This week, Reveal’s bringing you an episode we first aired this summer. With Republicans in full control of the Federal government, there’s a good chance Welfare Reform will be an issue they may take on. So in anticipation of that, it is worth taking another look at what’s worked and what hasn’t.
Today, only a quarter of welfare dollars actually goes toward basic assistance – housing, transportation or essential household items. So we’ll revisit a road trip we took with Marketplace’s new podcast “The Uncertain Hour” and find out the surprising ways different states use welfare dollars.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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From the centre for investigative reporting in p r ex this is reveal I'm letting this week we're bringing you an episode. We first air this summer with Republicans in full control of the federal government. There's a good chance. Welfare reform will be an issue they take on. So in anticipation of that is worth taking another
and what's worked in what has it? There was a time when the most divisive issue in America, one bit made talks
this into their might? Have all the black get out a body
in Amerika are separate countries and their gross national product is the welfare check and liver made politicians or eight when the welfare queen is she now calls?
only burst on the scene. It may just about everybody hot under the collar was welfare well that pretty, which ended in nineteen. Eighty six, when President Bill Clinton
dug his pen inside the welfare reformat. Today we are ending welfare. As we know it, welfare is known as temporary assistance for needy families
This on temporary there's a five year lifetime cap on benefits in some states, its less than that, instead of getting your cheque from the federal government, now states get money first, as block rates, they decide what spend the money on this means. They can do some pretty strange things with it, and that is what this episode is. All about.
We ve teamed up with marketplaces podcast the uncertain our for welfare road trip. In our first story, reporter Chrissy Clark, travel
the Oklahoma earlier this year,
it's a wintry night in Oklahoma City and I'm in a crowded conference room at the front. There's a guy with a white goatee, APOLLO shirt, sword and talk about loves.
His name is Scott Roby and he's pointing at a slide with the image of a big colorful heart on it. The hearts divided up into quadrants labeled with different love. Styles there's do be give encourage, talk and touch those of the six different dimensions or
of styles. That's got says in every person. One or two love styles really rise to the top sensual touch if it's really gonna fee,
the love style and feed the relationship
not always about
ending the plane? If you know what I mean
God's audience consists mostly of young or middle age professionals dressed in business, casual most of them, headed to this classroom right after work. It's a free class called forever for real, go make here forever for real.
Open to any couple who lives in Oklahoma, a kind of marriage,
counselling, one or one to help them improve their relationships and build strong.
Both here are having a good time dancing to a little
our green plain, goose,
bonding games. I was expecting me to me back to ban list.
All right. You are now on break, we'll, see you back at the break. I walk
here to a couple snacking on pizza and try. Martin,
Pray works in biotech. His fiance forty Radford is a pair
Legal, they met online heard about this class at a bridle show and as they have just discovered there quite compatible when it comes to love styles. Thank God, then I ask them a question that sounds totally
out of left field. How do you feel about government
assistance and welfare in this country. Do we spend enough too much? Not enough. Lorry does not skipper beat to match, and you feel like too much work
I think that the people who receive it the lot of those people don't try to go, find jobs, a lot of unjust set at home and they're not looking to better themselves. What, if I told you that this clause is funded by the Welfare programme,
at this point, train lorry look at each other.
God we're on welfare. I never thought I'd be a welfare
train. Lorry had no idea of this class was funded by a federal welfare block. Grant neither did the ip analysed
employment, recruiter or most of the other couples. I talk to didn't
consider themselves particularly meeting
crazy way. Welfare spending works. Today, though, means that many people in Oklahoma people who are out of work people whose
incomes fall below the poverty line
who, by any measure are very needy? They aren't getting any cash assistance at all families,
like Laura gremlins
the same day I went to that marriage class in Oklahoma. I met Laura Gray, sweatshirt dark hair, pulled back in a ponytail, pushing a double stroller.
She was dropping her daughters off at a pre school near where she lives in Tulsa. There's her daughter angel almost too
and ISIS who turned three on the fifteenth of January. That's ISIS like me.
Corruption- goddess, not the ISIS in all the headlines, these days
I actually love egyptian mythology. I just picked the main kind of out of a hat, and I thought it was beautiful until, of course, all of the
terrorists. You know extremist group came out, but they do now. We work around its
Working around. It is something Laura has had to become very good at in her life, not just working around
Unfortunately, timed baby names but much harder stuff, Laura grew up and fast
Care moved around alarm dropped out of high school by Herman twenties. She had found
some stability she'd gotten her g, a series of job she liked
I'm kind of a jewel of all trades. I've worked dinner, eyeglasses lab I've done retail. I was a tall guided a couple different places where, from sale, ambassadors
said she was bringing in a steady if modest, paycheck she and her
spend were expecting their first child and then out it came out, the rug came, and that is the downward spiral adds one
Then you lose another thing, you view is another and it just keeps going in lorries.
