In a report by Anne Stevenson, Huffington Post notes that the top five federal HHS programs endanger women and children:
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 and the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) program it created transformed welfare policy by drastically reducing and shifting federal assistance away from the homes of mothers and children and into the homes of violent offenders. In an article entitled "How Federal Welfare Funding Drives Judicial Discretion in Child-Custody Determinations and Domestic Relations Matters" fathers and rights activists Lary Holland and Jason Bottomsly explain that this policy has backfired because the incentives are structured so that the state will only benefit if children are removed from loving homes:
"In essence, the federal guidelines wanted the states to function as collection agencies, recovering financial support from parents who had willfully abandoned their parental responsibilities to their children. The result, however, was different from the intent and has caused the state welfare programs to adjust their environment to have a greater need, which has caused the program to collect from willing parents that would ordinarily provide a loving environment for their children absent a court order limiting a parent's involvement. Despite the original intent of the IV-D welfare program, it now provides an incentive for the states to use their family courts to produce forcibly absent parents in order to increase the states' IV-D welfare caseload."
The bureaucratese is hard to fathom, but the outcome--removal of children from loving homes--is exactly what we have been watching in Rhode Island Family Court over these years.
For more on those five programs, see the article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-stevenson/top-5-hhs-programs-endang_b_1511613.html
We need the Rhode Island General Assembly to get some clarity with an objective audit of the role of federal funds in removing children from loving homes, taking them into state custody, and even awarding sole custody to the abusive parent.