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Mass Budget and Policy Center Reports
The Home for Little Wanderers and Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MBPC) have released a new report, Following Through on Welfare Reform, examining the impact of state policies on low and moderate-income children and families in the Commonwealth. This report is a follow-up to Kids, Cuts and Consequences.
Has Welfare Reform lived up to its name? Following Through on Welfare Reform takes a critical look at Massachusetts’ commitment to lower-income families in the decade since dramatic changes were made in the welfare statutes.
Prior to 1995, Massachusetts primarily provided monthly cash payments to lower-income families and their dependent children. The purpose of Welfare Reform was to shift the focus away from cash payments and towards helping lower-income parents find and keep steady employment. There is little evidence the reforms have helped most of these lower-income families. This report suggests policy options designed to change that.
Child welfare agencies are designed to protect children from abuse and neglect or the risk of such treatment and to foster positive development. State agencies, including the Departments of Social Services, Medical Assistance, Public Health, Mental Health, and Transitional Assistance work to this end. Reports have demonstrated the relationship between poverty and increased demand for child welfare services.
Massachusetts has a relatively low poverty rate — nine percent overall — but, like the rest of the nation, the poverty rate among children and youth is higher. Of the 1.5 million children and youth living in Massachusetts, 13 percent live below the federal poverty level compared to eight percent of the adult population. Although the majority of families in the Commonwealth live above the federal poverty line, many families face some level of economic insecurity and are likely to benefit from government supports that are designed to promote healthy development and outcomes.
For more information about The Home's advocacy efforts: