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KY bill wants drug testing for welfare recipients
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KY bill wants drug testing for welfare recipients

http://www.14wfie.com/story/13854384/ky

KY bill wants drug testing for welfare recipients
Posted by Rachel Folz - email
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A Kentucky lawmaker has proposed a bill that would require random drug testing for adults who get food stamps, Medicaid or other state assistance.
Under the bill filed by state Rep. Lonnie Napier, R-Lancaster, those who fail the drug test would lose their benefits.
They could get it back by passing a drug test at a later date determined by the state.
The proposal has the backing of House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, but critics say it would stigmatize welfare recipients and possibly harm their innocent children.
Napier says the goal "is to get people off drugs."
He says there would be exceptions for those who have a prescription for a controlled substance.
--- Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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67 Comments
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1035252_tn?1371343440
Yeah here in FL our new governor wants to do it too. See here's the thing though..it's just going to cost a lot of money. they have to pay people to take the tests, pay for the supplies, pay for people to PROCESS the tests....and then what, if someone shows positive they'll lose their benefits...what about their kids? It just seems like a royal waste of money that isn't going to go too far, IMO. Like I said, I get it..I think people taking drugs shouldn't get welfare either...but it's a whole lot more complicated in the real world.

Our gov'r has already given up on his hopes of doing it I believe, because DCF gave him a quote on how much it would cost to implement and I think he was shocked. So I have the feeling it won't happen here, but who knows.
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285927_tn?1380802356
I agree. I dont think we need to be creating new ways to spend money we dont have. What they could do is maybe do like employers do, make em sign a form for agreement to have a random test done from time to time and file the papers with the app. Maybe just the fear of being called but not knowing when might help>
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585414_tn?1288944902
  I would think that rather than mandating that if people fail the test that they would lose their benefits that they be required to attend rehabilitation. Drug abuse can often be a form of self medication for a psychiatric disability and this form of follow up is needed along with treatment especially if people have children. That said I am not sure if it is pragmatic to test everyone as applying for benefits would not make a person more likely to be a drug abuser although I understand people's concerns and this should be further researched as to appropriate solutions. However it should be noted that as regards Section 8 and public housing after regulations were passed in recent years people who have a current substance abuse history or criminal background will be denied Section 8 and public housing and this has improved things because before some of those people did prey on other people in these developments and in the neighborhood in general. As regarding substance abuse when found I do support mandatory rehab. and that can often be of preventative help. Its an issue as regards legislation when testing can and cannot be required though.
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1032715_tn?1315987834
Is it also going to test for alcohol abuse?abuse of medications?what about money wasted on cigarettes will they test for that too.
Sounds like there are too many ways to waste welfare money,I know people on welfare here that spend a fortune on tattoos,where would it stop?
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377493_tn?1356505749
And if they fail, then they have to pay it back?  Good luck in getting it back.  One of the things we do is if we know someone is a user, rent money goes directly to the landlord.  Gift cards for supermarkets are given instead of cash.  That way we know the person at least stays housed and fed.  This is at least what our agency does.  I know that welfare also will often send rent money directly to landlords.  It helps.  I agree with Iladvocate, spend the money on rehabilitation instead. It works.  Not 100% of the time, but often enough.  Addicts are human beings...starving them and throwing them on the streets is not the answer.  
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973741_tn?1342346373
Well,  honestly, I do appreciate that people are trying to stop the issue.  I know that I can't stand that my family's taxes go to support drug addicts or anyone with a substance abuse problem.  I really can't.  I know it is a disease and I am not unsympathetic, but where is their incentive to stop?  There needs to be 'something' in place that stops this cycle.  And if they test positive for drugs---------  And have children?  Their kids should be removed.  How's that for incentive to try to get clean?  I'm pretty tough on this because it is proven that when people hit bottom, they are more willing to address their problems.  While this may cost money in the beginning, perhaps it could save money in the long run as it shows that we aren't playing the game anymore.  So the culture of what happens in this country might be disturbed a bit as I for one wish it would be.  I mean, something has got to shake it up or why would anyone in that situation stop what they are doing?  And the worry for the kids should start when a parent is scared to get drug tested.  

Just my opinion as of this moment pre coffee . . . I'm usually a little less tough after caffeine has been introduced for the day.  
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973741_tn?1342346373
Oh, and before I get that coffee . . . lol . . . what about some of these welfare recipients being the folks that we put to work?  Maybe instead of just picking up their checks . . . they could give back a little.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am all for it!!!  Testing should be mandatory!  I am almost positive that the system was not intended to be used and abused like it is today and this is merely one of numerous debacles running wild within government that needs a big time major overhaul.  Test every single person receiving financial assistance or living is subsidized housing....  If it's mandatory for me to be drug tested in order for me to keep my job-just so I can pay taxes so some bum can sit around and do nothing, living in housing that I am paying for.... and using drugs in that same housing.... yeah, test them all!!!

The cost?  The cost is a joke.  If you pop one idiot on a $15 drug test and therefor not send that same idiot $600 a month for housing and food.... sounds like a great savings program to me.  $600 covers 40 $15 drug tests.... and not every one is going to find drugs..... good!  But the ones that do each save potentially $600.  It's well worth it.  There is no telling how many people are taking advantage of this system that could otherwise be working.  

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Avatar_m_tn
I liked what you said you folks are doing by money going directly to the land lord and gift cards to grocery stores.  I think that's a great idea.  I think what I am having a hard time with is the fact that there are people healthy enough to have a job, just any job.... but they elect to stay on welfare because in some cases it pays better....  This makes me think of all of the homeless veterans who deserve far better, who gave so much, and then we've essentially put them on the streets.  

Veterans could use the subsidized housing.  Veterans could use some financial assistance to buy groceries.... I don't know, I mean, I know there are some veterans in the situation they are in is because of choice...(or a few bad choices)  There are people on welfare that can be working.  

Back to the testing thing.... if you get caught on a drug test, no need to pay it back.  You're done!  Find another legal way to generate an income like everyone else.  You've poached upon a system, and now you've been caught.  The system no longer works for you....

What I believe the welfare system was initially established for was when people were either injured or fell upon another hardship and couldn't be employed.  Now in America, we have people born into the welfare system who never leave it.  They don't want to work when Uncle Sam is going to send them a check for better money than an entry level position anywhere in the country.  In my old home town, (I'll leave that out)  I know of people who have never had a job, that the system just caters too.  In one case, a guy I went to high school with is a 3rd generation welfare recipient!!!!  This guy is able bodied, mentally stable (the last time I saw him) and available to work.  The problem is, he is lazy and the system treats him better than the workforce can.... pitiful... damned pitiful.
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285927_tn?1380802356
People stay on the system because of what it offers is much more than what you would get working. Healthcare is a biggie! Discounted rent, foodstamps and what about childcare for those that work? Show me a job that offers all that when they hire someone. Yet if you are the poorer of the poor, you are elligable for it all. Why would they go to work? Hell, I wouldnt either! I also say if you got money to be doing illegal drugs, then ya dont need welfare. Sorry! I feel the same about those choosing to break up their families and get divorced not being able to fend for their kids, so we do. Yeah I got problems with it too.
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377493_tn?1356505749
I am pretty familiar with the welfare system here in Canada.  We were on it as a child, and of course I work with it on a daily basis as well.  I know our systems are fairly similar, although there are some minor differences.  I do agree the system needs an overhaul.  No question.  It was originally designed to help people through the rough spots.  It was absolutely never intended to be used as a lifelong means of support.  Problem is, once you are in it, it's really hard to get out of it.  And that's for the folks that want to, never mind the ones that have either lost hope, or become complacent.  

Let's just pretend you are a taxpayer who doesn't give a darn about the human aspect of it (I don't believe that is the case with anyone here, but just for arguments sake).  It actually costs society 3 times as much for someone to be homeless then to receive benefits and stay housed.  Their medical costs go up because they are living on the streets.  There would be more shelters...extremely expensive to build and maintain, let alone hire the people that work at them.  Those are just two of the additional costs.  So unless you are completely heartless and say, let em starve and freeze ( I don't think there are too many people in the world like that), it's not going to save you a penny.

I am all for mandatory testing.  I believe in forced rehabilitation.  For many, especially those with children, believe it or not, if offered, they are highly motivated to do it.  I know, many don't believe me, but give me a bit here...this is my area of expertise.  I talk to these people daily and I have seen rehab work over and over.  From rehab, a halfway house type situation where it's assisted living. Learning lifeskills and surrounded by people who are also trying to stay clean and sober.  Otherwise, people return to those they know who are often other users.  This requires a complete lifestyle change.  Next, assisted childcare and perhaps some work training.  Learning how to behave at a job interview, learning a few skills to make them employable.  Help with childcare so they can work.  Bus tickets to get them there.  Donated clean clothing to wear to an interview.  All of these things make a huge difference.

