The Problem with Relying on the Government

I ended a previous post on the plunging poverty rate with the observation that relying on the government is insidious because such reliance leaves people in the lurch when programs on which they depend get yanked out from under them. Such is the case of the “1,900 to lose childcare aid tomorrow.”
I’m sympathetic to their situation. Unfortunately, whenever government has to choose between scaling back or going broke, someone is going to have to bear the burden. In Rhode Island, social welfare programs are usually hit when cuts are made because, simply put, they are one of the largest portions of the budget. The 1,900 are those who were on the margins of an arbitrary qualification line for receiving child care subsidies. Now, they have to find a solution without the government.

Parents are turning to neighbors, friends or even older siblings to care for children who previously attended a licensed facility with trained teachers and staff that offered food and transportation. A total of 1,500 working families will lose subsidies tomorrow. That’s more than 20 percent of the families in the system today.

“It’s a difficult time. Clearly the state is facing some significant budget challenges. We’re just going to have to deal,” said Karen Leslie, the president and chief operating officer for the YMCA of Greater Providence. “It’s going to be incumbent on us to find creative ways to meet this need. The alternative of children being left home alone is not something we are willing to accept.”

Did you get that? Minus government, they will have to “find creative ways to meet this need.” Why did it take government cuts to prompt such “creativity”? {As SusanD adds: “H’mm, like the ‘old’ days.” Yup. It’s apparently “creative” to rely on one’s own family or community. –ed.}
Because when the safety net becomes more like a security blanket, there is no sense of urgency.
Let’s also not forget that, according to DHS guidelines:

* Parents choose their provider and may use more than one provider to
meet their child-care needs. Options for care are:
o enrollment in a licensed child-care center or after-school
o enrollment in a certified family child-care home;
o care by an approved relative of the child in the relative’s home;

o care by an approved provider selected by the family in the child’s

So, at least some of the family members and relatives who will be watching the newly unsubsidized kids have been doing it all along. Now they just won’t get paid.

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16 years ago

Thanks for posting this, Marc.
“Parents are turning to neighbors, friends or even older siblings to care for children who previously attended a licensed facility ”
H’mm, like the “old” days.
The state is creating unnecessary dependencies (and encouraging disadvantageous behavior) with most social programs.

16 years ago

Right again, Marc! Pardon the pun. Government is the problem. Relying on them will only get you hurt. Think 911 and Katrina.

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