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April 29, 2010
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Children's Defense Fund (CDF)-Minnesota released the report, Public Work Support Programs: Addressing Barriers to Increase Access, which documents barriers families face when trying to access public work support programs. The report evaluated Child Care Assistance, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP), Food Supports (SNAP), and Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) in five mid-western states and found that many working families who need and are eligible for assistance with food, heat, and medical care, face a variety of barriers that often prevent gaining access to these helpful programs.
Some of the barriers families face include waiting lists, waiting periods, difficult application procedures, stigma in applying, as well as not even knowing programs are available or that they are eligible. The difference for a family in crisis between moving towards poverty and rebuilding towards a more secure financial state can be found in these very programs.
Jim Koppel, CDF–MN Director, affirmed the importance of work supports: “It’s in all our interest to ensure families learn about and enroll in the programs that exist. We all benefit when children and their families have access to programs that keep their children safe, warm and well. Healthy families translate to good outcomes for children and prevent outcomes such as child abuse and neglect, school failure and drop out, and juvenile delinquency.”
Koppel went on to say, “In these uncertain times, when many families find themselves struggling for the first time due to layoffs or reduced incomes, we must do everything we can to ensure they receive the support they need to maintain economic stability.
In addition, the report finds that hundreds of millions of federal dollars come to Minnesota’s economy through these very work supports and by not fully utilizing them, out state does not receive the its full share. This can amount to millions of dollars for each program.
Kara Arzamendia, Research Director, CDF–Minnesota, 651.855.1184, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Koppel, Director, CDF-Minnesota, 651.339.4099 (c), email@example.com