Just cutting people off is just not the answer.  You will see increased crime and other problems in society.  Look at the countries with no social assistance programs...would you want to live there?  I wouldn't.  It's chaos, crime is super high and often they are quite violent societies.  

Also, remember there are many high functioning addicts.  You see them every single day at work or other areas of your life.  Do we take their children away?  No, because they are "respectable" adults.  So the only difference is poverty.

Look at how hard it is to stop any addiction.  Smoking...I have struggled with that for years myself.  By definition that makes me an addict.  Should I have my son removed?  If my husband passed away, should I not receive help?  Smoking is one expensive habit.

And lastly, and you have to trust me on this, often the addiction comes after the fact. People lose their jobs, or find themselves alone with children.  They are very poor and feeling very hopeless.  They begin to self medicate.  I have heard that story time and time again.  It's not always the addiction that causes poverty, but poverty that causes the addiction.

We need to help people get off of the system. I agree with having them work. Problem is, on welfare, your not allowed to.  I often thought a supplmental system would work best.  Maybe all someone can find is part time work...so supplement the income so they can survive.  The way it is now, its sort of all or nothing.. Get people into job retraining programs.  Viable skills they can apply in the work place.  Help make them more employable.  Give them hope.  

Will this completely solve the problem?  Nope.  There will always be those who prefer not to work and just collect benefits, and that's a whole different situation. But most aren't that way.   We have  to be very careful not to paint everyone with the same paint brush.  The ONLY thing every single one of these folks has in common is poverty.  Othere then that, the situation is as varied as the individual.  

The system itself needs to be reworked.  Just cutting people off and taking away their kids is not the answer.  Not if your looking for a long term solution anyway.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Well, I kind of disagree about the "functioning" drug addict.  We don't take their kids away because they have gone undetected.  I would not say that anyone that is a drug addict is being a responsible parent no matter what their income level.  Making 100 grand a year does not negate that you put your drug habit in front of your kids.  Being high when you are with your kids is wrong and not good parenting.  Period.  Always.  No matter how much dough you've got in the bank.  

I wonder Amanda if it would cost more up front for greater gain down the road.  I believe it would.  Really, on the end of things for someone that you want to confront their drug habit or alcohol addiction, you force them to hit a bottom.  It is the catalyst to change.  I can not see why we have a system that does not address that.  I do not think our government should be part of the cycle.  I'll be honest, I'd rather pay taxes to support the aftermath of making addicts hit bottom than for them to just live as they are.  This is not unsympathetic to their disease.  But we don't help them to just let life go on as it is.  

And I guess I see the opposite.  That it IS more of a long term solution to cut them off and take away their kids.  What do kids who grow up like that grow up to do as adults themselves in many circumstances?  I understand this is a touchy topic -------------  but cycles do start and continue in families.  Not all by any means--------- but it is not uncommon.  We have laws for two reasons.  To punish those who break them but also to be a deterrent to those who are thinking about it.  Same in this situation to me.  If you were drug tested on welfare and knew you'd lose your benefits and your kids . . . would that be incentive to stay clean?  And if you couldn't . . . should you still have your kids?

I guess I'm a bit bitter.  I do see that we have public education until the age of 18.  That we provide skills trades in highschool if someone is not college bound.  And yet . . .  many choose a different life.  Why?  Maybe because they live with that different lifestyle all around them . . . hence, the cycle continues.  Where does it end?

Now I will tell you that it is something I do have conflicted emotions about.  I understand the disease of alcholism (alcoholism) and drug addiction.  And maybe . . . that isn't just what we are talking about here.  What about catching all the folks that partake in recreational drug use?  Got the cash for that . . . they should use it for living expenses of the family.  I get pretty angry about that.  Maybe the deterrent of knowing the repercussions would put an end to that.  I am also conflicted as my heart gets in the way.  I don't like the idea of kids suffering or anyone.  But I just can't see how this system we have now promotes people to do the right thing unless it takes a stand against those who aren't.  

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377493_tn?1356505749
I do 100% understand the anger and I agree with you.  We are on the same page in that it is an abuse of the system, even if not intended to be, and we agree 100% that we always need to protect the children first.  The point I was trying to make (in my drug induced hazy state..lol) was that there is a very different standard for those living in poverty.  At least that's what I see.  Our systems do nothing, or at least almost nothing, to address the big problem which is how to get people off of the system and back as functioning members of society.  We need and want them to become independant.  Nothing currently is working on that problem, at least from our gov'ts (either of them) standpoint.  It's a "throw money at them, support them, and ignore them".  Group all those living in poverty in one neighborhood (and we all see how that works...not) where we can't see them, and hope they will go away.  It just won't work.  And you are so correct in that the cycles do repeat themselves in families...people tend to follow that which they grow up with.  So the problem will just become worse.

Really, the only place we differ is on how to do that.  Your not inhumane or cold.  Your a rightfully so frustrated taxpayer.  And it is frustrating.  It's just that if there is one thing I am absolutely certain of, it's that just cutting them off will not solve the problem.  Look at countries that are truly capitilistic societies.  Most of them are borderline third world.  It just doesn't work.  This whole problem needs to be addressed for everyone's sake.  The question is of course, where to start and how to do it.  It's certainly not going to be a simple solution.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Amanda, we need some genius to come up with a way to add to our system something that motivates people to improve their own life.  As it is now, there really is no incentive to get out of the system.  We've offered the course work------ probably some helpful and some ridiculous (self esteem classes, for example . . . um, can't teach that in a class in my opinion).  But what is it that gives some people the drive to improve upon their life while others are satisfied right where they are . . . even if it stinks?  I know studies show that while we are growing up, certain things are ingrained in us.  You often find adults with the exact same kind of lifestyle they had as kids------ .  So that is where we need some work to build the motivation to move beyond that.  

So, we need some big brains to come up with something to help change things up.  Our country isn't too big on change . . .  but I think it would be better for all if the current system got many much needed tweaks.   It does seem unfair to me though that people can receive the money and benefits given to them without anything asked of them in return.  I really believe that is part of the problem.  
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377493_tn?1356505749
I sure agree with you on the self esteem issue and the giving people something to do.  I think the two are connected myself.  I would love to see people more involved in community service.  Not picking up garbage on the side of the road...that isn't going to build self esteem.  But more things like having to volunteer X amount of hours per week at your kids school.  If you have beaten an addiction, or have a shady past but have changed it, peer to peer counselling. Things like that.  Things that make people feel worthy.  I truly believe those sorts of things really motivate people. With the folks we help, we ask them to give back.  They volunteer time at our agency.  And you can see how good they feel when they have done something worthwhile.  

I also think the biggest part of the problem is the "all or nothing" which is how the system works now.  So for someone on welfare, they get money, medical, etc. etc.  If they get a job, it's usually minimum wage, they lose their medical insurance, etc.  So why not combine the two.  Help them out by supplementing that which they make on their own. Eventually, over time, they are far more likely to become independant.  The whole welfare system needs to be addressed from top to bottom

I don't know if there is one fix for all.  People are individuals.  And one thing to keep in mind is that studies have shown that 75% of people with addictions have an underlying mental health issue.  From things like depression to bi polar to schizophrenia, and everything in between. So really, what is happening now is a bit like trying to treat a gunshot wound with a band aid.  We know it isn't working, but it's such a huge issue, it's easier to ignore it then treat it.  And it will get worse if we keep doing that.  We need to treat people as individuals, but instead we treat them like crap.  We need to focus on low income housing.  Sure, it exists, but I wouldn't want to live there.  It needs to be safe, affordable and spread out throughout cities.  Clumping it all together just makes things worse. All people see are people in the same situation...you get to the point where you cannot even imagine anything better.  

I have so many ideas.  Not saying all of them would work, but I know some would.  But of course as you say, no one wants to change.  We do a great job of sitting around and complaining, but we need to jump in and help.  Mentoring works well, being a big sister or brother is a wonderful thing.  (btw, not addressing this to anyone person, talking about society as a whole).   It can make a huge difference in breaking these cycles.  We need to show people that they can hope for more and they can do it. But it's not going to work by just telling them, or even trying to force them.  We need to show them.  It can happen...but it will take a lot of work.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I too agree with specialmom in regards to the "functioning addict" in other areas in our lives.  I know that there are addicts even in the loftiest of positions.  From middle management to CEO's, there are addicts everywhere.  Part of the problem is they do get over looked, but why?  I think they get overlooked because the position they are in and the fact that they are paying for their own.