Is that downward spiral started with her home, getting condemned and ended with a messy break up with her husband.
She and her daughters are in Tulsa trying to start over again like her
we live at the Salvation Army with my two children. Just because
We are really running out of options way to go at that point, because we don't have a whole lot of family that can help us out even for a month or so. So I could you we could go back on our feet.
there is one other place you might expect Laura and her family to go in this situation. While she tried to get back on our feet. The county welfare office for many
decades in this country. That's where famine
is often turned when they were desperate, no money, no family to turn to for help and in fact, Laura
go down to the local office to look into applying for cash welfare. She spoke to a case worker there.
And I said well, I need to play for tariff than he turned
No you don't need to you want to learn
is between that embarrassment and all the who
involved in applying forms to fill out
hours waiting to speak to a caseworker. She decided to give up on cash welfare.
I'm really trying to get a job on my own,
stories like these are common in many parts of the country. Today, very few poor fellow
is actually receive any cash welfare anymore nationally. Just twenty three out of
three hundred families who live below the poverty line and the Oklahoma
it's even more extreme.
Seven out of every hundred Laura does get food stamps, but that only covers food,
There's lots of other really basic stuff that you need to get by day today. That's not food costs are a cough. Medicine is very expensive. You
virtual during I'd, try to pull the squirrel little bit away for a rainy day by and as an always been successful, and it does get hard
when you're down the Alas doll earnest, or do we go by before pack a toilet paper or do I get costs are written kids all these little things at up every month and complicate matters without the cash to cover them. It's actually hard to get a job.
Your buses, late, taking you to your job interview, you dont, have clean clothes
call back number under resume is a homeless shelter. So
Let's put this all in a little perspective, poor family
is like Laura's are not getting temporary assistance for needy family dollars, but for more than a decade. Ten of my
It has been going to middle class families looking for relationship help
here are some recent numbers in twenty fourteen
Oklahoma spend almost two hundred million dollars of ten if money, promoting marriage and preventing out of wedlock, pregnancy accounted for about five percent of that spending.
The little more nine percent went to
ash assistance for poor families. What we think of, when we think of welfare,
Laura Grinnin, who was discouraged from applying for cash welfare, would think of these numbers, so I walked through them as far as as
marriage counselor classes? I don't know, that's the best way to spend a budget. I have a lot of questions
think M. One is definitely the way that the budget is split up. So how did the welfare budget get split up this way?
The answer comes down to four bullet points:
even printed amount, so I went stumble. This is
is shot? A senior fell.
At the centre on budget and policy priorities? She for the last few years has been obsessed with how and why states spend federal welfare money. Your taxpayer money like they do. She said
It all comes down to these four bullet points.
Buried in the nineteen? Ninety six welfare reform bill under the
sub heading purpose. They start
of simple enough first is providing assistance
needy family, so children can be cared for in their homes. That's really your basic cash welfare that we ve been talking about and then there's the second bullet points. The second purpose- and the second purpose, is about promoting
work, preparation and those two purposes really are what I think most thought that welfare reform was about. But then we get two purposes three and four
things take a twist. The third purpose of tariff is preventing and reducing
the incidence of out of wedlock pregnancies and the fourth purpose incur.
During the formation and the maintenance of two parent families. These last
who purposes focusing on marriage and preventing out of wedlock pregnancies had been pushed for years
by republican and democratic welfare reformers who were alarmed by the rise of single parent families. Data shows that
Children with single moms are forty five times more likely to be in poverty than those in married families. But the fact that these two purpose,
as focusing on family formation, became such an integral part of the goals of welfare reform that did not
make a lot of headlines and ninety. Ninety six, when the welfare reform bill was passed, in fact,.
Emphasis on marriage and to parent families didn't even get much notice from policy one.
