Welfare to Work: Does It Really Benefit Single Parents? When President Clinton signed the Personal Responsible & Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in August of 1996, it ended welfare as we know it. Under this reform, wages and earnings replaced welfare, but many critics felt only problems arose from this program. Welfare to work forces poor and single parents into jobs that do not supply sufficient living wages (Albelda 1). These single parents can never work enough hours to support their families because the jobs are often inflexible which is not a match for a single parent.
Chances are employers who hire low wage workers do not want workers to come in late because there was no child care or miss days because the child was sick. Welfare to work fails to realize parents probably should not put their low wage jobs before the needs of their children. The jobs provided somehow seem to have the least benefits. Things like vacations, sick days, and health care that go hand in hand with a regular job are not as available in these low wage jobs (Albelda 1).Transportation and location are other huge problems that welfare to work does not accommodate all to well. In suburban and rural areas where buses are not that accessible, the workers have to get on “work vans?to travel long distances.
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Either parents then have to pay more money to sitters or the kids are spending even more time without their parents. ; thus creating more problems than solutions. In the film Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore shows us where the welfare to work program goes wrong. In a rural area of Flint, Michigan a mother was in welfare to work program. She traveled long distances, worked long hours, and still barely made living wages.
The rent was overdue and the mother decided to work some extra hours, so she sent the son to her brother’s house. There the son found a gun and shot another six year old in his elementary school. Furthermore, workers employed as low wage workers tend to receive very minimum training. The parents in turn are not ready for the labor market if they wanted a more permanent and steady job.
On the other hand, welfare to work may be working because when Clinton signed the welfare reform bill in 1996, his goal was 10,000 new federal hires, but the federal Office of Personnel Management reports that as of January 2001, 50,827 former welfare recipients have found work (Doherty 1). Single parents are now receiving earnings and it does not seem as if they are getting “hand outs?anymore. Our society greatly values paid work, so single parents are building up their moral.
These parents may even feel “I am?worth something in society because I am earning my living as opposed to receiving “hand outs.?Working also allows for economic security and financial independence. Under this new bill, the once ever-growing number of recipients on welfare is rapidly decreasing. For example, a Job Center in Los Angeles had 9,100 families on welfare and it has decreased by fort percent. Currently, the rate is falling by 6,000 recipients a day. (Haskins 3).
James D. VanErden, vice president of the National Alliance of Business, declares this law has “changed the outlook for the welfare population?by instilling in them an expectation of work, but it also “has been a boon for business?(Miller 2). Gateway, a major computer manufacturer agrees to this statement. The plant has hired between 400 and 500 former welfare recipients and that makes up forty percent of its workforce (Miller 2). Perhaps this success is because companies need workers and people on welfare need jobs.
Moreover, states are individually attempting to solve the problems of childcare and transportation. In Wisconsin, for example, companies are using vouchers for child-care services; Atlanta and Philadelphia have changed their bus routes to help accommodate workers..