Administration wants to cut jobs of people helping welfare beneficiaries find them

Gov. Peter Shumlin made headlines in January when he proposed a five-year lifetime cap on welfare benefits. But lawmakers only recently found out that he also wants to eliminate 12 positions dedicated to helping welfare recipients find the jobs they need to get off the program.

Commissioner of Children and Families David Yacovone said Tuesday that he wants to divert $1.2 million away from job-placement services for Reach Up beneficiaries and toward substance-abuse counseling for the same population. Yacovone said that even after the cuts, his agency will retain a robust in-house employment-services division.

“But what we don’t have is enough mental health and substance abuse services,” Yacovone said. “The folks that we’re asking to go to work need mental health and substance abuse help, and we haven’t been providing that.”

The cuts would phase in over two years- six positions would be gone beginning fiscal year 2014, and the remainder would disappear the year after that.

Advocates for low-income Vermonters say the proposed changes couldn’t come at a worse time. More than 700 Vermont families later this year would face a reduction in benefits, or the elimination of them altogether, if the Democratic governor’s plan to impose a 60-month lifetime cap wins approval.

According to data provided by the Vermont State Employees Association, each position slated for elimination has a caseload of 40 to 60 welfare recipients. Christopher Curtis, a staff attorney at Vermont Legal Aid, said the state ought to be ramping up job-placement services in advance of the time limits, not paring them down.

To say that the Reach Up plan at this point is half-baked would be to suggest that the oven is even on,” said Curtis, a staunch critic of the proposed 60-month cap. “The goal of the program is to help people successfully graduate from Reach Up and get back to full and stable employment. And that’s exactly what these employees they want to eliminate are doing.”

For more on this story, check out tomorrow’s editions of The Times Argus and Rutland Herald.

8 thoughts on “Administration wants to cut jobs of people helping welfare beneficiaries find them

  1. I agree very broken it is one thing to help people that need it out but there handing them food stamps drug money free daycare and everything. i know there are a few that aren’t using or milking the system but the majority are.

  2. I hate to say it because it sounds unsympathetic, but the welfare system is so broken that I agree with the above post. Get rid of welfare and if those that were on it still need jobs, we could always start up government run farms or factories to employ them – “you want money, fine, here’s something you can to do earn it.”

  3. omg, brilliant… so we can hire more welfare people to process the many applicants and tax payers can continue the burden of supporting them…. absolutely brilliant

  4. If Reach Up is working, than can someone please tell me how many people have gone from Reach Up to actually working?  I’d be interested in seeing the numbers.  I also get that people have drug abuse and mental health needs, but why should my hard earned tax dollars go to these people who are abusing drugs?  If you want the state to support you and your family, then you need to take a drug test.  Some employers request a drug test from their employees, then I’m one of welfare recipients employers, because I support them with my tax dollars, therefore, I want them to take a drug test.  You fail the test then you lose your benefits until you can pass the test.

    • @nascar010 ANYONE who gets tax money should have to do the drug test. ANYONE. Tax credit for solar, or home improvements? Take the test. Current use tax savings..test. Social security..test.

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