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Letters to the Editor

Letter: DCF responds

December 7, 2013

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To the editor:

In recent weeks, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) has been criticized for maintaining a reserve in its Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) fund. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the use of TANF funding.

TANF is a federal program and, since the 1996 welfare reforms, Kansas has received a yearly federal block grant of $101.9 million for TANF.

The federal program is designed to be a welfare-to-work program. The objective is to help families in need temporarily. DCF has and continues to use TANF funds to prevent future poverty. Prevention programs are not a quick fix, but they are effective.

In order to sustain the current programs and invest in future efforts that will help prevent poverty, DCF has maintained a TANF reserve fund.

DCF invests TANF dollars into worthwhile programs that help prevent poverty. Current and future investment in poverty-prevention programs in no way impacts the amount of cash assistance individuals receive.

The state of Kansas wants families to succeed and find they can be self-sufficient. We will continue to do all we can to help individuals in the short term with temporary assistance but we also want to ensure long-term success through employment and prevention.

Comments

Richard Heckler 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Who is monitoring Kansas spending of federal dollars? The size of the reserve fund is a legitimate question that has yet to be addressed.

These reserve funds at the hands of right wingers is dangerous. We must remember Sam Brownback comes from Washington D.C. which indicates a tendency to "borrow and spend" but never replace. This is how a shortage of Social Security Insurance money comes about which is reckless management and spending of tax dollar revenue. Supply Side Economics is a disaster.

Sam Brownback is not necessarily cutting taxes nor spending less. Sam Brownback is about procuring tax dollars from any source to fund the corporate welfare with zero guarantee of payback. Supply Side Economics is a disaster.

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Leslie Swearingen 4 months, 2 weeks ago

This is a Federal program and comes with Federal rules as to how it is spent.

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Mropus Wan 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I had to read this 2-3 times to see if I missed something here. The part of the article that I read carefully was here:

"In order to sustain the current programs and invest in future efforts that will help prevent poverty, DCF has maintained a TANF reserve fund.

DCF invests TANF dollars into worthwhile programs that help prevent poverty. Current and future investment in poverty-prevention programs in no way impacts the amount of cash assistance individuals receive. "

Okay, that's all well and good, but it doesn't really answer the fundamental question I had about those reserve funds. How much reserve funds was in there this year, something like $50 million? Is it really necessary to have this much reserve fund? Why hasn't more been spent as necessary? Are you really trying to convince me that you couldn't spend more money to help needy families? Your answer above was a classic political dodge and weave to which you really addressed nothing pertaining to the high amount of reserve funds you actually have attained.

And please keep in mind, I'm as big of an anti-Brownback person as they come. His rationale for raiding this fund is far and above the asinine level, and it insults the intelligence of a 3rd grader (no offense, 3rd graders). To reason that low reading levels in grade school is a direct cause of out of wedlock mothers without a basic understanding in research on how correlation is not equivalent to causation is horribly absurd, and it appears there's ulterior motives of Brownback to yet again to strike a blow against programs that assist the poor (like a good "Christian" that he is, of course). I'm rarely surprised by his actions anymore, but he still occasionally knows how to raise an eyebrow from me.

But again, this doesn't answer the fundamental question regarding the depth of the reserve fund you have, Phyllis, and why it appears that amount of money has not been properly and efficiently utilized.

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Larry Sturm 4 months, 2 weeks ago

And Brownback wants to steal those funds because of his tax cuts.

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