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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Rules tighten on TANF recipients

May 1, 2013

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— Low-income mothers in Kansas will have to participate in a work program sooner after giving birth to receive cash assistance, according to new rules by the Kansas Department for Children and Families.

The changes will "bring expectations more in line with what the expectations are in the private sector, since that is what an employee can expect to receive from an employer," said Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for DCF.

The changes deal with a program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Mothers used to be able to receive TANF benefits for six months after the birth of a child before having to participate in a work program. Now that has been shortened to two months.

"The expectation will now be that the mother will have to actively engage in work activities after her child is two months old. Work activities could range from job preparation workshops, short-term training to direct job placement," de Rocha said. She said support services will be available to the mother.

De Rocha said it could be argued that the more time the mother stays at home with a newborn, the better, but she added, "However, the reality is that there are limitations if one is a productive member of the workforce, as most gainfully employed non-TANF mothers are well aware."

Additionally, mothers with a small child used to have to work 20 hours per week to qualify for child-care assistance. Now that is 28 hours per week.

TANF is a federally funded program that is administered by DCF.

Currently, 22,000 people receive cash assistance through TANF. In 2012, TANF expenditures totaled $42.1 million in Kansas, and the average payment was $282 per month.

Last month, Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law a bill that would allow drug testing of TANF recipients who are suspected of drug use.

Comments

Bob Forer 1 year, 7 months ago

I agree with a woman's constitutional right to privacy and control over her own body. But the converse should also be true--a woman has an obligation to control her body, i.e., if she cannot afford to raise a child, she has no business conceiving. TANA, much like its predecessor, AFDC, simply irrationally perpetuates a group of people destined to remain an underclass.

Free birth control upon request.

deec 1 year, 7 months ago

Mandatory male sterilization would also fix the problem. If it's okay to meddle in women's reproductive affairs, let's be equal opportunity.

Bob Forer 1 year, 7 months ago

Where do I suggest female sterilization? And what is meddlesome about expecting women to have the financial wherewithal to raise a child before becoming pregnant. Are you suggesting that women have an absolute right to raise children on the taxpayer's dime?

deec 1 year, 7 months ago

Maybe men should keep their guns holstered if they aren't prepared to financially support their offspring.

Bob Forer 1 year, 7 months ago

No need to holster their gun as long as they shoot blanks, or, at least shoot into a "kevlar protected" target.

I have no problem with folks fornicating at will. It's the very avoidable consequences that certain people are too irresponsible to avoid that is quite bothersome to me.

Bob Forer 1 year, 7 months ago

And by the way. You never answered the question I posed. Are you suggesting that women (or men) have an absolute right to raise children on the taxpayer's dime?

deec 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm suggesting that both men and women bear responsibility for assuring that they don't bring children they can't afford into the world. You originally stated " if she cannot afford to raise a child, she has no business conceiving." Women do not conceive by themselves, yet welfare and abortion discussions always focus on the woman's role.

Since the State feels it has the right to interfere in women's reproductive decisions vis-a-vis abortion, I think it only fair that the problems of both abortion and welfare be nipped in the bud. If men were sterile then everyone could just hump their little hearts out without the State having to either encroach on women's right to possess their own bodies or pay TANF.

Bob Forer 1 year, 7 months ago

The last line of defense is the woman. Its not fair,. but then again, life isn't fair either. . The fact remains that the woman has the last best chance of preventing unwanted children, and accordingly, the final responsibility. IUDs are cheap and very effective.

grammaddy 1 year, 7 months ago

Heaven forbid a man should have to take any responsibility for his part. If more fathers did their part after the child is born, there would be a lot les sburden on the state.

Cait McKnelly 1 year, 7 months ago

Just to let you know, vasectomies are now reversible and have been for some time. All a man has to do is get one and when he wants to have a child, get it reversed. Voila!

ridikkulus 1 year, 7 months ago

FREE birth control, yes. Safe and legal abortion, too. (Probably almost completely negated by the availability of the birth control, especially if we do away with the "slut shaming" when you go to the doctor to get said birth control.)

