Food Stamp Program Enrollment – Oregon

Food stamp numbers soaring, By Brad Cain (AP) and Susan Palmer, December 10, 2009, Eugene Register-Guard: “The number of Oregonians receiving food stamps has risen 36 percent over the past year and is expected to climb through 2010 as the state continues to contend with high unemployment, according to figures released Wednesday. In Lane County, 70,155 people are on food stamps, or about one in five residents. The figures released by the state Department of Human Services show that more than 650,000 Oregonians now rely on food stamps, or one out of six Oregon residents. John Radich, manager of the Lane County DHS branch, said his office has seen a steady increase in applications of 1½ to 2 percent a month for the past 18 months…”

Foster Care Programs – Pennsylvania, Iowa

  • Nearly 25% of Phila. foster children live with kin, By Alfred Lubrano, December 9, 2009, Philadelphia Inquirer: “A new statewide child-welfare report shows a mixed picture in the region – including the encouraging finding that the percentage of Philadelphia children in foster care who live in the homes of relatives is higher than the state average. Nearly 25 percent of foster children in Philadelphia are placed in the homes of relatives, compared with around 21 percent for the state as a whole, according to the report released yesterday by Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, a statewide advocacy group based in Harrisburg. Children placed with family members do better than those in nonfamily settings, the group’s analysts said…”
  • Foster families to feel pinch of slashed budget, By Jennifer Jacobs, December 10, 2009, Des Moines Register: “Iowa foster parents will get about $35 less each month for expenses for the abused or neglected children they care for on behalf of the state. That could hurt the foster care system, said several Iowans who oversee the Iowa Department of Human Services. The 10 percent across-the-board budget cut Gov. Chet Culver ordered for this budget year will decrease state spending on foster care subsidies by about $315,000…”

TANF Program During Recession

  • Experts say welfare safety net inadequate to aid jobless, strapped families in recession, By Jim Abrams (AP), December 9, 2009, Los Angeles Times: “The 1996 law that ended an American’s right to welfare also frayed the safety net for some people trying to cope with the current recession. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that grew out of that law has responded slowly to the increasingly number of people without jobs and descending into poverty, witnesses told the House Budget Committee on Wednesday. They said that contrasted with sharply increased activity in other safety net programs, including unemployment insurance benefits and food stamps…”
  • Why welfare reform fails its recession test, By Peter Edelman and Barbara Ehrenreich, December 6, 2009, Washington Post: “We all like to imagine that there’ll be something to stop our fall if we hit hard times. Mulugeta Yimer, for example, is a 56-year-old Alexandria cabdriver who escaped poverty and persecution in Ethiopia 20 years ago only to be clobbered by the recession. Business is way down, and he’s facing possible foreclosure on his home. He says he is averse to government handouts, but when he contemplates what might be in store for his wife, who works part-time at a convenience store, and their two young children, he muses wistfully, ‘There’s always welfare, isn’t there?’ Actually, no. When President Bill Clinton signed welfare reform into law, he didn’t just end welfare as we knew it. For all practical purposes, it turned out, he brought an end to cash help of any kind for families with children in much of the country. While welfare reform was long ago declared a success in some quarters, it was deeply flawed from the beginning. The recession has shown how seriously unprepared it left us for hard times…”

Homeless Children and Families – Kentucky

Homeless families overwhelm shelters, By Marcus Green, December 7, 2009, Louisville Courier-Journal: “Shelters in Louisville and Southern Indiana say they are struggling to cope with an increase in homeless families – turning common areas into makeshift sleeping quarters, starting waiting lists, and, in some cases, turning people away. Advocates, school and shelter officials all say they fear family homelessness is reaching record levels here, and while it’s difficult to precisely quantify, they cite a variety of indications, which include…”