USA: Child Support/Welfare Update #20/NCSAC [Sonny repost]

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Tue, 3 Nov 1998 03:23:12 -0400


FWD bounced post from HPN listmember:

H. C. Sonny Covington  at  I CAN America
Community Based Resource Consultants
125 S. Buchanan Street - Lafayette, LA  70501
(318) 235-7005  Fax 318-235-7602
hccovington@usa.net

-Date: Wednesday, September 30, 1998 7:06 PM
Subject: Child Support/Welfare Update #20

[From : The National Child Support Advocacy Coalition]

CHILD SUPPORT/WELFARE UPDATE #20
September, 1998
Synopsis of news articles from across the nation.  URLs are provided
where available.  Some URLs are time sensitive and may be purged from
news website.

WELFARE ARTICLES:

WELFARE-TO-WORK PROGRESS IN FLORIDA
"CAN WELFARE REFORM, PROFIT MOTIVE COEXIST?"
On June 1st The Miami Herald reported that Lockheed Martin has been
slow in moving welfare recipients into the workforce.  Critics say
that Lockheed oversold its ability to move people from welfare which
helped win a $15 million contract last December for the Miami-
Dade/Monroe Work and Gain Economic Self-Sufficiency (WAGES) program.
The Miami-Dade County has more than 21,000 welfare recipients.

Only 428 of the 6,200 welfare recipients processed from December thru
April have found full-time jobs.  Over 2,000 have part-time work, 1,
296 are enrolled in a community work experience program where they
work 20 hours a week, several hundred are in training programs and
the rest are in the processing line.  Lockheed supporters said the
numbers could have been higher, but imcompatible computers in the
network of welfare-to-work agencies slowed referrals from the state
Labor Department.

Critics charge that Lockheed isn't accountable enough and shuts out
traditional providers such as nonprofit training agencies.  Lockheed
says it is more accountable than the old welfare system because its
pay-for-performance contract is linked to finding jobs for welfare
recipients.  Lockheed receives payment as benchmarks for enrolling
and placing welfare recipients in jobs.  Only after a client has
remained in a job for 6 months is the final 10 percent payment made.
But it won't say how much it stands to make on this contract and a
smaller one in Broward County.

Broward's welfare reform coalition offered a $7.7 million contract,
Lockheed had to settle for handling only 3 programs for $888,000.  A
Lockheed spokesperson is quoted saying because of slow referrals to
its success seminars and delays in filling the job and work
experience leads that it turned over to another agency, make it
unlikely that Lockheed will receive "anywhere near the $888,000.
Lockheed is not happy with the experience and probably will not want
to extend the contract past June 30.

Unemployment rates of nearly 7 percent and a sluggish economy in the
Miami contribute to the less than satisfactory success.  In contrast
is Lockheed's Dallas County, Texas welfare-to-work program.  In the
first year, more than 75 percent of the welfare recipients were
working and had a retention rate for workers after 6 months of 76 to
79 percent.  The president of WorkSource for Dallas County, the
agency that oversees the Lockheed contract says: "I'm convinced the
work they're doing for us is a loss leader.  I don't think they're
making a helluva a lot money."
****************************************************************
WELFARE INCENTIVES OFFERED
MIAMI HERALD   7/17/98   http://www.herald.
com/archive/welfare/docs/023112.htm
An economic development proposal that would give up to $6,000 per job
to companies that hire and keep welfare recipients on the payroll for
at least a year was presented to the board of the Miami-Dade/Monroe
WAGES Coalition.  Companies that expand or relocate jobs in
economically depressed area would receive the largest incentive.  The
money could be used to renovate buildings, pay for child care,
provide transportation for WAGES employees, or purchasing equipment,
among other things.

Some see this shifting of money from welfare monthly benefits to
giving cash to companies to hire them as "CORPORATE WELFARE."
Private companies which operate the WAGES contract and also
participate in this proposed plan could benefit twice over.

The cash incentive plan was part of a proposal containing five
economic projects that was submitted to the state in August.  The
governor will select the best projects statewide and the winners will
share in the $25 million approved by the Legislature this year to
expedite welfare-to-work.
**********************************************************************
*
MIAMI HERALD  9/05/98     http://www.herald.
com/archive/welfare/docs/073386.htm
"OFFICIALS  POLISHING  CRIMINAL  RECORDS  OF  WELFARE  CLIENTS"

In an attempt to help a problem-laden Miami-Dade WAGES contract,
criminal justice officials are trying to help some candidates erase
their criminal histories.  Time and time again, if job seekers check
the "YES" box on job applications as to whether they have an arrest
record, their chances of getting the job is zero.  If the plan is
approved, applicants can truthfully answer "NO" when asked about
criminal histories.  It is estimated that 15 to 30 percent of Dade
County's 23,000 welfare-to-work participants could have a criminal
record.   Arrest and police incident reports as well as trial
documents would be destroyed by the court and police agencies making
the arrest.

