This blog post is from an April 1, 2016 letter to the editor written by MCA Board Member Shawn Yardley published in the Bangor Daily News. Check out the original letter here.
Finding real solutions to poverty is in the best interest of our children and state. Preparing Maine for a prosperous future begins with ensuring our youngest residents get what they need in order to become healthy adults who will work to strengthen our communities and build our economy.
At a time when extreme child poverty is on the rise in Maine, lawmakers should be focused on policies that reverse these troubling trends.
The TANF program, at its core, is intended to protect and improve the lives of children. The TANF program is not what creates poverty; it is what prevents our children living in deep poverty from going without basic essentials such as shelter, diapers, heat and the needed over-the-counter medicines not covered by any other source when they’re sick. TANF fills the gap resulting from low wages and equips parents with the tools they need to get and keep a job.
Reforming the TANF program should involve improvements that effectively help parents and children get out and stay out of poverty.