So you're saying that pregnancy resulting from rape (which DOES happen, really. The body does not "shut that whole thing down", as certain men would like us to believe...) is also entirely the woman's burden to bear? And, no, currently, a woman can NOT give up a "rape baby" for adoption if the father doesn't want her to. Kansas is one of those "father's rights" states, where the father has the right to rape, knock someone up, and the right to walk away with nothing more than some "back child support".

rtwngr 1 year, 7 months ago

To attribute the ridiculous statement about "shut that whole thing down" to the entire pro life, male, community is disingenuous. As is the argument that most abortions are a result of rape or incest. Your argument fits your name.

ridikkulus 1 year, 7 months ago

Nowhere did I state that "most" abortions were the result of rape, nor did I even mention "incest". Your statement fits my name.

rtwngr 1 year, 7 months ago

Oh, and one more thing; abortion is murder. You are actually killing a living human no matter how you want to justify it. To argue otherwise is denial of the truth.

skull 1 year, 7 months ago

If it can't survive on its own, and hasn't been born, it's not living.

Forcing people to have children they know they don't want and are sure they can't afford...and then complaining about the whopping $282/month they receive so said child may actually have a dry place to sleep and some form of nutrition is just ridiculous. To argue otherwise is denial of the truth.

ridikkulus 1 year, 7 months ago

You would base this on your vast plethora of experience being pregnant, and experiencing that moment on an inexplicable level when a collection of cells ceases to be a collection of cells, and becomes a sentient being?

Centerville 1 year, 7 months ago

I checked and learned that Medicaid covers birth control. And, very surprised to learn that abortion is legal here, too. And safe, now that the clinics are inspected. Who knew?

bad_dog 1 year, 7 months ago

I believe abortion clinics have always been inspected; the same as any other healthcare facility. The difference now is based on obvious patient-centric issues unique to abortion clinics. You know, like the room dimensions and temperature. Critical items for female healthcare courtesy of the B-bag regime.

ridikkulus 1 year, 7 months ago

So far. If the Right Wing gets its way, and is able to make laws based on their religion, there will be no more birth control. Also, how about those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but don't make enough to cover a co-pay, unless they want to go without groceries? Their birth control isn't free.

avarom 1 year, 7 months ago

The Kanas Abortion law is created just for women to churn out more babies for stem cell research. There are three types of stem cell blood; Adult, Cord and Embryonic/Fetal Tissue. While according to Kansas government Embryonic/Fetal is Not suppose to be used. The profit from this non-profiting organization is going to make lots of money for the government, from the research. Hence, the reason to churn out more babies and stop abortions or make it harder to obtain one. This is a violation of women's rights and women need to stand up to this atrocity. And, Angela Rocha is a puppet, who just wants to keep her job. Sad, but true. Women, store your cord blood. It is considered a organ, so you can't sell it, but you can store it for future need and sign something so it's not be used without your consent, if you chose. Your cord blood is like the Gold at Fort Knox, to Kansas Government!! And....you should be compensated some way. On another note; The Government is barking at $282. payout to people in need.... is ludacris, my car payment is more then this mizzly sum.

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/a1a3c42c95ab48db9743608df541e28e/KS--Stem-Cell-Center

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/27212/title/Industry-set-for-stem-cell-profits/

avarom 1 year, 7 months ago

And, from a bio-tech scientist prospective.....embryonic are the purest form of cells...hence, you may see Kansas start making some changes to their new rules on embryonic and fetal tissue cells. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

http://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Embryonic-Stem-Cells.aspx

melwetzel 1 year, 7 months ago

What about free birth control? You are paying, please let me send you my paperwork.

I have been trying to get my tubes tied in kansas for four years and no one does the operation except for about $4000. also, it is not covered under my insurance, along with any complications, so if I foot the bill myself, I will also be responsible for any complications.

Where is this free birth control you speak of? Do the men have it?

skull 1 year, 7 months ago

Cool story...actually you don't have to go back for 12 weeks under said guidelines, so it's just harsh, not fair.

Deb Engstrom 1 year, 7 months ago

There's a big problem with this proposal. Do they have any idea how much it costs for childcare for a 2 month old infant?? It is outrageous if there is even an opening in a place that takes children that young. I hope they are prepared for that added cost.

Angela de Rocha 1 year, 7 months ago

TANF pays for their childcare when they go back to work, and DCF assists them in locating appropriate child care.

Deb Engstrom 1 year, 7 months ago

That's exactly my point. It will be a huge additional cost for the state to pay for child care for children that young. So why not let the mom stay home a while longer. It would be much cheaper. Also, I'd like to see a list of child care providers in Lawrence who take 2 month old infants.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

As long as people are comfortable reaching into the wallets of other people to support their lifestyles, they need to be ready to have those people scrutinize their lifestyle choices.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

True for some, untrue for others. Still, poverty is often the inevitable consequence of actions taken.

