FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 16, 2016
“For six years, Governor Brownback has declared a commitment to reducing childhood poverty, which makes it difficult to reconcile this policy decision. The so-called HOPE Act hurts the poorest families in Kansas. Even parents who have found jobs may not be earning enough to feed their families. Cutting off critical lifelines to Kansas’ most economically fragile children merely perpetuates the cycle of poverty that the Governor claims to be committed to reducing.”
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Quick Facts on the Consequences of “HOPE”:
- Only families with children qualify for cash assistance, and they are among the poorest families in Kansas.
- The number of Kansas children living in poor families continues to linger far above pre-recession levels. Since 2007, the Kansas childhood poverty rate increased 20 percent, yet kids’ access to cash assistance has dropped 68 percent in the same time frame.
- More than 900 Kansas children have lost access to cash assistance since a shortened three-year lifetime limit went into effect in January 2016. This legislation shortens that lifetime limit to just two years, meaning even fewer children will be served. April caseload data has not yet been posted from the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). These figures usually post within the first week of each month. Based on recent trends, it is likely that April caseload data will reflect that more than 1,000 Kansas children have been dropped from cash assistance since January 2016.
- In 2014 (the most recent federal data available), less than 10 percent of Kansas cash assistance cases closed because participants found employment. Many Kansans who no longer receive TANF remain below the poverty line, which is $11,770 a year for a single adult. Those who reported they were employed when they left TANF in 2014 had an average monthly income of $1,107, or $13,284 annually.