Poor Enough to Be Eligible? Child Abuse, Neglect, and the Poverty Requirement

By Mangold, Susan Vivian | St. John's Law Review, Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

Poor Enough to Be Eligible? Child Abuse, Neglect, and the Poverty Requirement


Mangold, Susan Vivian, St. John's Law Review


An abused or neglected child must be poor to be eligible for federal funds for foster care maintenance payments.1 The income eligibility criteria forces agency workers to focus on the poverty status of a child's family. The agency should instead focus exclusively on the child and family's safety and service needs. The income eligibility assessment results in billions of dollars of irrelevant administrative determinations regarding the income and assets of abused and neglected children and their families. Ending the income eligibility for foster care maintenance payments, even if federal funding was not increased, could reallocate funds now wasted on income determinations to the shelter, clothing, and food needs of children in foster care. It would also formally disentangle child welfare from poverty and the now-defunct Aid to Families with Dependent Children ("AFDC") standards.

While no state law includes income eligibility in its definition of child abuse or neglect,2 the federal law mandates welfareeligibility for federal reimbursement of foster care and adoption subsidies for children adopted out of foster care.3 Foster care and adoption assistance subsidies are uncapped entitlement programs under title PV-E of the Social Security Act and are often referred to as "title IV-E programs." The November 2006 conference Race, Culture, Class, and Crisis in Child Welfare: Theory into Practice at St. John's School of Law assembled child advocates from practice and academics to address, in part, the issue of class in child welfare law. Does income eligibility lead to an undue focus on poor families as only they are eligible for valuable federal funds? Does it enter into the risk assessment in improper ways? Is poverty an overwhelming risk for child abuse and neglect? Does the child protection system overwhelmingly focus on poor families and their children to the detriment of these families and of children from non-impoverished families who may not get the attention and services they need? Is the child welfare system in a crisis, due in part to its overemphasis on the poor?

This article provides background to these difficult empirical questions and to the debate on class in the child welfare system by describing the historical and current entanglement between public assistance and federal foster care mandates and funding: You must be eligible for public assistance to be eligible for foster care maintenance payments. The article points out the lack of analysis at the origin of the interrelationship between public assistance and foster care. The importance of federal funding for foster care through the public assistance program was minimized and buried in other public assistance amendments that elicited much greater attention and discussion. The article also exposes the administrative and resource waste caused by the continuation of the entanglement. The article proposes that all questions regarding welfare eligibility be eliminated from eligibility determinations for abused and neglected children and that all administrative assessments exclusively focus on the needs of the abused or neglected child and the child's family, not on their income or financial assets.

Part One of the article first provides background to understand current funding of the foster care system and then reveals the historical origin of the placement of foster care and other programmatic funding for abused and neglected children within the public assistance program. While the interrelationship between public assistance and services to abused and neglected children can be traced to the Progressive Era, the 1960's brought the formal codification of foster care funding mandates into the Social Security Act's income maintenance program. As an end-ofadministration change in January 196 1,4 it was not thoroughly considered, and the extent of the federal involvement was wildly underestimated. 5

Part Two considers current eligibility requirements for foster care funding in the Social Security Act.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Poor Enough to Be Eligible? Child Abuse, Neglect, and the Poverty Requirement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.