Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Welfare Plan Would Put Single Mothers to Work

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Welfare Plan Would Put Single Mothers to Work

Article excerpt

President Bill Clinton's welfare-reform proposal would establish a work program for single mothers, putting 400,000 young women into community service or subsidized jobs by the end of the decade, administration officials said Friday.

Conservatives quickly denounced the plan as "empty political propaganda," and advocates for the poor warned that it puts poor children at risk of hunger and homelessness.

The administration is expected to send Congress its $9.3 billion blueprint next week, but some lawmakers do not believe that there is enough time to pass a welfare reform bill this year.

"This is all show right now," said Rep. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. "They introduced it before the elections so they can campaign on a welfare plan. That's not real. That's politics. That's games."

The heart of Clinton's plan is a 24-month limit on cash benefits for most adults, almost all of them women, who are on the rolls of Aid to Families with Dependent Children. But it also gets tough with the hundreds of thousands of men who father children and then walk away, avoiding child support payments.

Parents who exhaust their cash benefits and are unable to find a job on their own would be enrolled in a subsidized job or community service job that pays the minimum wage.

They would be allowed to remain in the work program indefinitely, as long as they were doing everything possible to find jobs in the private sector, officials said.

Although the plan is designed to discourage lengthy stays in jobs subsidized by taxpayers, the government could wind up supporting some welfare recipients for years. But anyone who refused the offer of a private-sector job would be ejected.

According to the administration, the work program would grow to 400,000 participants by the year 2000. If 5 million families are still on welfare by then, just 8 percent would be enrolled. …

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