Two Parent Plan May Do More Harm Than Good
Posted March 1, 1998 6:00 a.m. EST
RALEIGH — The new work rule for welfare families went into effect Monday. The new plan targets two-parent families, and some say, targets them unfairly.
Critics argue the two-parent rule can lead to divorce because its punitive. Proponents say families are in better position to meet the work rule because one parent can now take care of the children while the other works.
Courteous and dependable. That's the kind of worker Cecil Glenn is. He's a parking lot attendant for Capital Center Parking. His minimum wage salary is not enough to provide for his wife and four children. So he still relies on welfare.
"We're not just asking for a hand out," Glenn says. "Just give us a little hand until we can step a little farther."
Glenn hopes the new work first plan for two-parent families will give the helping hand he needs. But the new program won't give a check, transportation or daycare to such families until they prove they are working or engaged in community service for 35-hours a week.
Glenn says that can hurt the very families the plan is designed to help. With other programs within the welfare system, there is daycare off the top, as well as transportation.
Maria Spaulding, director of Wake County Human Services, is not critical of the two-parent plan, but says counties will have to come up with more innovative ways to help families.
"So what if you don't qualify for transportation," Spaulding explains. "Let us find some church or civic organization that would be willing to mentor a family and would be able to help them with their transportation needs."
Despite the kinks in the new plan, Glenn still supports it. He believes it is helping families stay together.
The state believes two-parent families will succeed because one parent will be able to take care of the children while the other works. Wake County Human Services is seeking help from the religious community.
It will conduct a community forum to find solutions on Welfare Reform and related family issues later this month.