Cycle like shot at the time. You know it
think anyone really paid attention and ninety. Ninety six, you register
Did you read a bill and there's all these, whereas is that's just blocked
ah well, here
turns out that controls,
the money can be spent. Those four bullet points
where the closest the bill came to clearly defining how states could spend their block grants and they open the door to
whole world of possibility
We started to look more closely at just how each state spends that sixteen point five billion dollars allocated for needy families each year. She combed
The hundreds of annual reports that states have sent to the fattened since welfare reform describing
where the money goes and which of the four purposes just
is that spending when we start
slicing them in dicing them. We,
began to see very dramatic patterns. One of the biggest patterns
nation wide in the last few years, less than a quarter
Welfare money is being spent on actual cash assistance for poor families, less
quarter on child care and work supports to help poor families find jobs and as
the rest of the money. Much of it goes too pretty much anything that might be
even vaguely under purposes three and four, which brings us back to them
wintry night in Oklahoma and to this conference. So here's what I want you to do your work book, your fun book. I want you to on fifty six.
Where are the teacher paid by federal welfare dollars is standing where he's asking couples of various income bracket from working class to upper middle class? What do you think your top three love styles are and then what do you think
your lease three love styles.
The really strange part at the center,
All this is a for. Profit comes
a merry my rig.
The president of public strategies marry my Rick, got her start working on political campaigns for republican candidates in Oklahoma, but some
two thousand one. Her company public strategies has received
more than seventy million dollars and welfare money to run these relationship classes for Oklahoma. The whole idea took
old in the state in the late nineties, after report came out. Looking
why Oklahoma had one of the lowest per capita incomes in the country, and it said all the things
that an economic report would say that you have a hard time. Understanding,
unless you're an economist, candy com
also works at public strategies running many of their marriage classes. She says at the end of the report. There was this one part that caught state leaders attention. It said: yeah,
too much divorce too many out of wedlock births and up until that point, nobody had really made the connection between divorce
in the economy. The report can
out right around the same time as welfare reform kicked in and the new
system of block grants. That states could use for anything that broadly fit. Those four bullet points, those for purposes, including the last two about marriage, and so
Our governor at the time met with our Department of Human services and said why don't we use
it s very small portion of that money.
To try some innovative things to strengthen families and the oak Le Homer Marriage initiative was born over the years they ve offered. So many different classes targeted at different demographics candy, can barely keep track of forever for
all that is targeted to the needs of couples, whether there
engaged married seriously. Dating heart
the soul is crafted towards the needs of african american couples and individuals. We have
spanish version forever frail, which is reality, Parson pray. I don't have that rolling of my hours down very well and the
goes on: some classes have been target,
towards low income people, but most have been open,
to everyone rich poor and in between, but since their inception,
All of these programmes have been funded in part by the federal government through Tanis, temporary
distance for needy families and
concerned some state lawmakers from both parties, including endemic
had estate representative Genie Mcdaniel having healthy
Marriages is a worthy goal. I understand kids need to parents. I support merit
but at the same time, is this: the best use of tuna funds Mcdaniel.
As she was surprised when she first heard about how the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative was being funded? I had never heard about it as a legislator, even as allegedly
whose army appropriations committing doesn't
oh, how the ten of dollars are spent right. That's true, you might think
lawmakers like Genie. Mcdaniel would have more involvement in where their own state concentrates its welfare spending, but that task falls.
To the administrators of the Oklahoma Department of human surfaces, gems,
Ruby is the director of adult and family services there he run.
The cash assistance programme in Oklahoma, and so I asked him does it concern
that so little money goes to basic assistance to direct cash assistance years, to have more to say,
Why? One of the things that I am keenly aware of? Low income families are up against obstacles that middle class in upper class. Obviously, families
never have to deal with, and so any em
out of support? We can give him, I think, is important
I told him about. The stories is I'd heard from Laura Grinnin and others who tried to say
not for welfare and Ben discouraged by case workers, from applying with comments like you, don't need it. He wanted. He acknowledged
this is a problem were aware that out in some of our communities, there are workers who discourage participation in either
with the kind of comment you said or they're, just less
enthusiastic in on eligibility process,
Strew told me: he thinks Oakland,
the steps in the state, I have to say, I'm surprised to hear you as somebody high up in the department same that you do
the state I have to say I'm surprised to hear you as somebody high up in the department saying that you don't think that your department spends enough on cash assistance,
There are a lot of things to consider. I mean one thing: is the bed
guess just because, if, if anybody could could do something about it, would
Wouldn't it be you and your department. Well, there are a lot of things to consider. I mean one thing is the dead. We pay for a lot of other important things with ten dollars, and that is the convention,
seeing some would say: infuriating paradox that lies at the heart of how
welfare spending is structured today, not just in Oklahoma but across the country
the money has become so flexible that everyone wants.
Piece of it to fund their state programme and as five
sent here and ten percent there get funneled to other state concerns were in a place where twenty
there is after welfare reform and all those welfare to work slogans, there's very
little welfare money that goes towards what we think of as welfare or work. That's Chrissy clerk of marketplace anymore
since Chrissy travelled to Oklahoma to report that story, the state cut the money going to its department
human services by overfishing
before a million dollars and many programme
were eliminated, including the marriage initiative, but in the fifteen years
the programme has been around the poverty rate
homer, had barely budged and its marriage rate actually went down
Oklahoma is not alone in spending welfare dollars in unusual wings. Next Creasy has two Michigan we're paying for cows. To wishing is used for preventing out of wedlock pregnancies, that's a welfare programme. This is revealed from the centre for investigative reporting and p r exe
from the center for investigative reporting in p r eggs. This is revealed an alleged twenty years ago. The welfare format promised to and welfare, as we know it.
And it did, there are ten million fewer people on the walls today that in eighteen, ninety four and just as important what today show is about states took control of the sixty.
And a half billion dollar welfare programme, only a fraction of that money goes to basic cash assistance,
and, as for the rest reported, Creasy Clark of Marketplace went on a road trip across the country to find out in Michigan. She ended up on a couch campus in the
it'll of apart for somebody. You can't see. What's going on right now what the hell is going on? Ok, so I guess you call it a re. Dance belong your dad Singin having fun with low life right in front of me, I'm in a dark gymnasium on the campus of Adrian College and expensive private college in southern Michigan. It's crazy,
Here there are students engulfed in giant plastic bubbles, play soccer students, sporting glow in the dark painted each other and their hunger games. Archery service
This is basically a what
many ages Gaza Venza they put on, whereas so
even I have come here to Adrian College except hold that thought. I'm gonna break the fourth law now in turn down the rave music, a little because its hurting, my brain ha, ok, much better, so the
these- and I have come here to Adrian College first- is it just so how
it that many of the people at this college are twenty years
old themselves, meaning they were born
the same year that welfare reform was born, but here's the thing a lot of these students.
They may not know it, but they are on welfare too.
We're looking at basic
one side of our small
Square Mile, canvas the rave parties over things of quieted down and I'm getting a tour of the tiny Adrian campus
past the brand new ice hockey rink.
Even newer fitness centre downs, the oldest building on canvasses here from what's not included in this tourists, stats and school trivia of the seventeen.
Students who go here, who mostly grew up and middle class or upper middle class families more than half receive ten. If money federal welfare money to help cover there
Nearly forty five thousand dollars a year to wish of building and Blake here stem the junior, whose
gimme. The campus tour right now is far end is what we call commencement Plaza. This is one of these unwitting welfare recipients. He had no,
idea he was getting the money until I asked him about it, do you have the paperwork within me? One circumstance Blake pulled up his financial aid package on his phone. Ok, one
the college grants welfare money goes to is known as the Michigan tuition grant. It specifically targeted to Michigan students who go to private schools in state takes into account how much money their families make compared to how expensive a school is. Blake's family is middle claps, though they had a rough patch in the recession. When his mom was out of work for a couple years, we looked over here.
Tuition a statement and there it was between simple grants and student loans and academic achievement. Scholarships to us
the mission intuition grants by eighteen hundred eighteen hundred and thirty dollars
eighteen hundred and thirty dollars a year and welfare money. That's about how much Kelly
I am an accounting major.
Junior I talk to an Adrian also gets like Blake
You didn't know much about what the Michigan tuition Grant was or where the money came from. Until I asked her about it, it was just another.
A useful chunk of money to help her family cover the costs of a very expensive college, free money. I guess it's kind of their running joke and our house, but you know I don't know
exactly what qualified me for. I hadn't really looked much into it and when you look deeper into the Michigan Tuition Grant and how are these students qualify for it, things go
they surprising in the annual report that man
it has to submit to the federal government
explaining how it spends the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal welfare money gets each year. It says quote
Following services are intended to prevent and reduce the incidence of out of wedlock pregnancies and then there's a list,
services. Second on the list there it is
boom scholarships used to fund post secondary,
the education as of this year
puts almost a hundred million dollars of its more than seven
hundred million dollar. Ten of blot grant towards these scholarships, and aside from the fact that its called an out of wedlock, pregnancy prevention, protein
there's another recent- Miss welfare spending on college financial aid is worth examining a portion
that money goes to student
whose families earn more than a hundred thousand dollars a year. According to the most
reliable data about six percent of one of these grants,
the Michigan Tuition Grant goes to families who are upper middle class,
Abby Peters Mark lives in east glancing, Michigan on a tree line suburban street, where she and her Ex husband MIKE raised three kids Chrissy. There
list. Andy just finished his sophomore year at Adrian College, and he receives
Michigan tuition grab funded by temporary assistance for needy families. The Peters marks do not fit. The typical definition of a needy family makes us EPA. Debbie cells, ads for local tv state,
together. They fall into the upper end of earners and America more than two hundred
thousand dollars a year between the two of us, I think word to an a quarter to according to fifty but everything's relative. Even when you make that much money
can be expensive, MIKE and Debbie son considered a public university, but liked the intimate, feel and close attention. He'd get in a small private college like Adrian and its forty
five thousand dollars a year. Price tag was a challenge, your basic,
with college or basically buying a brand new car every year that you have to pay in full for right, then, and when you're putting three kids through college. Even if you ve had college savings accounts for these kids, since they were little which the Peters marks dead, it can still feel like a pinch. So when I tell my can Debbie that one of the grants their son gets to help cover tuition is actually
under the through welfare money? I personally think it's terrific, because just because a kid grows up in a home that might have a little bit more money than the next doesn't mean
they are not entitled to some help from the government. For college mean it does
matter how much money you make your still forking over.
Thirty thousand dollars a year for college is is a hardship I asked
be what she might say to a really poor family who wasn't getting the kind of traditional direct cash assistance that we think of when we think of welfare, they,
I look at you guys, like you, guys, have this beautiful home you're you're, getting welfare money. What what
say to them Mercer. Once again,
We go back to the fact that this the welfare money is supporting the kids,
to go to college, and if this is something that can help make, you know us up, unexperienced better, for
damn near Gonna pay taxes and the kitchen
to the society in the long run, so I wouldn't necessarily think of it as a a welfare gift.
The family. I would think of it as a welfare gift to the kid, and as for the kids who are getting these welfare grants, I asked them what they thought. Debian MIKE's, I'm Andy was pragmatic,
be offered the money, then we're gonna take it. I ask colleagues weaken the Adrian Junior. Her parents make almost two hundred thousand dollars a year. She said she hoped enough. Cash assistance goes to actual poor families, so they can meet
her basic needs. A theatre. Child needs, a new jacket and its winter time than by
means? I hope that there is enough money in you receive enough money for that month for children to be warm and clothed and fed, but she said maybe giving her some of that welfare
to go to a good private school like Adrian, might mean she can help others with their basic needs down the line. I now that I'm gonna
Take my education and use it wisely and get a great job, and hopefully I can buy a jacket for Christmas for one of those other kids, that needs to say warm
kind of trickled down economics, college grad by college grad, I explained
believed that Michigan leaders actually have their own logic, for these college grants that they have to connect every federal wealth,
dollar. The state spends to one of four basic purposes, including
in the welfare law and the one that they connect it to is that it helps prevent out of wedlock. Pregnancies
ok, so helping, because I'm I'm going to assume cause. I'm educated that
I'll have a baby. I asked Frank Rebar living
president for enrollment and student affairs at Adrian College about this idea
using the welfare dollars to fund college grants certainly help.
Students better afford a private institution education-
dreams just one of thirty or so private colleges in Michigan, where students are eligible for these grants. Frank points out that his college was recently ranked as one of the top schools in Michigan for Social Mobility based on the high graduation rates of low income students in the school. As for the welfare grants that go to,
students from higher income families. It's giving those families options. These are facts.
