Fraser Says Welfare Reform Must Strengthen the Family

By Quist, Janet | Nation's Cities Weekly, June 8, 1992 | Go to article overview

Fraser Says Welfare Reform Must Strengthen the Family


Quist, Janet, Nation's Cities Weekly


According to Minneapolis mayor Don Fraser, first vice president of the National League of Cites, "The United States is on a self-destructive path of impoverishing families and children."

Fraser, who presented testimony before the House Domestic Task Force of the House Select Committee on Hunger, spoke of the need for the nation's welfare policy to focus on strengthening children and families rather than solely on parents.

The Task Force hearing, chaired by Rep. Mike Espy (D-Miss.), focused on the "State and Local Perspective on Welfare Reform: Rhetoric, Reality and Opportunities." The reality that was depicted illustrated the failures of the AFDC program and other current policies to provide support for family structure. And while the Family Support Act of 1988 was discussed in mostly positive terms, witness imparted some of the shortcomings of implementing a national program when all regions of the country do not fit program expectations.

Rep. Bill Emerson (R-Mo.), who represents a mainly rural district, discussed the problems with requiring job training in return for public assistance in a rural area when there are no jobs to be had and no transportation to get to a job even if there was one. Emerson also described the situation of one young woman who would have to relocate to gain full-time employment. However, she had no place to live if she moved and there was no guarantee that a job would be found anyway. These were not the only problems with current policy.

One witness from Mississippi testified that "the average welfare benefit for a woman with two children is $13,000 per year in this country. I cannot speak for the rest of the county, but I can assure you that the cash benefit for a woman with two children in Mississippi is a whopping $1,440 per year. …

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