Public Policy - Public Administration

Topics: Poverty in the United States, Poverty threshold, Poverty Pages: 14 (5618 words) Published: June 21, 2013
“Four years into a period of a deep recession and persistent economic crisis, only now has the p-word—poverty—finally surfaced (Albelda, Jan/Feb 2012, p. 11). For those of us that have; a roof over our heads, stable income, health insurance, and have an abundance of groceries in our pantry, we often never think of those in the United States that are below the poverty line and struggling to put food on the table. The battle for the single mother to make it in this tough economy is the policy issue I will be focusing on. The poverty rate for single mothers and their children is only rising: from 32.5% in 2009 to 34.2% in 2010 (Albelda, Jan/Feb 2012). Poverty has always been a concern, however now with the growing population and the increasing rate of single mothers, it has become a problem on the federal level as well as state and local governments. Compared to other high-income countries, the poverty rates for the United States are remarkably high (Legal Momentum, 2012). The United States has implemented a few programs not only to help assist single mothers, but all poverty stricken individuals in the U.S. I will be discussing the positives and negatives that have come out of some of these programs, the organizations and officials involved in the issue, in addition to alternate policies and my thoughts of the problem along with my opinion and thoughts of my ideas for a new policy.

To completely understand poverty in the U.S. it is important to understand how poverty is measured in the United States. The U.S. uses poverty thresholds that are issued every year by the Census Bureau. A family is considered poor if its pretax money income is below the poverty threshold (National Poverty Center, 2013). According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census in 2010 the poverty threshold for a single parent of one child was $15,030 and for two children $17,568 (National Poverty Center, 2013). Now the question remains, how many single mothers are below the poverty line? In 2010 about 46 million remained in or fell into poverty (Ross, September 15, 2011). With this number only growing, the importance of gaining control over this issue is imminent. Some key focuses for single mothers in poverty would be; creating and finding jobs for single mothers, assisting with providing food and possibly shelter, health care for themselves and their children, and child care for their children while they are working. The U.S. government began implementing programs back in 1935 with the introduction of “welfare”, but at the time it was actually first called Aid to Dependent Children or AFDC (Albelda, Jan/Feb 2012). Many other programs followed the implementation of “welfare” such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, and housing assistance. The largest milestone following the implementation of welfare created by the government was called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF. The program started in 1996 with support of President Clinton, this program abolished the AFDC. TANF was created to move parents off of welfare and into the workforce with basic work-related skills (Hildebrandt & Stevens, May 2009). TANF is the program that has taken precedence in the U.S. I will be spending a majority of time on the different issues that have come as a result of this program. As I stated above, TANF was put into effect in place of welfare and there are 4 essential differences between the two that are important to understand: entitlement, sanctions, limits of benefits, and fixed block grant. Entitlement; meaning adults in the U.S. must meet and comply with work requirements. Sanctions are in place by the discretion of the state to comply with work requirements. The limits are referring to a 60 month limit, and fixed block grant meaning the amount of money a family receives is fixed (Network, 2012).

There seems to be always a positive followed by a negative in theories such as these. These theories are the basis of these programs, and all are put in...

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