MCC Supports Welfare Reform

This week the MCC testified before the House Committee on Children and Families in support of SB 24, legislation that proposes a number of reforms to the temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) program. This legislation ensures recipients meet face-to-face with a caseworker to develop a roadmap for moving off welfare and out of poverty. Too often, under the current program, this never happens.

MCC testimony pointed out how recipients can benefit from face-to-face meetings where required work activities are discussed and plans made for how the recipient can participate. While recognizing the value of work activities, including job training and education, the MCC also stressed the need for support services, such as daycare and transportation. The MCC also said:

The insistence that people ought to work and the recognition that work is  good for people, however, should not blind us to another crucial moral consideration: innocent children will be affected by how we reform TANF. These children are not responsible for the decisions of their parents. The MCC therefore has deep reservations about imposing a full family sanction. If such a penalty is to be imposed, we owe it to children that it be a last resort.
The MCC noted how the Missouri State Plan declares that one of the four purposes of TANF is to “encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.”  Yet, currently, many recipients are unmarried mothers and that can create problems for the children. Committee members were provided with a copy of a MCC Messenger, The Marriage Crisis No One Is Talking About, which further discusses challenges faced by fragile families.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *