IOWA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE
STATEMENT ON WELFARE REFORM
April 2, 1993
“Children’s lives are diminished every day in this nation because of the low level of welfare benefits. Misleading stereotypes of welfare families and misguided budget priorities are largely responsible for the failure of both federal and state governments to protect children from hunger, homelessness, and deprivation. We reiterate our call for a minimum national welfare benefit that will permit children and their parents to live in dignity. A decent society will not balance its budget on the backs of poor children. Sadly, the fiscal difficulties in many of our states has meant disproportionate cuts and unfair burdens for poor families.”
From Putting Children and Families First
United States Catholic Conference
Our aim is to remove constraints which keep welfare families from becoming independent. We therefore ask that proposed reforms in Iowa’s welfare system not further punish the poor but help them in reaching this goal. We join with our national Church leaders in decrying the current maltreatment of the children in our country. We also join our voice to the discussion of current proposals within Iowa which are intended to change the manner in which we, as a state, care for the poor families and children among us.
Any reform program must address the needs of families to live lives worthy of being made in the image and likeness of God. Benefits should satisfy human needs and allow the recipients to move from government assistance into dignified work.
Access to medical care must be ensured so that parents can move into the work place and not endanger their family’s health. Government policies need to encourage the building of assets and savings for the future rather than penalizing those who build and save. The creation of adequate, affordable, child care remains a priority so that parents can seek and take employment.
Policies need also to recognize the diversity of problems facing the poor and shape programs and requirements that are flexible and able to overcome those problems.
In seeking to bring about welfare reform, we must remain in a spirit of love, charity, and justice. Our focus remains on children, families and the protection of their dignity and worth.