Those who are also paying in context so their aim to access some of what they ve been paying for. I asked him about the rationale of the state uses to spend welfare money on grants for school to action as a way of preventing out of wedlock, pregnancies. Interesting, ok,
I'm not quite sure how to respond to that so interesting rationale. I found it interesting to what exactly was the thinking
Agnes. My producers and I reached out to a bunch of Michigan state officials after repeated requests over many weeks. None of them agreed to comment then. Finally, after a month and a half, we got a short statement from a spokesman at the States Department of Health and Human services, which, overall,
is the cash welfare programme. It reads. Studies have shown that higher education decreases the chance of out of wedlock pregnancies and goes
under say. Children born
wedlock and their families are more likely to be poor. We want to remove,
Guph barriers to self sufficiency, so that families can succeed and thrive so that something, but the truth
is Michigan, doesn't really have to explain its rationale at all. States have not had to present rigorous evidence and there isn't rigorous evidence
to connect those dots and to say this is a pregnancy prevention strategy. That's
shot again. Senor policy analysed at the centre on budget and policy priorities. States have simply asserted they
say we're spending this under the third purpose. They just have to check the box. It's hot
to know if Michigan is achieving its stated purpose of reducing
out of wedlock, pregnancies with the scholarship programme funded by welfare, but
we do know is that more than two hundred thousand families with children live below the poverty line in Michigan and most of them don't get any cash assistance at all
that's marketplaces, christian Club, so
are we ve heard about welfare dollars going to relationship classes intuition for not necessarily maybe college students. Next, we had the indian
to visit a woman's Helsinki. They that gets welfare dollars for helping to prevent abortions. That's makes don't reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and pr
from the centre for investigating reporting in p r eggs. This is reveal a mallet. This week we re airing of collaboration with marketplace in their podcast uncertain our
this year marks the twentieth anniversary of the welfare format. We ve been looking at what that's meant for needy people
one of the main changes and welfare for money for welfare kits managed in handed out by the states, not the federal government. Reporter Chrissy Clark went on a cross country road trip to report on some of the well you could.
Eight surprising ways that states are spending their welfare money. Her next up self been Indiana. I've just pulled into them.
You might have a serious pharmacy to look at a billboard, so there it is there. It is bright, pink, back,
crowned with the photograph of concern to see me says pregnant, we can help
It gives their phone number at the bottom. It just says: women's care center free also sounds free pregnancy tests.
The woman showing me this. Billboard is Brandy David, twenty six years old works as a property researcher at a title. Company
and after driving by this billboard, hundreds of times in her life. One day two years ago, she called that phone number when she found herself pregnant and needing help. My first that was,
my god, dammit, no, just all of those things just all at once. I had been using protection and I was
like why. Why
why she was in her first year of graduate school. Barely making
meat already and she said,
she immediately knew. She was in no position to have a baby I couldn't afford. It was not dating the gentleman in question, I'm already in the whole from student debt
I'm in school. Brandy knew she wanted an abortion and she
thought, she knew where she could get one women's care center that place with the billboards she kept driving by when you
to their website. It said the centre offered information about abortions. She set up an appointment
a man ass soon ass. She could so I go there in its set up in this beautiful old house. Very homey I walked in are helping
and fluffy. Everything in that room was brandy was hoping
still time for medical abortion, the kind with a pill which you can only do in the early weeks of pregnancy.
The lady was very friendly supportive, but when I say that I wanted an abortion, she kind of shied away from that, I'm sure just kind of kiehtan cycle. We can get
adoptions option. There are other things that we can talk about, new, no we'll get to that sooner or later,
Brandy, didn't know it at the time, but her counselor would never get to that. In fact,
there, was no way she would receive an abortion at women's care center or even get a referral for an abortion, because it too
out women's care center is what some call a crisis: pregnancy centre, a pregnancy resource centre with a specific mission to steer women away from having an abortion, and it turns
the centre. Brandy went to as well as dozens of centres like it across Indiana and Pennsylvania, and a few other states are partly funded by federal welfare dollars through the programme. Temporary assistance for needy families.
So this is just are waiting room. Jenny, Huns Berger is vice president of women's
center. She showed me around one of the officers they have in South banned when claim
come in. We have are waiting rooms at all of our centre, set a very much like living rooms, because we just want people to feel
gummed and cared for and come
and safe brandy was right. It's very pink, very home I'll. Just walk you through quick,
plush chairs and soothing music and small counselling rooms.
Where women's CARE center staff talk with clients who come in seeking help with an unexpected pregnancy. Jenny tells me this
network of women's care centres has been around for more than
thirty years earlier. Our work is very simple. We provide
unconditional positive support and love so that they
can become great moms and have healthy babies. The typical client Jenny says, is poor, almost all qualify for
federal programs like Medicaid. Nearly eighty percent are single moms. Twenty five percent don't have icicle diploma. Forty percent are fully unemployed. Our clients have hard lives. I asked her if a woman feels like she just cannot afford to have a child and she wants an abortion. Would you refer
them to abortion clinic. What I would say is we would be here if
if any woman said that, whatever whatever woman says, we would say to her we're here for you
before your decision during your decision and after your decision, regardless of what your decision is, but am I correct that you would not refer them? What I would say is that
that what we say to women is. We are here for you before, during and after an end the decision,
is yours, but I just want to weeks are unclear, but but would you ever refer them to a clinic, no cracks Brad? I know it, I would say, is I'll. Be
here for you before, during and after the decision is yours, so you're not gonna, give me the information, but you will tell me that you will be here for me. We will be here, for you always
and though Jenny wouldn't say it explicitly, it's written into the contract,
but the state of Indiana that in order for
and there's like hers to receive ten of money. Federal welfare money there forbidden from referring people to abortion clinics. To put this in some perspective,
law prohibits, federal money from being used to fund abortions, with the exception of rape or incest, or when the.
