CLASP Work Supports Newsletter - February 2013

March 04, 2013

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Work Supports Newsletter
February 2013
 
   
 
In this Issue:

CLASP Reports & Publications

CLASP In Focus Blog Postings

If you have news you want to share with your colleagues around the country in this Update, let us know.

Goals for TANF Reauthorization

FEB 06, 2013
Elizabeth Lower-Basch

CLASP released a publication that outlines 2013 goals and recommendations for TANF reauthorization. The goals of reauthorization should be to:

  • Focus on alleviating poverty and preventing material hardship among children and families.
  • Create effective pathways to economic opportunity.

Recommendations include:

  • Shift toward outcome-based accountability, with a focus on reducing poverty and hardship, improving child well-being, and helping parents work and gain skills for better jobs.
  • Adopt a national goal of reducing poverty by 50 percent in ten years, with TANF as one element of a broader poverty reduction strategy.
  • Collect and report data needed to monitor indicators of child well-being and hardship at the state level.
  • Allow states to opt into outcome-based performance measures instead of process- based work participation rates.
  • Revise work participation requirements to give all states flexibility to serve recipients with individualized work activities.
  • Provide adequate funding to both restore TANF’s role as a safety net in hard times and invest in effective pathways to economic success.
  • Provide funding to enable states to serve more needy families during periods of high unemployment.
  • Provide additional funding dedicated to specialized work programs for families facing multiple barriers to employment.
  • Revise the “maintenance of effort” requirement so that it serves its original purpose of ensuring that states invest their own funds in serving low-income families.

Read the complete Goals for TANF Reauthorization >>

Research Shows Long-Lasting Benefits of the EITC

FEB 01, 2013
Helly Lee

CLASP released a refundable tax credits brief on the short-term, intermediate and long-term impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) outlining these major conclusions:

  • The short-term impact of the EITC includes providing a short-term safety-net and promoting work.
  • The intermediate impact of the EITC includes providing positive health impacts for families and encouraging asset building and savings.
  • The long-term impact of the EITC includes supporting working mothers, increasing education achievement in children and increasing earnings as adults.

Read the complete EITC brief >>

Drug Testing of Safety-Net Applicants Stigmatizes Poor Families

MAR 01, 2013
By Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Lavanya Mohan

This week, Florida’s circuit court of appeals upheld the injunction on the state’s suspicionless drug testing program. The decision will continue to prevent Florida from implementing its 2011 suspicionless, or universal, drug testing law on TANF applicants.  The court decision affirmed in strong language that poverty alone does not provide reasonable suspicion for drug testing safety-net program applicants.  CLASP has long held that, in addition to the constitutional concerns, suspicionless drug testing is costly and ineffective at identifying substance abusers.

Read More >>

Waiving Work Requirements in the TANF Program

FEB 28, 2013
By Elizabeth Lower-Basch

Elizabeth Lower-Basch provided testimony before the Human Resources Subcommittee of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on waiving work requirements in the TANF Program. The subcommittee hearing focused on reviewing the Health and Human Services' proposed waivers of TANF work requirements.

Read More >>

SNAP: Just What the Doctor Ordered

Feb 27, 2013
By Helly Lee

A new report by the Food Research Action Center (FRAC) confirms that there are significant health consequences associated with living in poverty and being food insecure. Research has shown that those living in poverty experience disproportionately worse health outcomes and often live in environments that do not promote healthy lifestyles such as fewer walking trails, parks, and full service-grocery stores offering affordable foods as well as poor air and water quality. Children living in poverty and experiencing food insecurity are also more likely to experience serious health issues such as obesity, poor oral and dental health, asthma and poor academic outcomes, behavioral and emotional problems. In addition, childhood poverty can have lasting implications into adulthood, increasing health risks and economic struggles later in life.

Read More >>

Using TANF to Fight Family Homelessness

FEB 20, 2013
By Elizabeth Lower-Basch

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which administers TANF at the federal level, issued a memo reminding states of the range of services for homeless families that TANF funds can help support, from emergency services to longer term supports.  ACF also  highlights a few promising examples of states and localities that are using TANF to house homeless families as soon as possible and connect them to employment and support services so they can continue to pay rent when the temporary subsidy ends.

Read More >>

It is Too Hard for Students to Access Financial Assistance

FEB 19, 2013
By Abigail Newcomer and Lavanya Mohan

Last week, during a hearing on the impact of federal budget decisions on families and communities, the Senate Budget Committee heard from Tara Marks, a mom who is now a law student, but was once living in poverty while pursuing her postsecondary education. Despite being dedicated to her family and education, and her struggles with financial stress and hunger, Ms. Marks was unable to access food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) with her first application. This was due to complicated rules and requirements that apply to students seeking assistance through the program, along with a caseworker who made her feel like she should not be applying for these benefits.

Read More >>

Maitre D': I Need a Place at the Table ... For 50 Million

FEB 15, 2013
By Tom Salyers

I had the privilege last night of attending a screening in Washington, DC for a soon-to-be-released documentary.  This new film - A Place at the Table - puts human faces on the issue of hunger in America. I came away inspired to join the fight against hunger.

Read More >>

President Obama’s Rendering of a Strengthened American Economy

FEB 13, 2013
By Elizabeth Lower-Basch

In the 2013 State of the Union address last night, President Obama set out an ambitious agenda to strengthen the American economy, and ensure that the fruits of economic growth are broadly shared.  This included a number of proposals in areas that CLASP works, including expanding access to early childhood education, promoting better connections between education and employers,creating subsidized employment opportunities for disconnected youth and long-term unemployed workers, improving job quality, and targeting high poverty communities for more intensive interventions.  Some of these proposals are new, while others remain on the unfinished agenda from his first term.  The President proposes to combine efforts to support widespread economic growth with specific "ladders of opportunity" aimed at those who might otherwise be left behind even as the economy recovers. These policies would help to reverse widely noted declines in economic mobility and opportunity.

Read More >>

The President, the Gang of 8, and Immigration Reform

FEB 05, 2013
By Helly Lee and Lavanya Mohan

Last week, the President and the Senate’s bi-partisan Gang of 8 each introduced broad outlines of proposals to reform our broken immigration system. This is tremendous progress as immigration has remained a contentious issue in Congress and decision makers have steered away from addressing the issue for many years. However, since the November 2012 elections, immigration reform has since taken center stage among priority issues for the Administration and Congress.
While there is great optimism over these proposals, many questions remain; including how long undocumented immigrants must wait and how many hurdles they may have to overcome before getting their “green cards.” Both, the Senate and House are likely to introduce legislation in the coming months, detailing the specifics of reform. CLASP will play close attention as these details are hashed out.

Read More >>


 

Reports & Publications from Colleague Organizations

 
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CLASP is inaugurating this Work Supports e-newsletter to highlight the efforts of CLASP and our colleague organizations to help ensure low-income families get the support they need to stay employed and provide for their families.

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