IMO, if you're president of a fortune 500 company, and every thing about you is legit, including your cocaine habit.  I do not have a problem with you doing cocaine.... I know it's plenty illegal, but you aren't sponging off of the system.  You aren't living in subsidized housing, not receiving any government assistance.... I wish you weren't using, but your use doesn't bother me.  (The idea that potential medical costs could be a concern is a moot point.  Americans diets are more of a medical concern that some CEO's having a "coke party")

What does bother me is the person living in government subsidized housing, eating the government cheese and receiving other financial assistance, and in order to make some real money are selling drugs.... I am not saying every welfare recipient is a drug selling addict.  I am simply saying that I know for a fact that a lot of them exist.  And for every addict selling drugs in subsidized housing, there are many addicts keeping the seller in business.

I'm going to take a hard stance on this.  I am subjected to random pee tests in order to keep my employment.  I am required to do my job to the best of my abilities, and remain drug and alcohol free while doing so..... otherwise I lose my job.  It's not like I'd get many second chances.... I'd get my butt chased off the job, thats what would happen.

Drug use.... you know, jail is the price you pay for playing with that crap.  Jail, death, or any health risk or financial risk are all possible outcomes.  For the guy who is down and out and on government assistance, smoking a joint isn't a problem until you get caught.  It's illegal, youre doing it in government subsidized housing and should be considered a felony.  (If you get a DUI in a national park, it is immediately a felony.... no questions asked.)  The same guy, busting his butt working 60 hours a week just to feed the kids, trying to get out of debt, living on government assistance and living in government subsidized housing and had a beer every night..... Ive got no problem.  If he is paying cash, his cash.... it's legal, so it's ok...... weed is not legal.  There is the difference.  It needs to remain that simple.... lawyers are the ones who've botched the system and made it so convoluted.

I personally think that if you start holding people accountable, you'll get positive change.  I'd love to see all addicts get help, but they have to want it.  If they don't and we pretend it isnt happening, it continues.... held them accountable.  Boot them from the place they are living in and send them to a room 18'x18', complimented with a fridge, sink, stove, toilet and shower.  Let them know if they get popped again, done.
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Avatar_m_tn
We've got a pretty nice facility here for the homeless.  It is primarily staffed by the people living there, but there is some supervision obviously.  There are rules though..... no alcohol, no drugs.  If you're caught with either, you're gone.... end of question, no second chance.  if you play by the rules, you have a nice warm bed, hot shower, 3 squares a day, as long as you play by the rules.  Again, it is that simple....

If the government system kicks you out, your back amongst the rest of us.  Find some work and find a roof to put over your head.  I have to do it, so does everyone here.
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Avatar_m_tn
Again too, put an addict through rehab and what do you get?  A rehabilitated addict who is just as likely to be a user again as not..... there is a big gamble there with the money that we are supposed to be concerned with.
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285927_tn?1380802356
I can see and understand with everyones point that they make here. My problem is this. We seem to live in a time when one should be ashamed for being poor, sick, and in need of help. We also seem to be living in a time when people are hard hearted towards their neighbor. We seem to live in a time when the worker is blamed for being on unemployment, etc. Our nation is turning self centered and greedy and only concerned about ones self. This includes those who abuse the help that is offered them. They take it, feel like they deserve it and conjur up ways to get even more without doing anything to earn it. Our men disrespect themselves, do not take care of their families, nor behave in the manner of which a man should. A woman is the same way. They no longer honor their man and their homes and at the first sign of not getting their ways, runn  off, taking the kids with em and most landing on welfare while the dad goes out and does his best to get lost to keep from paying child support.

Everything is out of control and no one wants to own their own part in things anymore. I am proud to live in a country that has sources of help for people who need it. Some call that socialism, I call it taking care of our own and think it is something we should be proud of. But the very source of help has tentacles that control what and how one behaves in order to get that help. The ones that truly need, still cannot get it and the ones that have learned to work the system are the ones that get the hlp. If you are married, hubby works, got three kids but still cannot pay the rent and you go for help, there is none. BUT, if mama leaves papa, or kicks em out and keeps the kids there is all kinds of help available and for as long as ya want it. And they make it very very hard to get off of aid and get back into playing a productive roll again. Meanwhile you got another generation coming up thinking it just cool to live off the government.

I can see all sides here and dont have the answers. But I do know that this is not what welfare was meant for and it has been abused and maybe, maybe it has outlived its usefulness. I mean, just maybe, when people realize there is not a free ride, they will make different decisions in life. But I would also like to see it go back to how it used to be when people genuinely gave a damn about each other. I dont see that anymore.
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377493_tn?1356505749
I haven't had a chance to read through all your comments Brice.  I will when I can and no doubt will have something to say....lol, don't I always?  hehe.

I did read the last post though, and have to sort of disagree.  It isn't so much that rehab doesn't work. It does.  The problem comes when people get out, and head straight back to the life they know...hang out with the same poeple, etc.  Treating addiction is treating the entire life style.  After rehab, we need to offer options and alternatives.  There needs to be ongoing out patient treatment, treating the whole person, not just drying them out.  When that happens, it truly does work.  And in all honesty, it is the best way to treat the current problem.  But on going treatment is neccessary, and a support system of people that are not users themselves.  It is the only way it works.  
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377493_tn?1356505749
Teko, here here!  And it is not just the US.  Same problems here in Canada.  We have become so self serving as a society.  It's sad and frightening all at the same time.  I am a big believer in progress, but what I wouldn't give to see some old fashioned values still apply. An example of what you said...we are having an extremely cold winter this year.  2 nights ago an elderly women ill with alzheimers got out of her home late at night.  Her husband didn't notice she was gone.  I guess she took off her jacket and laid on the ground.  The next day neighbors admitted hearing her screaming, but didn't know what was wrong and didnt' "want to get involved".  She froze to death.  Thats the problem...no one wants to get involved anymore.  Everything is someone else's problem, as long as it doesn't touch us. So very sad.
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Avatar_m_tn
I see the self centered thing, but I read it differently.  I do think we are probably a bit too self centered as individuals.  But on the national front, there are so many things that need to be addressed here at home and we continually obligate ourselves over seas.  

I understand the need of foreign policy.  I get it.  IMO, foreign policy isn't worth a damn if things are a mess within your own home.  We always run around the globe and tell people what they need to do, and we aren't doing it at home.  We are trying to be everything to everybody, and it has just now caught up with us and bit us in the butt!

We just have so much to address here at home, and our politicians aren't doing it. That filters down to us as individuals..... now nobody wants to do anything.

And adgal, I expected you to say something.... anything!  LOL

I've been through a bit of rehab and know full well that you have to treat the whole person.  That goes from the guy in the gutter to the guy you mentioned making $100k.  Unless everything changes, you've still got a using addict.  I also believe that there needs to be ongoing treatment, but if you (the addict) aren't playing by the rules that becomes a real problem.  We are investing in something that is going nowhere.  How many second chances do we give?  And at what cost?  We are in to alot of those extra costs right now if you look closely enough.  We are letting people out of prison, not rehabilitated, and they are back in their same haunts, conducting business as usual, often from government subsidized housing..... and it repeats, and repeats, and it doesw so because we allow it.  

Changing gears a bit, but since I mentioned it.... prisons.  I am not too for sure how much rehabilitation needs to happen in prison, and I am tired of convicted felons crying about how they are treated in prison.  You've one way or another stripped someone of their rights and are guilty of it..... your rights will be taken in return.  There are pople who do make the most of prison and learn a trade, get some kind of an education, and try to prepare themselves for life on the outside.  Those are the people who have a chance.  The ones sitting and waiting for their release and not doing anything to better their situation are sometimes looking for their trip back to prison.

I don't have the answers to the prison dilema, but it does need an overhaul and I think it is far too soft in a lot of cases.
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I just don't believe it IS that simple. You take an addict's children away, which I don't necessarily agree with (depends on the situation) and what happens...to get them back, you force the addict to stop using, go through rehab, etc...but we all have known addicts (most of us have, at least) and should realize that you cannot FORCE an addict into recovery. You can stop their using for awhile, force them to complete the rehab, but until they are ready to quit they're going to slide easily back into the bad parts of their past.

It's all well and good to sit back from a position of stability and relative comfort and say "take their kids to punish them, cut off their benefits"...but honestly, people and therefore the situation is far more complex and difficult to solve.

I do NOT have the answers...but I don't believe in tearing families apart and punishing children for their parents mistakes. I've known people who were addicts and held their families together, worked jobs, cared for their children, and used drugs as a way to cope. Not saying it was right, but you never would've known had it not been for their candid honesty. Now....to tear their children away from them, and stick them into the unstable adoption/foster system? I just can't see how that would be better.