Drop out of high school, have more children than you can afford, use drugs and/or alcohol, have a poor employment record, etc. will inevitably lead to poverty. If you then request money from others due to your poverty, those others might scrutinize your decision to drop out of high school. They may question the wisdom of having more children than you can afford. They may judge you negatively for having made the choice of using drugs or alcohol. They may scorn your poor job history. Conversely, if your poverty is the result of a disability, or some other set of circumstances beyond your control, I suspect you'll find many willing to help. At least that's my opinion and has been my experience.

avarom 1 year, 7 months ago

Correct Tanzer and sometimes is not even a choice!

BrooksideJayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Good grief, people. Why not just round up all poor people and kill them? They'll be off your welfare rolls (and they never were on your consciences). Problem solved.

rtwngr 1 year, 7 months ago

Your problem is you think that handing over money to "poor" people solves their problems. It only adds to those problems. Which is more cruel; keeping people dependent on a system of handouts or encouraging self reliance and becoming independent of a system of handouts?

BrooksideJayhawk 1 year, 7 months ago

Oh yes, the old "feed a stray dog" argument against helping people. Please, allow me to retort: “If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it.”

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

We are not a Christian nation. And if we were then you can't pick and choose when to apply the tenets of Christianity.

Bob_Keeshan 1 year, 7 months ago

The irony here is that Angel de Rocha has never worked in the private sector. Neither has her boss, Governor Sam Brownback.

Makes you wonder why they think they know so much about it.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

An interesting corollary might be that having worked in the public sector for all of their careers, thereby knowing that sector very well, they have concluded that the public sector is incapable of being a part of the solution.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

I said it was a corollary to Bob's statement, not necessarily me taking that position. I was suggesting that it perhaps explains why Angel de Rocha and Brownback are taking the positions they are taking.

That said, I do indeed lean towards a libertarian position in that as long as you keep it none of my business, I will likely respond by keeping it none of my business. But if you reach into my wallet, you are no longer keeping it none of my business.

jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

I wonder why my comment was removed?

If they really believed as you say, they would be advocating for completely eliminating all forms of public programs designed to help people, but they're not.

Of course, they could very well be doing that in a slow, sneaky fashion without admitting it.

jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

Gee, a politician doing something sneaky. I'm shocked. Maybe they're doing as much as they think they can get away with at this time, and still get elected.

Of course, that doesn't change the point I made, that after a lifetime in the public sector, they may well believe that the public sector in incapable of fixing the problem.

jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

Then they should resign, if the spokesperson for DCF feels that way.

By the way, there's a rather essential difference between "fixing" the problem and being "part of the solution".

It's silly to think that the government can solve the problem on their own, but also rather silly to think they can't be any part of the solution, in my opinion.

jafs 1 year, 7 months ago

I think it's generally a mistake to have the public sector emulate the private without any deeper thought on the issue.

The fact that employers may require women to come back to work 2 months after giving birth doesn't mean that's the right thing to do.

Kim Watkins 1 year, 7 months ago

Plain and simple...if you need assistance to have children, you should not be having them.

Kate Rogge 1 year, 7 months ago

Then provide accurate and complete sex education in school starting before puberty, provide free and effective birth control devices and medications to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and provide open access to safe and legal abortions. Let's keep our eyes on the prize here. If you want to reduce the number of unsupported pregnancies, HELP women and girls avoid those pregnancies. If you want to reduce the number of abortions performed to stop unwanted pregnancies, HELP women and girls avoid those pregnancies. This is biology, not rocket science.

Kim Watkins 1 year, 7 months ago

It's not my responsibility to provide anything. People need to take responsibility for their own actions in life and quit blaming everyone else. I was young once and knew that if you have sex, you risk getting pregnant....and it wasn't rocket science then either.

Kate Rogge 1 year, 7 months ago

Birth control devices can fail. If you object to paying for another's mistake or for the failure of whatever birth control measure, medication, or device they used, I suggest you do everything you can to prevent or abort such mistakes. Who, besides you, is blaming anyone else for an unwanted pregnancy? Or is your primary interest in punishing?

skull 1 year, 7 months ago

Everyday it seems this same state government makes sure that you HAVE to have them...unless of course you have found a way to keep the poor and the young from having sex.

