfare. A success for those who think government has no role in providing assistance for the poor.

However, they did that not by helping single mothers escape a cycle of poverty, but by creating severe requirements that simply make poor single mothers ineligible for welfare, shifting the state's role in their support to other (often also poor) family members, friends, charities, or other states, as poor single women are forced to move to states that provide more welfare.

Perhaps it's just the Democratic Governor, but even conservative, cowboy-self-reliant Wyoming realizes their welform doesn't work:
"Welfare reform had two promises: We would reduce the rolls; and we would provide jobs that pay well enough to get out of poverty," said Rodger McDaniel, head of Wyoming's Department of Family Services, the state's welfare agency.

"We've only done one of those."

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