My two cents.
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Addendum: I do however agree with whoever it was that suggested benefit money should be paid directly to the necessary bills...,i.e. a person on welfare to help with rent should have the benefit sent directly to their landlord, etc. Perhaps if people on welfare were given money that was paid directly to their landlord, money paid directly to utilities, exactly enough money on foodstamps to provide food for their family, and instead of money for "gas and other items" a bus card...perhaps that would cut down on abuse of the system.
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But see, I don't see it as punishment.  If you are told that if you test positive and you'd run the risk of losing your kids----------  and you still refuse to stay clean---------- are those parents being responsible enough to keep their kids?  It isn't punishment in my opinion but the welfare of the child at stake.  Many people have professions in which if they suspect that drug abuse or alcoholism is going on, they must report it if kids are invovled.  Not to punish------------ but to protect the kids.  It is an unfortunate reality to the situation.  Not every situation warrents that but some definately do. Now you describe people that are fighting an addiction problem, that worked, fought to keep their family together, etc.  Semi different----------  they were still able to work.  They still put family first.  But . . .  would you leave your kids in their care if they were using?  Probably not.  It is a dilema for a health care professional to do that.  If the addiction warrents it, it is the right thing to report it.  Kids go to other family first and then into the foster system if that can't be arranged.  Sometimes this is what pushes someone over the edge to get clean.  It is a painful situation all the way around and I wish it on no one.  

I do not see it as greed to have hopes that people want more for themselves.  I do not---------nor do I think that anyone here---------- looks down on those suffering hardship in their life and needing help.  That is using the programs in place appropriately.  But the life long assistance is a bit much.  Not all do that but I bet we all know someone who has with no regrets or guilt whatsoever.  I also think that people raised in poverty and hence, that is all they have known------- well, I find them to be innocently "stuck" at times as well.  But I do think that our system encourages it.  That has to be fixed.  

I think everyone likes to think that they would help their neighbor.  It does get harder to be generous when you have our own worries.  I'm sure I am guilty of that as well.  But I don't see it as the same thing to want people to want more for themselves.  We have kids.  We want them to achieve certain things.  I know we say we just want them to be happy but really------- we want them to be happy AND able to provide for themselves.  Why is it wrong to want that for all Americans?  

One thing that I did want to point out is if someone gets off of welffare and gets an hourly wage job, they will usually still qualify for health care benefits in our country.  It is on a sliding scale.  So, I did just want to point out that some of the programs are seperate and have rules of their own.

I think that they need to turn the system into an earned system. And yeah, even if it is picking up garbage--------  Amanda, it is a job that someone has to do.  And I tell ya what, if my family were hungry, I'd be out there picking up the garbage.  Make no doubt about it.  You do what ya gotta do.  And what I can't figure out is why so many Americans lack that attitude.  

Oh well, this always turns into a heated conversation.  I do see everyone's point as well.  And agree with most everyone even if my post doesn't look like it.  It is very complicated and as I said-------- involves many conflicting emotions on my part.
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You know, the way I see it, the bottom line is that the welfare system, rehab, etc. etc. don't take into consideration that there are real life individuals involved.  By that I mean there is no one size fits all solution.  What motivates me may not motivate one of you.  We need to do away with the "those people" attitude and see people for who THEY are, and what works for them.  Of course, the resources aren't there to do that.  So many times private agencies like mine find themselves at odds with our gov't.  Yet, if we worked together, we could probably do a whole lot more good.  If everyone gave just a little bit of themselves, what a difference it could make.  We would then have the resources to take each person in this situation as the individual they are and work with that.  Far more success and much better results.

I agree fully that it's wonderful the wealthier countries like ours give so much to other countries.  I am proud of that.  However, I would love to see a little less give overseas, and a little more at home.

With the current economic climate, people continuing to lose jobs and that overall feeling of hopelessness that seems to be out there right now, this problem will get bigger.  It already is.  People do turn to self medication to try to forget for awhile.  That combined with depression often leads to addiction.  This will escalate, I have no doubt.  But if we could just find a way to work together, we could beat it.  It is possible.  Desperate people do desperate things....I think we all have that in us.  I would do anything, absolutely anything, to keep my child fed and safe.  Most of us would.  And there are a lot of out of work, desperate people out there.  I know no one likes change, but if we are serious about this problem, change is necessary.  From attitudes to the way we deal with it. Again, just the way I see it.
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Oh, now in my state section eight landlords receive the checks directly from the government----------- so that is already in place here.  More of that kind of thing would be good, I agree.  
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BTW, I mean no disrepect in any of my comments.  I know we have differing opinions, and that is never a bad thing, at least I don't think so. Once again, I have learned much by reading others thoughts.  So I hope no one is feeling offended by my rather passionate views on this subject.
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Good grief no!  (for me at least).  Like I said, I'm conflicted on the subject.  I have my professional background that factors in ---------- as yours does Amanda--- as well as  my personal experience.  Our unique life experience and what we see in our "world" helps shape our view.  

I always think that "discussion" on a subject is how we learn and open up to new ideas about something.  My opinions really do evolve over time as I learn more.  So I would hope that I never am offended by what someone brings into a discussion.  It isn't personal but our views on a topic.  
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My two cents is that the bill is ill-conceived.

The assumption that anyone on food stamps is a drug addict is absurd. There are many single mothers on food stamps in the United States that don't go near drugs or alcohol. In these times many people have lost jobs through no fault of their own.

And the forced blood test is an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

In addition there are costs associated with such tests, and these are by no means insignificant.

The perfect solution to which no known problem exists.
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Well I still think in some situations kids are better left with their parents, even sometimes struggling addicts are going to be taking better care of their kids than the foster care system will. Not that I'm downing on the foster care system, I think it's an awesome resource...but really, if I could, I would prefer families to stay together. Even imperfect, struggling families. Assuming the child's welfare was seen to, of course.

Of course I wasn't offended Kay. You and Amanda are two people I can always have good, rousing debates with and never fear being offended. I won't lie, Brice's flip comment to me about cost did hurt my feelings a bit, but I'm going to assume that wasn't his intent and let it slide.

Kay: in Fl, the system IS an "earned" system. You can't get TANF (Temporary Assistance For Needy Families, i.e. reformed welfare) without participating in a Work program which requires you to put in 40 hours a week at a work establishment of your choice. And a family of four with both parents participating in the work program will receive free daycare, with only $400-some odd dollars for all of their work. It's very interesting and from what I understand some other states are doing similar programs. I think that people have a seriously mistaken idea of the way the welfare system operates in some states. Yes, there are still a few who do that whole "if you make less than X you automatically get Y a month" but...I know many states don't do that anymore.
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Does the bill say that all who accept food stamps are drug addicts?  Well, that would be absurd then.
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Okay, just took two percocet and am pretty high right now, so forgive me if this doesn't entirely make sense.

Our agency is currently working on a new program.  One of the programs we currently have, and that I actually ran prior to going on mat leave was a housing program.  What we did was work with local landlords, creating low income housing in safe and good neighborhoods.  Landlords lowered the rents in exchange for a guarantee from us that the property would never be empty, and would be checked on by us, and well maintained.  Its working extremely well.  It is far better then sticking all welfare recipients in the same building or neighborhood.  The rule is no more then 5% of a building or neighborhood be low income.  Right now only folks living in shelter qualify.  

The sister project that is now being started is a work program.  So, companies "hire" our folks without pay.  They learn on the job skills, are doing something useful with their time, and the company gets free workers.  It must be a learning experience though, so the companies cannot just take advantage.  Our folks get excellent job retraining, and almost relearn if you will how to be productive members of society.  Win win situations.  Our hope is that when they "graduate" they will have both the skills and the motivation to find jobs that will enable them to support themselves and their families.  Many many of the folks in both programs are fresh out of rehab.  The idea is to help prevent old habits kicking in, and to show people that they do have self worth.  

I would love to see more of this.  It's not perfect, but I think it can work.  It also gives people something recent and tangible to put on their resume.  That is a big deal.

And I don't think there is an assumption that all folks on assistance are active addicts.  That is most definately not the case.  I think the bill is if you fail a drug test, then you lose benefits....or did I misunderstand?  
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I know full well that there are real life people playing this game.  But as specialmom said, if the rules are laid out in front of you... you are willing to take this government assistance (whatever it may be), you need to remain drug free..... it's right there!  I never mentioned taking anyones kids... but I think there are circumstances where that is a necessity.

My wife used to work in a day care, and it was mandatory for them to report anything that looked like abuse and or neglect, and even suspected drug use. It wasn't to get the parents in trouble, it was to protect the child.  (Law enforcement or Division of Family Services would then check up on the claim and decide if anything else needed to be done.)  I by no means am for tearing families apart, but I have watched drugs and alcohol do that without help from any other sources.  I also grew up with kids who's parents did not provide all of the necessities, and some of my friends ended up being "criminals".... being forced to steal in order to eat.  Its a damn shame, but the family I am speaking of was affected by alcoholism, both parents, neither really worked but were in charge of a dinky motel that provided the families housing.... the kids ran wild.  My buddy dropped out of high school in 9th grade to get a job.... through this terrible and tragic upbringing, at least 2 of those kids went to work and helped feed and cloth the others within the family.

