Michigan has enacted a law that takes welfare benefits from families whose children miss class, Fox 2 News Detroit reports. While the state believes the rule will ensure that kids attend school, welfare advocates and recipients feel the it is too harsh.
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When the policy takes effect Oct. 1, the Michigan Department of Human Services will keep up with kids ages six to 15 who will have to prove they are enrolled in school. If kids within that age range miss more than ten days of class, their parents can lose their welfare benefits.
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It is a policy move that one welfare recipient feels is outright wrong. “I think it’s very unfair, and I think it’s very stupid. I mean, it doesn’t make sense,” said Ebony Boost (pictured above), who has three children and is currently on welfare.
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The state, however, believes that the rule will help bolster school enrollment.
“Our whole goal is that we’re going to increase academic success for children,” said Sheryl Thompson with the Department of Human Services. “We’re going to have higher graduation rates because the most important thing with this also is that we want to end generational poverty and it starts by increasing our educational values.”
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Maureen Taylor, head of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, believes the plan unfairly targets low income families since they are not the only ones who aren’t going to school.
“What kind of plan is this? Let’s punish everybody. Because this kid may have missed some days of school, maybe we should find out why that kid missed school,” she said. “I like motivation, but the motivation here is to take away breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
The policy change takes effect two days before Michigan’s fall count day when attendance is used to determine the funding a school district gets from the state. There are plenty in favor of the new plan like Ryan Battle, who said there is no excuse why a parent shouldn’t be sending their kid to school.
“It matters. I mean, if you’re not going to school, if you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do with your kids, then how is the future going to work? You can’t raise new presidents if you don’t go to school,” he said.
The state plans to work with families and says that they can get their benefits back if they can prove their children have been back to school for 21 consecutive days.