Nancy will endanger the life of the woman by
in Indiana. In the past year, the state has allocated three and a half million ten of dollars to organization.
Like Jenny's that steer women away from abortions.
There's a common critique of single mothers on welfare. That goes like this. If you're too poor to support a child
You shouldn't be having won in the first place and so
Jenny, why welfare dollars should be used to help and encourage poor, often single mothers to have children. She said her programmes more than that.
It helps build strong families, it encourages things from healthy birth rates,
two families that are more self sufficient. So in that way it very appropriate. This
are also actively connects women to charities and government services make sure that she has
the resources she needs to navigate the medical system that she signed up for Wick, which is the federal Nutrition Programme for pregnant women and children and food stamps and, of course, cash welfare tenant,
the whole idea of putting federal welfare dollars towards these crisis. Pregnancy centres got it start in Pennsylvania with
on profit organization called real alternatives. We reached out repeatedly to them for an interview, but they declined
Jerry Berlin was a republican state legislator in Pennsylvania. When the idea for real alternatives was born, we
the parallel moments saw that there was tat of funds available and it could access the tanner funding. But I kept him
dream. How estate could justify putting welfare money into an
urging single women to have children when one of the explicit goals of the federal Welfare law was to promote the formation of two parent families.
So I started digging through the paperwork and on page six in the contract pencil.
Has with real alternatives. I found it a complicated sentence that I'll just read here I'll turn
lives to abortion, services quote, maintain and and
bridge the formation of stable one parent families which impart the same
skills necessary into parent families, imparting those skills, helps improve ones, confidence in their parenting abilities and encourages the formation of two parent families in the future. If that is appropriate and possible for the woman and her baby, I asked Jerry Berlin.
Out. All this some critics might say: should we be encouraging people who don't think they can and afford a child right now to have a child, and I don't think the answer is ever to kill the children do so they don't have to be on welfare, and I do not accept the argument that we should just have held them. Other abortion, so they're not worldwide
I feel very dehumanizing Jerry's, also a fiscal conservative people
even shrinking spending on government programmes, so, yes, he thinks it makes sense
for welfare dollars to go to crisis pregnancy centres, but he cautions snugly taxpayers respond.
Ability to raise everybody's children for them, and I not suggesting that what I'm sayin
pressing as if you go through a crisis, pregnancy and you really need help for a short period of time. Usually it's only a few months, and I think we should be in the business of helping these people through those prices,
and in doing that, the umbrella group real alternatives claim.
That they save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by connecting women with things like prenatal care and immunizations,
When I told Brandy David who went to women's care centres thinking, she could get an abortion there that it was partly funded by
welfare dollars. She was surprised. That's just not. Ok do flake,
I'm something else like their million other things that it could go to a could go to supporting the children that are a result of this, and she says she's still feels angry about her experience with women's care center. If aid even just said, we can't help you get an abortion and sent me on my way. I would have been frustrated boat and I wouldn't have wasted but
Finally, two to three weeks, brandy did eventually realise that women's care center was not going to help her with an abortion, and she called a planned parenthood in another state to help find a clinic that did provide them.
In beckoned her experience brandy says she has no regrets about her choice. I never really wavered from that. I still
the senior in college pregnant and scared. She made an appointment at an abortion clinic but got confused about where it was and walked into the wind
my name is Mary MC, given I'm twenty six marry me give him had a very different expense.
And when she stumbled onto a women's care center for years ago, she was a senior in college, pregnant and scared. She made an appointment, an abortion clinic but
got confused about where I was and walked into the women's care center down the street. The woman at the desk said we don't offer that service here
but we do offer counselling for women
a b in your position, and it was then that I realised that this war
as a crisis
men see care center and
the budget for the next twenty years to see if it was at least possible, even if we
So he was just a little Lima being and a fluttering little heart cavity, but Mary.