And as for the addict who is getting by and using to cope, hey... I get that and think we all have a vice.  Some legal, some not perhaps.  If you smoke pot, does that make you a bad person?  No, not even close in my eyes.  If you get caught smoking pot, are there legal ramifications?  Damn right there are and everyone knows what they are.

My deal is, if the rules are laid out in front of you, and it is clearly stated that while on government assistance, if you are found to be under the influence of narcotics, you will completely jeopardize any assistance in the future.  If housing is involved, tell them that they will be moved to a dorm facility (theres quite a few buildings round here that fit the bill) and could potentially be kicked from the program.... offer some help with addiction or parenting....  but quit enabling these people.  Quit feeding their habits with my tax dollar.  My tax dollar was never intended to be spent that way.  If you cant help an addict and an addict won't accept help, why in the world would you keep enabling them?  IMO, that's far worse than cutting them off from any assistance.  Enabling them to further their addiction and dependency on not only drugs but the system that is enabling them to acquire the drugs.... senseless....

I know that there are some damn good people receiving assistance.  These people are doing all they can to get everything back in line..... those are the people we continue to help, but they too are to be held under the same discretions.

When we start customizing any program, the customization never stops.  We end up catagorizing people/circumstances and it never stops.  Refinement is the key. And adgal, your last sentence is my stand point.  I think the work program you mentioned is a killer idea.... but again, you can't afford to send addicts into the work place.  Hard working, clean Americans??? (or in your case Canadians?)  Damn right, get em in there,
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Oh, I know that customizing programs can't happen. The resources just aren't there to do so.  It would be impossible.  But the reality is, there is not a one size fits all solution.  I too am a mandatory reporter, and I don't hesitate if it's necessary.  All children must be protected, first and formost and I would never feel differently.  We just can't make the leap from addict to abuser....that is simply not true..

It's sort of the chicken and the egg isn't it....people need to be motivated to clean themselves up, and what motivates them?  Well, that answer is a little different for everyone. But it's awfully difficult to motivate them while in the throws of addiction.  I guess that is one for an addictions counsellor to answer.

For me, the bottom line is that to just refuse help to someone because they have an addiction issue is cruel.  Sorry, but that is how I see it.  To me, it sounds like this bill see's addicts as human trash....and that is abstolutely not the case.  Not for me.  I would no sooner cut off and addict then I would someone with cancer or any other disease.  And it is a disease....there is too much research showing that it is to really say otherwise.  We would never deny someone on welfare with a different disease treatment.  And we wouldn't cut them off benefits if they refused it.  

To me, this isn't about addiction issues.  It is about a much needed overhaul of the welfare system.  And that is not one and the same.  There are addicts and non addicts abusing the system.  And there are addicts and non addicts doing what they can to get out of the situation.  The way welfare is currently designed, people are not encouraged nor assisted in getting off of welfare...they make it very tough to do so.  That is where the problem lies, and this bill is not a positive thing.  It's cruel.  Just my opinion.
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Amanda, let me ask you this-------------- you know that when you are confronting an addict and trying to get them to understand they must seek help is to allow them to fall.  Yes, on the street if necessary.  That is often part of the process.  All loved ones are to cease contact and support.  It pushes an addict over the edge to see that they can't live that way anymore.  Not all choose to get clean then, but often they do.  I've worked closely with addiction counselors in my lifetime-----------  let them fall is an important part of an addict reclaiming their life.  It is not cruel, in my opinion, but part of their process of seeing they MUST change.  The ones who go on forever do so because they typically have someone helping them along.  

I've taken a stand with an alcoholic in my life.  I meant it when I said that I'd have nothing to do with them if they did not get sober.  I  meant it with my whole heart because they were killing themselves and I would not be a party to it.  I loved this person so very very much.  I have sat in on many a family session with addicts and their family.  I just can't say it enough that sometimes losing everything spurs people into changing their life.  

So, how does that fit into this program?  

In my opinion, I don't think requiring drug tests is cruel.  I don't think it is saying you are trash.  I would think that most feel these people are sick and troubled.  The true addicts.  Maybe this is the way to get them to hit their bottom consequently helping them.  And drug testing doesn't just catch the true full blown addict, it catches recreational usage.  And if they got the dough for that, they got the dough for bread.  

All food for thought.
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So, was the person you loved spurred on to change?
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One thing about addictions is, hitting rock bottom is different for everyone.  There are different levels of bottom, and it really depends on the addict, perhaps the severity of the addiction, and wanting to get some help.

Quickly, the majority of those closest to me knew nothing of my addiction.  People just looking at me never would have guessed.  I simply didn't fit the stereo-type.  Fact of the matter was, I was an addict and I got better.  I got better because I wanted too.

I don't think all addicts are bad people, and I don't think every addict is a lost cause.  I do know that some addicts have no interest in getting better.... they are so blinded by addiction that their heart and mind have turned.  They have no concern about those around them, and their only concern is their next fix and how to go about getting it.

What is horrible about this conversation is, too often addiction and welfare collide in conversation.  Too often addiction is considered synonymous with welfare and the truth is that just isn't the case.  Worse than that, addiction can and does affect the welfare system and all too often the welfare system enables addicts.  Here's the thing though, there are a lot of tough questions to be answered in regards to both issues, and there isn't anyone standing in line to answer them.  The answers would certainly be unpopular with some, but that's what change is about.  Everyone wants it, and almost all of us are bucking it at the same time.....

I am open to all suggestions as to how to remedy any of the above, and I think that think tanks like this are beneficial in getting a true grasp of how the American citizen feels (Canadians too adgal  LOL)  and politics can only change when we make them change.  Sitting and waiting for them to change is the wrong plan.  (The President mentioned something about change and the right wing expecting it all to come to fruit right now.)  You can plant a seed, but you cant expect crops to pop up with out effort.  One farmer alone can't grow the nations crops with good intentions alone.  

Until things change politically, we're screwed.  Force change, hold everyone responsible.
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Yes.  As a matter of fact they were.  She was sober until her death.
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Yes, I have to agree that hitting bottom is often necessary.  I know that is what happened to my dad before he sought help.  He lost my mom and me, and that was part of the deal...go into treatment and we can then work on the marriage (I was very young).  

Here is where I am struggling.  Many of the addicts I work with also have mental health issues, from mild to severe.  I know a guy that will tell you he is only "temporarily homeless".  He has been on the streets since the 70's.  We have tried everything, but sadly, that is probably where he will die.  To cut him off from finances would be to speed up the death process.  

We cannot treat everyone the same.  You cannot just do a sweep of welfare recipients, drug test them, and cut of those that test positive.  They are NOT all the same.  Their circumstances are just not the same. And as Narla said above, what about alcohol?  That is one of the biggest abused substances I see.  What about smokers?  That too is an addiction, and many feel a waste of money. Then, if you are dealing with the truly down and out, I catch them drinking mouthwash, sniffing glue and other substances...the list goes on.  So not only do I feel it is cruel (sorry, but I do), it also won't work.    It is not going to solve the problem.  

And, as I mentioned before, removing financial support will ultimately cost the taxpayer more.  I absolutely 100% guarantee it.  Look up the info yourself...if your interested I can provide you with links to various website that prove this.  Know where I learned that?  A large conference I attended in San Diego.  So these stats are US and Canadian.  Google "10 year plan to end homelessness", also a program in the US and Cananda.  See what it costs finacially to have someone living on the streets.

The goal is to get people off of the streets, not to put more there. Taking away financial supports will not force them to stop, just make them more creative in finding the money.  

It just doesn't make sense, from any angle, except to make some politician look good because it appears he is addressing the issue.  He isnt'...it is smoke and mirrors.  It won't help, it'll make things worse.  I can absolutely promise you that.
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Well, it is a very complicated issue, isn't it?  There will probably never be a great answer to solve the problem as much as we hope for it.  That doesn't mean we shouldn't all keep trying to do what we can.  

I do think more programs that require effort from recipients would be beneficial.  For a few reasons.

And here, those that suffer mental illness (and have drug addictions, alcoholism, etc.) fall under medical disability.  Slightly different than welfare.  There are teams of people that track mental health patients on the streets.  Very difficult.  Many fall through the cracks or never enter the system at all.  It is sad.  