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 7 months ago

And Brownie shouldn't farm because he needs assistance to do so ~ to the tune of over $600k over the years for his family's farm. I suppose you think he's entitled to this.

globehead 1 year, 7 months ago

That's absolutely true! And, I wonder how many welfare mommas knocked off the rolls it would take to balance that little welfare scam? Let's see, dividing the Brownback family welfare grants by the average $282 TANF welfare grant we would accomplish the same as removing over 2000 TANF mommas just by removing the few members of his family. Fair is fair.

Now, we can look at the great Congressman Tim Huelskamps brother's welfare (farm subsidy) grants which have totaled over $1.6 million and by eliminating HIS welfare, we'd accomplish the same as knocking off another 5,600 mommas. Right there with just two families we'd accomplish the same as closing 7,600 TANF cases.

The result is the equivalent of shutting down 1/3 of all the TANF cash expenditures in the state of Kansas. If you REALLY want to save money by ending welfare in Kansas, let's go after the REAL welfare abusers. Otherwise, just eat more beans, wait about two hours and come up with more great legislation.

Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 7 months ago

Yes indeed. Plain and simple... those out there who share Brownie's view toward the evils of welfare should demand that Sam, Huelskamp and other wealthy farmers return every last dime they've mooched from hard-working taxpayers over the years ~ and until they do so, their lack of outrage speaks volumes as to their hypocrisy and inability to address this issue with any sort of credibility.

William Weissbeck 1 year, 7 months ago

Yep, that $282 per month really funds a nice lifestyle.

Angela de Rocha 1 year, 7 months ago

TANF recipients also receive SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, child care, transportation assistance and a host of other benefits.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

What is the approximate dollar value of all that assistance?

Michael LoBurgio 1 year, 7 months ago

How The Poor, The Middle Class And The Rich Spend Their Money

Everyone devotes a huge chunk of their budget to housing, for example. Poor, middle class and rich families spend similar shares of their budgets on clothing and shoes, and on food outside the home.

But poor families spend a much larger share of their budget on basic necessities such as food at home, utilities and health care. Rich families are able to devote a much bigger chunk of their spending to education, and a much, much bigger share to saving for retirement. (The retirement line includes contributions to Social Security and to private retirement plans, by the way.)

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/08/01/157664524/how-the-poor-the-middle-class-and-the-rich-spend-their-money?sc=tw&cc=share

koman 1 year, 7 months ago

...don't confuse the fauxnews-infected koch-heads with facts.

Michael LoBurgio 1 year, 7 months ago

Republicans Prove How Clueless They Are By Blaming Their Debt on the Poor

It’s unfathomable to even contemplate how Republicans can classify the poor as the drivers of debt in our country. Day after day, we continue to be subjected to talks of President Obama’s chained CPI budget proposals not going far enough–that “real” entitlement cuts are needed across the board to truly start fixing our debt crisis. Republicans have doubled down on vilifying the poorest among us, just to protect the highest income earners from the horrors of shared sacrifice. In doing so, they’ve backed themselves into a mathematical paradox exposing how willfully ignorant they’ve become as a whole.

http://www.forwardprogressives.com/republicans-prove-how-clueless-they-are-by-blaming-their-debt-on-the-poor/

anomicbomb 1 year, 7 months ago

"TANF is a federally funded program that is administered by DCF."

Just wanted to point out that this is a federally funded program and cutting this program won't actually save KS any $.

In addition, if you really want to deal with these issues in cost-effective ways, we'd do everything we can to ensure that women have every opportunity to not get pregnant when they are not in a position to raise kids. Quality sex education, access to birth control for both men and women, the morning after pill, and, as a last resort, access to safe legal abortion (which, while legal in KS, is effectively very difficult to access, especially for women with low resources).

And if your stance is anti-abortion but you promote abstinence-only education and oppose birth control access and oppose the morning after pill, can you explain your position? If you feel abortion is murder, shouldn't you want to do everything to prevent pregnancy in the first place? (And if you feel the morning after pill is the same thing as just a very early term abortion, I weep for our state's need for better science and biology teaching).

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 7 months ago

And, just how am I supposed to influence the behavior of total strangers? No matter how many scenarios you can come up with that would make for a better society, we are all individuals and living by our own world view. You can't send your thoughts and beliefs out on the ether in the hope that others will receive them and act on them.