Says the real turning point in her decision about what to do came late, one night soon after one night,
I stayed up all night working out a budget for the
Ex twenty years to see if it was at least possible. Even if we lived very meagrely he she decided, it was possible.
You take a nap. Her son is now three years old. You ve been playing you're good
Mary says she's grateful for the wool women's care center played in her life. She thinks anything that would help
women have more resources during pregnancy should get funding, but she says: that's not where the support should end. The goal is not simply to save the baby, but to save the life.
That life is going to grow up. You need to be able to have community,
and governments. That will support that kind of choice, because a lack of feasibility is
what causes a lot of abortions to happen. In the first place, Mary says she sees
both crisis pregnancy centres and traditional welfare cash assistance as pro life,
that's marketplace reporter Chrissy Clark
the show you ve, heard how most of the welfare dollars today about three quarters don't go to cash assistance for the poor. But what about the twenty five percent that states do spend on welfare checks
who's that helping I am to Santiago a Tammy and
a mother of two beautiful little children, I have a six year old boy and a one year old, baby girl Tammy, is twenty five.
Has been on and off welfare. She remembers among struggling with money when she was growing up. Family lived in the shelter, then move to the projects in Boston.
I was always around violence and gang thin and guns, and you know, and drugs, although
was around that environment and surrounded by those things I myself, never to pardon it to me. Was a good student one to go to college and two thousand nine is accepted to northeastern university, but at the time she was pregnant,
and poor her family and the Father recharge couldn't help so she decided to apply for welfare, taught me about going to the office
for the first time was a light out my eyes. For the first time I was,
kind of being judged and you know there was a lot of stigma and just these ideas of oh she's, a hispanic woman, eighteen, basically, I would always get this comment. I am I just love.
My life, but she says, after getting regular welfare checks for life, got better honestly happy that I took that stuff because after I did have my son, I was able to go to college. He felt good. It felt
powering cause. I send you know, even though I mean he on government assistance at
moment, I'm doing more with my life, and I know this is just temporary after about two.
They have years on assistance, Tammy found a full time job and for the first time, was
find a pay bills on our own and it was a struggle. Who is horrible ways is chaos. I hit rock bottom because when you
used to receiving benefits. You know exactly what you're going to get, how to allocate it towards certain things and how to stretch it out throughout the month budget, but without benefits anymore. She couldn't stretch your paycheck to cover bills. I have put money towards food which-
crazy expensive, especially if you, when you wanna, buy you know healthy foods for your child in yourselves and closed diapers, you know
with so many things in one, and I felt like I was drowning
Timmy got back on welfare and went back to school. Then she found another
The time job but was Lee
Shortly after she applied for welfare again,
moved into a shelter. It was like a cleft united,
Going up men coming back to going up and falling right back down, I fell hopeless
She hasn't been able to break the cycle. Since you know fresh training and
and sometimes I get really emotional about it- and upset and angry, because I'm trying
I'm trying my heart to get off of this assistance and
foreign in life and continue my education, but I feel like there are so many things that are against me rather then, for me
Timmy says she knows that will be more struggles in life, but they wouldn't feel so impossible to overcome if she had more of a buffer. This ascent doesn't feel as if you know it's, it's made to help people get off because there is no transition. If you make twenty four
two fifty cents over the income. You know guideline you get off of assistance right away, and then you just you, drop right now.
Down, there click the damage before seems to stay in her horizon and if she felt
down again. The climb back up will be just as long as it was the last time,
these days about four million,
we'll get welfare checks in a given year compared
that to the more than fourteen million back in the nineties under the old system and the overall federal spending has dropped to from about twenty
billion dollars to sixteen billion dollars. But, as we have heard in this episode, though,
numbers, don't tell the whole story as long as the states keep
knowing their federal welfare money towards things like caused wishing for middle class families or in
urging women did not have abortions. That money will be going to provide basic assistance
Poor people thinks the marketplace for parting with his especially Chrissy Clark, Nancy
Our Golly Gina Del back and Caitlin Ash support for veal sport,
by the river in David Logan Foundation, before foundation
John D, Cathy Catherine Macarthur Foundation, the journal.
James Night Foundation, and the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation reveal
as a co production of the centre for investigating reporting and p r ex I'm Alison and remember. There is always more to the story.
These are last few shows of the year, and let me tell you in twenty twenty we are bringing the fire launching some of our most ambitious projects we ve ever done. I can wait for you to hear them reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads
telling stories that matter and this kind of investigative journalism. Well, it takes time and it costs money. These are the final weeks
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-21.