I do agree that community outreach programs, mentoring, etc. is something we should recruit many more people to participate in.  I'm sure I could do more.  Most people probably can.  
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I think I mentioned something like a dorm situation.  I know I said an 18x18 room, but a dorm atmosphere would work just fine.  The deal is, we cannot keep doling out money the way we are.  I heard today on a radio show (not for sure who's) but that welfare tally in Los Angeles County California alone..... 1 county in a state that is basically broke.... 1 county=$600 million dollars..... That's one county in one state.....

Bottom line, reform is mandatory.  There is no way the system can keep up with whats happening.  Simply, more people taking from a system than people paying into it.... thats a problem that a 8th grader in Home Ecomonics could figure out.  California won't figure it out and they are doomed because of their thinking........
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It is a very complicated situation for sure.  It always is when we are dealing with humans and all their differences.  And I certainly agree major reform is necessary.  In our country for sure, and it sounds like its the same in the US.  And they need to get on in now, there is just no time to wait.  I agree with all that you all say about reform and making changes.  Its just the method that this particular bill endoreses that I disagree with. If for no other reason except that it will ultimately cost more.  Doesn't mean I think what is happening is ok, just that this isn't the way to make change.  But a total overhaul is needed.

As I had said previously, welfare was never set up for the long term use and abuse it currently sustains.  It was always meant as a short term means of support to help people who need it get back on their feet.  Seems to me that our gov't (and yours) have taken an "ignore it and it will go away" attitude.  It must be addressed.
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They want to do it here and make the people pay for their own tests!  I LOVE IT!!  I don't want my hard earned money going to people who sit around and abuse the system.  They are paying to create more of the drug culture in our town.  Screw them.  If they are on drugs take their kids.  Put em in jail. whatever... maybe it will make people stay off em if they want a free ride.  Or not apply if they are going to use drugs.  So many are ripping off the system anyway and dont even need the help just don't put dads on birth certificates and stuff.. If they really need the help they should not have enough money to buy drugs anyway.  
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But isn't it a bit illogical to make a move that costs the taxpayers more money?  Would you not prefer a solution that actually saved money?  Or is it just that all drug users are evil people and should go to jail?  Sorry, but this doesn't make any sense to me.  I can't figure out what part is bothering people.  To me, its the strain on the system, so I would like a solution that gets people off without it costing more.  But I am beginning to sense that it's more about people using drugs..if so, that's sad.  Addiction is a horrible illness and I would not wish it on anyone.  I am sure all the wonderful people over on the addiction communities who are fighting so very hard to beat it might feel a bit hurt by some of this.  Sorry, but had to say that.  Addicts are still real live human beings, and I think only those who are perfect can judge them.  

At the end of the day, just cutting anyone off of welfare is not saving a dime.  I am not certain why that is so hard to get across.
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i wasn't going to post here anymore but after reading this whole debate i just can't take it anymore, as this debate is usless and so naive , first of all the only time a person can be in the room where a urinalysis is being performed (pee'n in the cup) under law is after you have been Convicted of a crime and you are on parole or probation, (then they can watch you) otherwise (for jobs or DHS welfare) all they can do is make you empty your pockets and lift your pant legs up , so all it takes is a 20$ bottle of synthetic pee (that comes with 6 hr. warmer keeps it btween 90 & 100 has the thermometer right on the bottle so u know) that u keep right in your panties or shorts.
There is also products that are powders that heat up when mixed with distilled water that are synthetic pee that mimic female or male pee, the ppl that carry these are mostly hazmat drivers or crane operators , that get randoms. so all they do is carry a bit of distilled water all the time.
The reason I know this is because I have seen this go on since they started this thing called drug testing, which is a big f'n joke, all it does is give companys a lower insurance rate under the guise of "drug free work places" , I have worked many jobs in many states, from factory to steel mill to industrial gas, and believe me there are no drug free work places.
most ppl I know were covering evening pot use, some on the job to though, but i have also seen hazmat driver's and others in real dangerous jobs covering speed use, and most currently oxy, and opiate use, alot of it had to do with geagraphics, and the changing times, (oxy is overtaking speed it seems.)
My point is its to easy to pass urine drug test, and does anybody really think they are going to make welfare moms take blood tests for anything other than post pregnancy test w/out evidence of drug usage.
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I couldn't care less if they use drugs I just don't want them to do it on my dime.  I know a ton of people on welfare use drugs and I am sick of spending my money on them.  They can take a test there are very easy ones to take that you buy in the store.  In oregon the bill they are trying to pass would require them to pay for the test.  No it wont catch 100% but some is better than none.  Anyway to get people off the public dole is fine with me.  I think they should also not give support unless a Father can be named.  Many leave him off the birth certificate solely for the purpose of not claiming his income.  Also if you are on welfare and have another child you should get NO increase in support.  They are costing the public money by being on welfare and then costing it again by supporting the drug culture and all the crime that entails which results in police activity and jail costs.  I would love to eliminate it all together and say if people need food they would need to come in and get a standard basket with rice and beans.  I see them buying prime steaks in the store.  They spend way more than they need.  I budget and buy store brands and many of them don't even look at the price of things they just buy whatever they feel like eating.  We give them no reason to get off welfare since they have it so good on it.  Don't tell me I don't know what I am talking about because I have seen the abuse in the families of kids in my school.  They are on Free lunch, and breakfast, get food stamps and monetary help and have computers with internet, cell phones, cars that are better then mine at times.  So many are scamming the system, it is draining us dry.  
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Well, Mel, as much as I love you, yes, in this case I can say you are way off base.  This IS what I do for a living..day in and day out.  And yes, it works the same in Canada as it does in the US.

Most welfare recipients are not drug addicts.  That is false.  And they certainly do not get enough to be eating prime rib, etc.  The overwhelming majority also rely on food banks, or food stamps, etc. to feed their children period.  Yeah, it might be better then rice and beans, but I can assure you it is not Prime Rib.  They are certainly not getting rich.  And as for not naming fathers on birth certificates...what about those (and yes, there are an awful lot of them) who are running from abusive situations, etc.

Here is where I get frustrated with some of the attitudes I see towards those receiving welfare.  Poverty is no party.  I have lived it and I work with it every single day.  Are there some that abuse the system?  Of course there are, and steps need to be taken to curb that. No argument from me.  But it is beginning to sound like some think that these folks want to live this way...that they are just lazy bums living off of the system. That is absolutely not the case. Trust me, the majority I know would take a job in a heartbeat and would much rather work and pay their own way.  So while yes, some will just milk the system and don't want things to change, that is absolutely 100% not the majority. Yep, everyone knows someone who has abused it, but that still does not speak for the majority.  So perhaps it might be better to quit addressing welfare recipients as a group, and look at people as the individuals that they are.  Because everyone is different, and I can tell you, some of these folks are the strongest, most honest people I know.   Believe it or not, they are just like everyone else in the world...good, bad, and average.   Not a huge group of lazy bums.  
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And one last question...I keep hearing comments about how good "they" have it on welfare.  How many here besides me have actually been on welfare?  I can tell you we didnt' have a single luxery..not one.  Clothes were second hand, everything was budgeted.  And we took the bus.   Have it so good on welfare..what a joke that is.
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well since we are goin down this road , let me tell ya how it is, where i grewup inner urban city in oregon, i was a minority (i am white caucasion). I don't know how this is ghonna sound but its been my reality. where i grew up entitlements were a given, generations hav been on them, most ppl had "housing" that paid there rent, food stamps were 50 cents on the dollar and the tanf check went to sh*t for the kids, and the ol man brought in the money to drink and smoke weed, (ofcourse most of us moved on to stronger sh*t, specially after we became growers.)
There has always been and will always be a black market, even after they went to the card for F.S. ppl just sold there card for same 50 cent on the dollar, what u guys dont understand is that person buyin primerib and lobstertail w/card might hav 5 of those cards to use, just from tradin some weed or cash at half price,(been there)when u start out with nuthin you try real hard to get Sumpthin, (survival).
NOw there is quite a drawback to this as I know I learned ,, NEVER being a normal person with credit , doin time in many jails not havin drivers licence for 20 years plus the emotianal impact of that shame, then when your in your 40's tryin to start doin the right things and nuthin works out, ya just feel like ya dug a whole you cannot get out of, suicide looks good, but i am sorry i digress,,,,,,
I guess wat i am tryin to say here is should ppl scam entitlements HELL NO does it happen HELL YESS, there is a black market that i think alot of the middle class ppl on here know nuthin about ,, does it make it right , ofcourse not, but is it gonna stop no!. and if you really think that takin the kids away and makin it hard for their bio parents is gonna fix the problems ,HA!!!! Guess wat I was one of those kids born in 66 to a mother to busy ridin on the back of a gypsy jokers harley, and thinkin of her self, thinkin her kid would get a better life out of waverly childrens home, obvisouly wen i  finally got "picked " in 68, by 78 wen i was on the street the cycle had repeated itself...
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I feel i should also give a bright spot as it is reality, one of the last spots i was in my oldest son is still there (southern MN. ) he owns a nice home has a good job , bachelors degree (football scholarship) wife is a lpn. they have a 3 year old boy and she is expecting a girl soon, hopefully we have br5oken the cycle!!!
The sad part for me is I have warrents there as alcoholics with transient tendacies seem to do so i have yet to meet my g-son and probably never will, the biggest thing to deal w/ is wife not being to be there for g-childreen and it being my fault, hardest thing ive ever dealt with but i guess from wat the jesus ppl say on here i'm gettin wat i deserve, and believe me its Hard.
Things and cycles can be broken thogh, i always taught this son right from wrong and he gre up in the "neighborhood", he knew wat was goin on , even know we moved through 7 states as he was growin up.
All my point is cycles can be broken!
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I have to ask what role you played with helping your son brake the cycle? Did you care when he was in school and try and tell him there was a better life and encorage him to study or did he pull himself up by the bootstraps?
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Used to be when you were born into poor or had a very hard upbringing, you did your best to dig out, not continue the pattern. Look at Oprah, she used to be poor, on welfare and abused to boot. Look at her now! I dont buy the I was born in it or raised in it theme at all. We all have choices at some point in life dont we? It is not a shame to be on welfare and need help or to be an addict even. The shame comes from staying in that spot. We only know what our individual experiences are with people on assistance or even on drugs. I believe they all differ based on where we come from in life.

