Child Welfare in the 21st Century

  • January 2013
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Let reasonable minds prevail — on all matters.

Posted by lboyd544 on January 18, 2013

With all of the angst…and anger…expressed over the past months of confronting the federal budget and fiscal cliff, there is one program that escaped further harm about which we need to know and continue to protect. That program is SNAP.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), once known as ‘food stamps’, is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program.

It may seem an unlikely comparison, but just as gun owners are clamoring today that we see who they really are and distinguish responsible owners from illegal and dangerous holders of weapons, so our society needs to see the reality of who those users of food stamps are. In Oklahoma, SNAP supports 16% of the state population (figures from September, 2012, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities). Sixteen percent translates to 1 in 6 Oklahomans, fulfilling its stated purpose of providing basic nutrition to low-income citizens. In Oklahoma, almost 75% of SNAP recipients are families with children.  Slightly less than 26% of those families also include an elderly or a disabled family member. Fully 44% of those receiving SNAP benefits are working families! These are wage earners who buy groceries where businesses hire workers who also pay taxes and spend money in communities. 

Yes, we may have seen an individual in the grocery buying soda, or some other frowned upon product, with food stamps. Just as we do know that some irresponsible gun owners exist — to return to that awkward analogy. (However, it fits for Oklahoma!) Yet SNAP has one of the most rigorous payment error measurement systems of any public benefit program and its error rates are at an all time low even during the recent recession. (Since we do not track gun ownership in this country, there is no comparison rate to suggest.)

Surely, politicians will continue their outrage in ensuring months over ‘entitlements’, public welfare programs, attacks on gun ownership, expanding Medicaid, etc. Let us seek the

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