Only those cases that were dropped or dismissed in court are eligible
to be expunged.  It does not erase convictions.  Applicants with
multiple arrest records are not eligible.  Cases ending with a judge
withholding adjudication are sealed for 10 years before records can
be expunged.  Individuals convicted of sexual battery and sexual
misconduct with minors can't have their records erased.  Most major
crimes such as drug trafficking, homicide, kidnapping and hijacking
cannot be expunged.

The plan works this way.  Welfare clients' applications must be
reviewed and approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The applications will be stamped "WAGES" which stands for Work and
Gain Economic Self-sufficiency.  These cases would get free legal
representation from the Public Defenders Office and a waiver of the
$10 fingerprinting fee and $25 court clerk fee.  FDLE has been asked
to waive its $75 state filing fee.

The coalition of agencies is following Florida law in expunging
records and hopes the plan will become a state model.

Although this is a boost to private contractors who are having
problems placing large numbers of clients, there is some opposition.
The executive director of Transition, Inc., a Miami-based program
that helps ex-felons find work, cautioned that employers have a right
to know if applicants have incidents of theft in their backgrounds.
Hiring a convicted thief to work the cash register might not be a
good idea.  Transition has a policy of full disclosure to the more
than 1,500 employers in their database who are willing to hire ex-
convicts and overlook minor offenses and not hold their past against
them.
*****************************************************************
SOUTHWEST  FLORIDA  AWARDS  WAGES  CONTRACT  TO  LOCKHEED
9/8/98  --  http://www.naplesnews.com/today/business/wages.htm

The WAGES coalition for Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades
counties was impressed with Lockheed's approach for early contact and
intervention, and for followup with welfare recipients.  Lockheed
will provide job placement and helping welfare recipients gain work
experience when necessary.  The coalition wants clients followed up
at 90 days (3 months) and again at 180 days (6 months) after exiting
the program.  The length of the contract is from Oct. 1 until June 30,
1999 (9 months) at which time it may be renewed.  Lockheed will be
working in conjunction with Goodwill Industries and Lee County
Extension Service.  Thirty-five people will be hired to work the
contract.

Contract details of Lockheed's $1.49 million bid were still being
negotiated as the above date.  State staff currently perform some of
the tasks expected to be done by Lockheed.
****************************************************************
CHILD SUPPORT:     FLORIDA
9/17/98  --  http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/980917/fl_child_s_1.html
Collections Increase Since Program Transferred to Department of
Revenue

Four years ago Florida transferred the child support program to the
Department of Revenue.  Since then, collections have increased 51
percent, even though DOR has reduced the caseload by closing
duplicate or inactive cases.  DOR reports that as of June 1998 the
child support caseload had been reduced by 34 percent from 1.3
million cases to 869,000.

Much of the credit for the collection increase (from $388.6 million
in 1994 to $585.2 million in 1998) is attributed to more effective
enforcement tools, such suspension of driver licenses and placement
of child support arrest warrant on the state's crime computer.
**********************************************************************
*
CHILD  SUPPORT:  ALASKA  TO  HOLD CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINE HEARINGS
9/16/98  --  http://www.adn.com/stories/T98091698.html

Complying with the federal requirement to evaluate child support
guideline every 4 years, a five member child support guidelines
Review Committee will hold hearing around the state.  Some proposed
changes include: increase maximum income counted from $72,000 to $80,
000, reduce support during extended visitation, and calculate
retirement contributions differently.

Other issues being discussed are second family expenses, inclusion of
custodial parent income in all cases and prevention of unfair payment
of child support in cases where physical custody has been switched.
**************************************************************
CHILD SUPPORT:      AUDIT  FINDS  $13 MILLION UNCOLLECTED  IN  FEES
9/21/98  --  htttp://webserv1.startribune.com/cgi-
bin/stOnLine/article?thisStory=50710484
Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

Milwaukee county auditor recently found itself with a $13.4 million
child support fee debt.  It seems that the county has failed to
collect the annual $20-$25 processing fee for the past 20 years.  The
county hopes to collect from $1 million to $2 million in 106,715
cases before January when the state takes over processing child
support payments.
**********************************************************
WELFARE  FRAUD:     MASSACHUSETTS
9/15/98  --  FOOD  STAMP  FRAUD
Massachusetts state officials had estimated that the state was losing
about $10 million in food stamps through illegal methods before the
implementation of electronic benefit transfer cards.  In the 10 years
before the paperless system, fewer than 10 cases of alleged grocer
fraud were reported.  In less than 1-1/2 years 47 cases of suspected
food stamp fraud have been referred to federal administrators.  Ten
grocers were sanctioned for ringing up non-edible items not covered
by the food stamp program.


Back issues of UPDATES are available upon request.

The National Child Support Advocacy Coalition
Betty Murphy
Director of Government Relations
8632 Mt. Vernon Hwy.
Alexandria, VA  22309

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