But I got  a question I need answered as well. I know 2 people who have been divorced, have children, get food stamps but carry a part time job. How is it that those two people are getting back 7 thousand dollars in taxes when neither paid in more than 800 all year long? No freaking wonder were broke!
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from what i seen, alot of ppl didnt even need the welfare  money they got (amount depends on how many kids, california been the most missouri been the least) because housing or HUD paid the rent , and even sent extra check for electricity if woman could prove no income, thats right , even on top of tanf money, most women we knew had a man in their lives that sold drugs and did under the table work, food stamps were their for food, and the ppl that didn;t have their hustle down would trade their stamps for cash or other things.
everyone i knew felt they were gonna try and get whatever they could cuz thats wat their parents and grandparents had done, its just how ppl live in the neighborhood they feel its their "entitlement" .
Now most of this was during clinton years lots of girls i know were getting free daycare and goin to school, as there was alot more programs then and attitudes were different towards the poor, (very few of those girls i knew actually did anything with the schooling, just a way to get away from kids and make freinds and keep their welfare.
now when contract with america came and the repubs took over (94) there waqs all this talk about 5 year lifetime limit on welfare, Ha! never seen that yet, but after clintons 8 was up it did get harder welfare payments got lower etc. jail food and treatment got alot worse private companies took over commisaries and phones , medications hard to get some states charge up to 67$ a day each day served after conviction etc, The pendulum has definitly swung the other way!
the biggest scam i see now is SSI and SSD i mean i know atleast 10 ppl that could work all day long but get a check every month from social security, then they brag about it, it is a joke, it is the new welfare, some are supposed to get a review every 2 years to see if they can work , but they dont have the resources to to do the reviews, now I know some are legit but i know for a fact cases that are not!

to answer your questions tarnish , i had to go do some time wen he was 15 and he started hangin out at a youth christian place, so maby it was havin a little jesus in his life!

teko,. the answer to your question is simple   earned income credit, we only made about 27,000 on paper w/family of four means 0 fed tax paid and usually about 5000$ back all at once! and most like me consider that just a reward for being poor all year, just the plain simple truth and you can buy into whatever you wnt cuz this is america,
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Look, this conversation is just encompassing one small part of whats really wrong with the subject.  What we basically ranting upon is drug use/abuse and alcohol use/abuse and how we feel it affects the system.

A hard line would fix that and the bigger problem with welfare today is illegal immigration.  Now before anyone starts to whine, I am not talking about only the illegal Mexican population.  In my sleepy little mountain town, we have a bunch of illegal europeans that are focused on what the system can provide for them.....

I mentioned somewhere above (or perhaps in another thread) that in Los Angeles County alone, the annual cost of welfare is over $600,000,000.  Yeah, 600 million and thats just one county.  (Info was pulled from a California State Budget)

The same with other political issues, lawyers are involved.  When that happens, you're bound to end up with a soup sandwich and are forced to eat it on a merry-go-round spinning at about 100mph.... this is precisely why nothing can get done.  Too many people want to help too many people, and the reasoning behind that grows daily.  (All you have to do to qualify for welfare is show up in America)  The system is broke because of that reasoning..... more people collecting from a system than are paying into it.  Worse than that, there are more people collecting from the system now that have never, ever paid into the system..... and we allow it.  WE just allow it.

What American government needs to understand is, IF YOU AINT GOT IT, YOU CANNOT OFFER IT!!!!  And this isn't even just referring to welfare.  Look how much money is wasted on the U.N.  (What do we get out of that anyhow, and why are we the largest contributor???)

Take the drugs and alcohol out of this conversation and it only gets worse.  We have to stop doing feel good things.  We cannot give things we do not have.  We need to find ways to cover our ends, and our elected officials aren't doing that.  As individuals, we know we cannot spend more money than we make.... as a country we fail to see that!

Government and all of its programs are based on economics and there isn't a half dozen people in government that know a thing about economics..... Spend, spend, spend, spend....we're out of money.... spend some more, spend, spend, spend.... can't anyone else see this????  And its all of government!  Not just the left, its all of government.  G.W was a big spender all the while claiming to want less government.  (Something to back that up is the government debt ceiling has been raised every single year since 1980.  That means at least Carter, Reagan twice, Bush Sr. twice, Clinton twice, W. twice and now Obama.... it's all of em people, don't be fooled)
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That is exactly what needs to be happening. You are exactly right.  Many of these folks need external motivation though, sadly not everyone has what it takes on the inside.  I think a feeling of hopelessness takes over, then almost an acceptance of this being their lot in life.  And that is truly sad.  Mentoring programs and such can go a very long way.  Giving them the extra push they need to get there.  It's amazing what that can do.  But most of the folks I know feel like losers, so therefor that's what they become.  They just don't see a way out.  And that is what is broken.  Just suddenly cutting off isn't the answer, but showing the way out is.  Making it not to easy to stay on without being cruel about it.  The answer is there, we just need to dig a bit deeper to find it.
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It worries me to have you be a teacher in a class room.  I certainly hope you aren't teaching your students all this hatred.   Hopefully you never fall on hard times and require any kind of help.
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Let me tell you the kids are lucky to have me as a teacher.  I don't teach them to continue the cycle to get a free ride I teach them that they can and will make it.  The can and should do better and that the example they need to follow are the childhood dreams of a future and not the example of hopelessness many parents instill. Yes I am a conservative, I believe in helping but I also believe that we create a systems of learned helplessness and people begin to believe they CAN'T do it because they will be no better then those who came before.  What is it about give a man a fish???  I believe that the welfare state has done much more harm to the black community than good.  And let me tell you I am a GREAT teacher!  not to toot my own horn but I LOVE those kids.  I hug em everyday and tell them I will go to their graduation 10 years from now..  When they move I keep in touch by email and let them know that I BELIEVE in them.  I teach them that the world is WAY bigger than their household.  And that even though they may hate weekends because they have to be with their parents, they have the choice to go anywhere in life if they work hard.  I don't work with the rich kids, I work with the poor kids, the abused kids.  Last year 5 of my kids parents were in jail for abuse.  I go to their basketball games and their programs.  I go because their parents don't.  A teacher at my school coaches them and the teachers go to the games because we know if we didn't then "our" team would have no one in the stands.  So think what you may.  I believe teaching honesty and integrity are a good thing.  I believe that my kids in my room and the kids I have taught over the past 12 years will break the cycle because someone told them that there is more out there and that they are the only ones that can grab it.  Think what you may but when is the last time you were in an inner city school?  When was the last time you gave up your weekends to go to a child's game that you have no relation to?  

