Mothers losing children in Welfare Reform's wake: Wisconsin Works

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sun, 4 Apr 1999 10:58:50 -0700 (PDT)


"Joe Volk, head of the communitywide Task Force on Emergency Shelter and
Relocation Services, said that fallout from W-2 had hit the shelter system,
mainly in two ways: families staying longer and more mothers giving up
their children and moving into shelters.' -- from article below

http://www.jsonline.com:80/news/Metro/990401thosewhodbehurtdecryb.asp
FWD  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - April 1, 1999

     THOSE WHO'D BE HURT DECRY BUDGET

     By Margo Huston of the Journal Sentinel staff

One after another, ordinary people and community leaders took to the podium
Wednesday to tell state lawmakers that Milwaukeeans will suffer gravely
from provisions in Gov. Tommy G. Thompson's proposed 1999-2001 biennial
state budget.

Yolonda Cannon, 35, a mother of two who has AIDS, spoke on behalf of
herself and her sister, Cashmarie Cannon, 42, who has five children and
also has AIDS.

Cannon said the state's $100 a child caretaker supplement was not enough to
provide for children. She said that she and her sister could not work and
the families were not eligible for the Wisconsin Works (W-2) welfare
reform.

In response, state Rep. Antonio Riley (D-Milwaukee) said that when W-2 was
enacted, an amendment was defeated that would have allowed people with HIV
or AIDS to be exempt from some work requirements and still receive
benefits. "I think we'll go back and resurrect that," he told the sisters.

Joe Volk, head of the communitywide Task Force on Emergency Shelter and
Relocation Services, said that fallout from W-2 had hit the shelter system,
mainly in two ways: families staying longer and more mothers giving up
their children and moving into shelters.

Volk urged the state to double its contribution to homeless programs, from
$1.1 million a year to $2.2 million.

In response, state Rep. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) said that he believed
increasing services for homeless people would be an appropriate use for the
state's millions of dollars of excess federal welfare money.

State Sen. Brian Burke (D-Milwaukee), Senate chairman of the Joint
Committee on Finance, which sponsored the "listening session" at the
Milwaukee Public Schools Administration Building, said that speakers
"reflected a cross section of community dissatisfaction with the proposed
budget."

Many speakers told of hardships that they and others will suffer because of
cuts in state money for alcohol and drug addiction treatment, for community
aid and for programs that would lower class sizes in poor Milwaukee
schools.

In related developments:

The five W-2 agencies in Milwaukee County, along with most counties, have
qualified for "fast track" renewal of their contracts, meaning they won't
have to participate in open competition for the next two-year W-2
contracts, beginning Jan. 1, 2000.

The governor has named a Wisconsin Works and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Task
Force, with 12 of the 20 members from Milwaukee. J. Jean Rogers, economic
support administrator for the Department of Development, will lead the task
force, which is the state's response to calls from community leaders for an
extra $10 million to combat abuse problems.

END FORWARD

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