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PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE REPUBLICAN POLICY COMMITTEE TASK FORCE ON WELFARE REFORM COMPLETES PUBLIC HEARINGS ON PROPOSALS TO REFORM WELFARE SYSTEM

PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE REPUBLICAN POLICY COMMITTEE TASK FORCE ON WELFARE REFORM COMPLETES PUBLIC HEARINGS ON PROPOSALS TO REFORM WELFARE SYSTEM
 HARRISBURG, Pa., April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania House Republican Policy Committee Task Force on Welfare Reform today completed the second day of public hearings on proposals to reform Pennsylvania's welfare system and examine reform efforts in other states.
 "Both the ideas and the opportunities exist for Pennsylvania to make significant improvements to revolutionize its welfare system. In fact, according to the testimony we heard yesterday, the public climate is more than ripe for reform. Just take a quick look around the country. The main message Washington is prepared to give states the green light for positive initiatives and meaningful reform," said state Rep. Robert Flick (R-Chester), task force chairman.
 "A wealth of ideas exist for meaningful reform. The public is ready to support these efforts and has delivered a mandate to public policy makers. Unfortunately, however, the Casey administration and House Democrats have failed to seize this opportunity and have ignored the people's call for reform. That is why we have initiated this hearing process," he said.
 John R. Fitzpatrick of the Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers testified on the need to coordinate educational and welfare programs in schools and to get parents more involved in their children's education.
 "Parents can't pass on the discipline or work ethic needed to live in today's society to their children unless it's first developed in the parents," Fitzpatrick said.
 David B. Roth, executive director of Cleveland Works, Inc., a non- profit organization focused on getting people off welfare rolls and onto payrolls, said: "The House Republican welfare reform proposal -- Dependence to Dignity: Freedom from Welfare -- is consistent in most areas with what Cleveland Works has found works."
 Roth told the panel there are 200,000 people on welfare in Cleveland, considered the second hardest city in America to get a job, Detroit being first. He explained Cleveland Works receives public funding based on performance, noting 85 to 90 percent of the people hired through Cleveland Works never go back on welfare.
 He said a minimum of 500 hours of training is required and focuses on teaching recipients the skills needed to return to gainful employment and take control of their own lives so they are enabled to escape from poverty and break the cycle of dependency.
 Martha Davis of the National Organization for Women (NOW) Legal Defense Fund, said the only effective way to combat poverty is to increase job opportunities, improve services, improve transitional benefits, enhance child support enforcement and increase income supports to a livable level.
 Jonathan Stein of Community Legal Services presented more than 20 welfare reform proposals which he said foster self-support and independence and would save the state between $10 million and $200 million.
 He said said his group has found most people on welfare want to work, as shown by the number of recipients being trained or re-trained under the Department of Public Welfare's TN (Transitionally Needy) program.
 Michael Campbell, an attorney with the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, and Thelma Grady, who spoke on behalf of the Erie Tenant Council, an organization that represents tenants in 2100 public housing units in Erie, suggested the panel consider a plan for extending medical assistance coverage for up to a year for former general assistance recipients who have lost their assistance because of increased income.
 /delval/
 -0- 4/15/92
 /CONTACT: Pennsylvania House Rep. Robert J. Flick, 717-787-8579/ CO: Pennsylvania House of Representatives ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


CC -- PH050 -- 8995 04/15/92 18:07 EDT
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