ADGAL:  I don't know if Canada is different but here.  My friend had 3 little kids and her and got 650 a month food stamps.  I spend 550 for me my dh, teenage daughter and 8 year old and a baby.  She got way more than she needed and bought food for her mom and sister with it.  I see the people in line paying with food stamps, I see what they wear and what they drive.  I know which parents in my class are on free lunch and breakfast and what they drive, their cell phone number and hear about the big screen tv they got on black friday.  These are people scamming the system.  I know some need help.  Really need it.  But the majority are scamming the system
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  I do think the issue of anyone who is abusing a system meant for people in need should be addressed. They are doing better than they have in the past because they now have Food Stamps on a benefits card so that it cannot be used to purchase alcohol or the like whereas in the past Food Stamps used to be able to be sold and were used as a commodity where people bought things for other people they should not. I know because my mom worked as a teacher in the same area as well and was concerned about this. I also would think it was wrong that anyone would abuse the system because right now food pantries don't have enough food to give to people who are truly in need. Generally the HRA office is able to note and screen people out who are potentially abusing the system though. Income that is off the books can be detected in ways that people may not be aware of.
    What I do think is wrong (and I am not speaking about particular people here but in general) is when people try to find blame but could help. Once I saw a man point at a homeless man as if to set an example and said "its his choice". I was very upset and I wanted to point out if I did not receive the treatment I did I might end up in that position and that it would be better off to try to help people out of that position than put them down. When I did benefits advocacy I did run into people who were attempting to use the system and I refused to help them (and would be legally obligated to). Further reform of the benefits system may be necessary but steps to insure people don't end up in that position to begin with are just as needed.
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It's great that you love these kids and encourage them that they can be better.  BUT you also make it seem like anyone needing help is a disgrace to the human race.  Many people have lost jobs because of the economy, etc.  This doesn't mean they are worthless.   I know many poor families needing help and they are there for their children in school and at home.  Many people work part time jobs because they can't find full time work.  This doesn't make them lazy no good gold diggers getting a handout.   You need to realize that not everyone can make it without some kind of help.  Not everyone is some drugged out alcohol lowlife like you seem to make them out to be.
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No, the system in the US and Canada are very very similar.  Amounts are about the same.  And I have to be honest, you are coming across as though all those needing help are con artists scamming the system.  I agree some are, but absolutely do not agree that most are. It's the stories that stand out, of course, but does not constitute the majority.  Nor are the majority on drugs.  Most would like nothing more then to be off of the system, and certainly want more for their children.  Sadly, so many have lost hope and don't see a way out.  Once hope is lost it's tough.  I am just asking that you put some thought into how you put that, and maybe research it a bit.  I'm sorry it's what you see, but I promise you that for every scammer you see, there are 5 who truly do need the help they are getting, and are unbelievably ashamed of it because your words are the attitude of many. Poverty is real, and until it is properly addressed, welfare isn't going anywhere.  
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Thank you for your comment on the homeless man.  We know that the vast majority of those who are completely homeless and on the streets suffer from mental health issues.  I know it is typically blamed on drugs and alcohol, but that part usually comes after the fact...almost a self medication.   We still seem to hold those that are mentally ill to a different standard then if they had a physical illness.  Very sad.  I have clients that are regularly called names, are spit on and basically treated like the scourge of society.  They are human beings, but I guess being homeless makes some think its ok to abuse them.  Makes me sick.
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Maybe it is because I have traveled and lived in so many really poor countries.. our idea of poor is so different than theirs I have seen true poverty and most of what we consider poor here so much more then what they have.  I also have the perspective of growing up a coal miners granddaughter.  First generation and have seen struggle and people that will dig ditches instead of asking for a hand out.  I was also in a marriage to an immigrant who did not speak the language and for 10 years he worked minimum wage jobs to support his family.  When we had our first child I stayed home for 2 years and he worked 60+ hours a week at whatever he could find and we made do.  No hand outs.  I don't believe that all people that need help are bad.  Heck the system was made to help those really in need but so many have made it their career.  I think 6 months should be the max, or they need to have them put in hours of community service to receive assistance.  There are some out thee that need it but before this economic crisis there were jobs galore (maybe they weren't the best jobs but beggers can't be choosers) and still the welfare office was full.  I would also say if parents don't come to teacher conferences they shouldn't get assistance.  I mean people have to do the minimum.  I am all for helping the needy but I just feel giving them something for nothing is not the way.  In order for them to feel pride they have to earn it...  community service could be a way to make them feel they have earned it and take pride in themselves.  We have a country full of immigrants who speak no english and they manage to work and raise families...  I just don't understand why the people born here can't.
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I too have travelled fairly extensively and spent time in many third world countries.  One of the things that has always stood out to me in these countries is the way people look out for each other.  Communities stick together and help each other as much as possible.  I often think they know things we just don't.  They understand compassion and caring for each other in a way that those of us in wealthier countries dont.  They also tend to have two "classes" (I hate that word)..the very wealthy and the very poor. However, look how many die there due to intense poverty.  Thank God we don't have that here for the most part, although many living on the streets might argue that fact.  And the reason we don't have that kind of intense poverty is because of social programs.  We won't allow our citizens to get to that level.  Children dying because they have no access to medical care or even basic vaccines. However, that is the way of a truly capitilistic society, and I am sure if you think it through you would agree that is not how you want the poorest in our countries to live.  I know I don't.

Again, I am all for reform, and am the first to admit that there are less then stellar citizens taking welfare.  However, there are less then stellar citizens in all walks of life.  The only difference is poverty.  For those that are scamming...trust me, I have and would again, turn them in.  No qualms about it.  I just think that your hard line is a bit to harsh.  You cannot paint a group of people with the same paintbrush.  Every one is an individual, and their circumstances and stories are varied.  We never know what is truly going on until we take the time to know someone.  If people really want to help, become a big brother or sister, become part of a mentoring program, there are a multitude of things that can be done.  If someone is cheating the system, and you know it, document it and turn them in.  But it is wrong to assume.  You truly do not know unless you know.  

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When I was growing up we did not have welfare meli. There were several of us kids of all different ages. I have sisters that are more like mothers to me. My mother worked for keebler, 2nd shift for 35 years. My dad worked various jobs as well but had medical problems off and on with his heart. The insurance was provided thru my mothers work, and I cannot ever remember going to the doctor except to get shots for school. They lived thru the depression and my dad fought in world war 2. We built the house we lived in little by little over the years. I slept upstairs with no heat except an army blanket and the rafters of the ceiling right above my head. We had well water, my older sisters were not allowed to go to school because they had to get a job and help take care of family. We had a garden and we all worked in it and the yard and pouring the sidewalks etc. We were so poor that we took homemade bisquits with butter and sugar on them wrapped in newspaper with twine wrapped around them and we got 2 cents each for our milk. Never had a new dress, or a new pair of shoes for that matter and never got to go to a school game , much less participate because we could not afford the fees and had no transportation anyway, and the parents never attended a meeting with the teacher and if they had to, it was cause one of us was in trouble and that was not good. If we got into trouble at school thn we got to lok forward to corporal punishment at home, I think they call that abuse now? We had to be home after school to help with the younger ones and do the laundry, take care of the house, fix dinner, do ironng etc, so the parents could work. Those of us in school were expected to carry a B or C average regardless of what we had to do besides homework. Forward to years later. The difference between that time and now? Pride..... God forbid you accept help from anyone. It was good to offer help but very downgrading back then to accept any.

But I will say this much. Until you walk a mile in someone elses shoes, you know not what your talking about. It is all speculation. We have people that abuse the system and it makes me mad too. But if we have to quit helping those in need because of the ones that scam, what does that say about us as a nation. Tweek the system is what we need. I have seen people get divorced cause they knew welfare would take care of them, and I have seen first hand an elderly lady on social security eating cat food cause it was the only thing she could afford. There really has to be a solution in there somewhere without throwing the baby out with the bath water. Who knows what the solution is.
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I'll say this about Clinton.  First off, I am not a big fan but he did something with welfare reform that worked a bit.... I saw it in action.  My mother was an elementary school teacher.  Across from the school was a government subsidized housing outfit, basically apartments or in some cases condominiums.  

You could drive by the neighborhood any time of day (a bit risky to do at night) and watch drug deals being conducted by able bodied individuals who where otherwise sitting around and drinking 40 ouncers of malt liquor.  On special occasions there would be a shooting and the school would have to be on lock down.

During the Clinton administration, (dont know if we credit him or whom) they basically said that everyone in this housing complex needed to go to the free clinic and be checked out by a doctor.... gave them like 60 days to comply.  They were supposed to get a complete physical, and if deemed able to go to work, they were required to go back to work.  In less than 6 months, the housing unit was vacant and the lower middle class neighborhood returned to the people..... it can work.

Obviously some of these people remained under the radar so to speak, and obviously some of these people were well within the rights of receiving assistance.  The clincher is, it did clean up a bit of abuse and saved who knows how much money.

Any number of ideas can be implemented, but the fact remains.  What is currently in place is dysfunctional at best and lies completely along the lines of abysmal..... it's failing further by the day.
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I just heard this on the t.v. and found it pretty accurate and appropriate for this current conversation.  "The only thing that stops a bad idea is a good idea. The only thing that stops a good idea is a bad idea."

With welfare, we are continuing down the road of bad ideas.  It's time for a good idea.... just one.  
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