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Kansas Children’s Groups Says Welfare Changes Hurting Poor

Dave Ranney, Heartland Health Monitor

A children’s advocacy group is charging that welfare policies championed by Kansas Governor Sam Brownback are pushing more families into poverty. Heartland Health Monitor’s Jim McLean has the latest in the ongoing dispute.

The nonprofit advocacy organization Kansas Action for Children says the Brownback administration’s welfare policies are unraveling the state’s social services safety net.

A KAC report says new lifetime limits and tougher enforcement of reporting and work rules are pushing poor Kansans off welfare and deeper into poverty. It says the number of poor children receiving cash assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program has dropped from a monthly average of 30,000 a decade ago to fewer than 10,000 today.

Brownback administration officials say the policies are designed to hold recipients accountable and help them “break the cycle of poverty” by moving from welfare to work.

But the KAC report says in the most recent reporting year, less than 10 percent of those dropped from the welfare rolls had jobs to go to.