Kate Rogge 1 year, 7 months ago

This is an issue of public policy and education, not religion and not wishful thinking. Fifty years ago just about everyone littered and it was, literally, a mess and a public health hazard. So instead of hiring even more street and sidewalk sweepers, we put trash bins on every street corner and began a public service campaign to encourage people not to litter. And now, most people dispose of their trash in trash receptacles. It took more than a generation, but it worked.

If we want to prevent unwanted pregnancies and, thereby, reduce the number of aborted unwanted pregnancies, we have to start focusing on what it takes to make sure every child in this country receives accurate sex education (not simply abstinence) before puberty, that every fertile child and adult in this country can obtain and afford the most effective birth control devices and medications known to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and we must continue to make safe and legal abortion available to every girl and woman in this country who wants to end her unwanted pregnancy.

It will take more than a generation to correct the ignorance and the righteous wish to punish that has controlled this public issue, but it can be done, and it can be done with a coalition of people from the left, right, and center of our country. Do you want to change what we have now? Or do you want to pretend that it can only be done by forcing pregnant girls and women to carry their unwanted pregnancies to term and then punishing them for keeping that unwanted child - and cannot afford to support on their own - by removing all public monies from their support? So it is either help them NOT to have a pregnancy they do not want and cannot afford, or insist upon forced birth and continue to provide grossly inadequate public support for the resulting child. Both are evidence of public policy. One results in an educated populace that can exercise reproductive control; the other results in ignorance and brutal poverty for which society ends up paying far much more.

valgrlku 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm getting very frustrated with the lack of pertinent information being reported in relation to these "welfare" laws. First, how many new mothers receive this assistance? It has to be very low, consider the extremely low number of individuals receiving TANF in the first place. As someone else pointed out, TANF is not the lottery. In Kansas, one has to earn less than $6000 PER YEAR to qualify.

According to the State's own website, health care, child care, etc. are NOT GUARANTEED. From my own experience, child care is not fully covered - not even close. Do any of you really know how much childcare for an infant is? Several years ago, it was well over $800 per month at a local non-profit center. This is assuming one can get in, of course. What jobs here in town pay enough to cover the cost of childcare and living expenses? This is a systemic issue that should be placed squarely on the backs of the working poor.

Let's all try to inform ourselves about existing policies and who is affecting before being so judgmental, shall we?

http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/ees/Pages/Cash/TAF.aspx

valgrlku 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm getting very frustrated with the lack of pertinent information being reported in relation to these "welfare" laws. First, how many new mothers receive this assistance? It has to be very low, consider the extremely low number of individuals receiving TANF in the first place. As someone else pointed out, TANF is not the lottery. In Kansas, one has to earn less than $6000 PER YEAR to qualify (I believe - couldn't find that number this time around on the site).

According to the State's own website, health care, child care, etc. are NOT GUARANTEED. From my own experience, child care is not fully covered - not even close. Do any of you really know how much childcare for an infant is? Several years ago, it was well over $800 per month at a local non-profit center. This is assuming one can get in, of course. What jobs here in town pay enough to cover the cost of childcare and living expenses? This is a multi-faceted systemic issue that should NOT be placed squarely on the backs of the working poor.

Let's all try to inform ourselves about existing policies and who is affecting before being so judgmental, shall we?

http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/ees/Pages/Cash/TAF.aspx

valgrlku 1 year, 7 months ago

Actually, that should read "$600 PER YEAR" not $6k.

Not sure why my post appeared twice... Sorry!

skinney 1 year, 7 months ago

I have never taken any welfare or help from the government, but it is very easy to sit back and judge others. People should make sure that they have a spotless home before they make remarks about others.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 7 months ago

It is easy to judge people when I am working to assist them. Don't take my money and then I have no right to judge but force me to help support you then I do have a right.

oldbaldguy 1 year, 7 months ago

life is about choices and consequences.

costello 1 year, 7 months ago

Yes, those silly babies born to poor moms have just made bad choices. Now they'll just have to take the consequences.

Orwell 1 year, 7 months ago

Well, so much for "Love thy neighbor." The extremists and hate-spewers who think this is a good idea are proving the lack of any connection between their views and Christian principles. This evil, spiteful clique has apparently misunderstood Matthew 19:14 "But Jesus said, Suffer little children."

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