Regarding "How kids fare in new welfare era" (April 16): You reported on how the lifestyle of single welfare moms, now asked to work, was affecting the lives of their kids. But I don't see any difference in the child of a single welfare mom not having their parent home than my kids not having my wife and me home because we are out working. We, too, don't have the time we want to spend with our children. At times, my wife and I have both had to work, and I've even taken a second job to make ends meet.
When my wife worked at a grocery store people would sometimes use food stamps. To her, it seemed they were unemployed, or at least worked very little. Yet, here we were doing everything we could to make it, and seeing our tax dollars go to someone who may not even be trying to work. The work program is a good idea. All should have to work in order to receive welfare benefits.
Your article about welfare and children is missing one key issue: the idea that work requirements for welfare benefits instill work ethics among welfare families.
I worked in a state welfare-to-work program during the implementation of the current system. One of the convincing arguments for the program was that the welfare cycle needed to be broken. As work requirements were imposed, children would see parents going to work sometimes for the first time. The hope was that having kids see this behavior would help to instill a work ethic in them. It would have been interesting, and helpful in estimating the effectiveness of this program, to analyze the impact of working parents on these kids.
Elmwood Park, Ill.
As a hotel manager, I have dealt with many families on welfare. I wouldn't be able to find one example of a mother making good use of the time welfare provided for spending with her kids. But there are many incidents that made me wonder why our tax money is spent in such a way: a young mother with two 3- to 4-year-olds, still sleeping at 1 p.m. while her children had no food; another having left a 7- year-old disabled daughter for four to five hours to go out for drugs; another leaving four of her children (different ages) for the day (day after day) with only the cake that we, as a hotel, had supplied for breakfast.
Children living in such environments are going to do the same in the future. The best help for these children is to have mothers working, setting a positive example, and for these kids to be at day care where they can benefit from learning, playing, and proper nutrition.
Regarding "Scouting for street smarts" about the NYPD's recruiting efforts at Ivy League institutions (April 16, Learning): I'm a junior at New York University and a full time employee, living independent of my parents. I love the idea of giving to my community through the police force. But when the veil of nostalgia and high ideals wears thin, how will I eat if I join the force? What incentives are offered to students with over $50,000 in debts and loans? Many of us see the value of the police department, especially after Sept. 11, but we still have debtors who won't care what good we're trying to do.
The small numbers of students responding to the NYPD's call for enrollees may send an image of college-age snobbery, but we just want the lives and opportunities the capitalist system of our country offers. And after spending many years and dollars at an elite institution, we deserve them. How are we to achieve this life if we can't afford to live in the city we are asked to protect and serve?
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