How Are States Using Welfare Funding? Often, Not to Help People Work.

View Newsletter in Browser to Governing Magazine & Newsletters on Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn FEATURED STORY How Are States Using Welfare Funding? Often, Not to Help People Work. By J.B. Wogan When Congress reformed the nation’s welfare program 20 years ago, it set a new condition for eligibility: Recipients must have a job or be searching for one. But the 1996 reforms also gave states freedom to decide how to spend their federal welfare funding. As a result, many aren’t spending it on programs that directly help people find employment. Last year, on average, states used less than 10 percent of welfare funding for work-related services, such as subsidized employment, job training, job search assistance and transportation vouchers. In Louisiana, a policy research group recently referred to the state’s welfare program as a slush fund “used to plug holes in the state budget caused by large tax cuts." This isn’t illegal, said Liz Schott, a senior fellow with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Instead, it highlights a gray area that allows states to use the money in ways that technically meet the letter of the law but break from the spirit of a work-oriented welfare program. One of those areas is child welfare. KEEP READING >> MORE HUMAN SERVICES COVERAGE Welfare and the Underappreciated Value of Long-Term Thinking A new approach asks recipients to look past short-term work and instead focus on making choices that will improve the rest of their lives. Why’s It So Hard to Connect Health to Social Factors? WOne of the goals of President Obama’s signature health reform is to focus more on population health, but the programs are off to a slow start. Social Work’s Gender Problem Its ranks are overwhelmingly female. Bringing more men into the field would improve the way it deals with family and parenting issues. For Some Social Workers, Talking to Media Could Get Them Fired—-or-Risk-Their-Jobs.html The policy in Kentucky follows news stories in which social workers have voiced growing frustration about rising caseloads. In Maine, Winning the Lottery Now Means Losing Food Stamps The state also recently barred people from spending welfare money on lottery tickets, among other things. Studies Discredit Policies That Punish Poor for Saving Money Proponents like Maine Gov. Paul LePage argue so-called asset tests save states money and shrink welfare rolls. New research suggests otherwise. ENJOY THIS NEWSLETTER? Governing has 9 others delivering news and commentary on a wide range of topics straight to your inbox. SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE TODAY Unsubscribe″ > | Opt out of all e.Republic email | Privacy Statement © 2016 e.Republic. All rights reserved. 100 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, CA 95630. Phone: 916-932-1300