Welfare changes needed

Published 9:53 am Thursday, December 3, 2015

For too long there has been resentment between many in the workforce and those on what used to be termed welfare. It was looked upon as a handout. A few years ago, those in Congress decided to address that and created the welfare to work program.

It has been effective nationally and locally in many ways. One of the most impressive examples of how it has affected our county is at the Lawrence County Animal Shelter.

Women who were placed there to earn food stamp money saw the great need to find rescue organizations to save cats and dogs. Their work turned the animal shelter, once having the highest kill rate in the state, into a place with top rescue statistics.

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This fall Ohio asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a waiver on some of the program requirements that are thwarting those wanting to become a productive member of society.

Right now there are approximately 13,000 in the welfare to work program in the state. They are all required to work 30 hours a week or more at their assigned jobs; they also can count time spent for training. But sometimes that training has nothing to do with the job the participants thinks could be his or her new career.

That’s why the waiver is sought. State officials want to be able to customize the program for participants so they will find their life’s work, not just a temporary detour, ending back on assistance.

The feds should see the virtue of this request and give their OK.