Don’t Make it Harder for Poor Families to Receive Benefits


Target: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder

Goal: Don’t make family welfare assistance dependent on child school attendance.

Families in dire need of welfare benefits will be disqualified from receiving them if their children miss school if a proposal working its way through the Michigan state legislature becomes law. This is a horribly misguided idea that will only hurt low-income families, not help them. Demand that this proposal be rejected.

Conservative politicians around the country continue to try to police the lives of the poorest American families. The latest attempt at this has shown up in Michigan, where lawmakers are attempting to make family welfare benefits dependent on their children’s school attendance. Michigan would be able to cut off a family’s assistance just because a child missed a couple days of school.

This is entirely misguided. It fails to recognize the ways in which poor school attendance of children from low-income families is a direct result of their economic situation, from things like lack of access to healthcare, unreliable transportation, and unstable housing circumstances. This makes the taking away of the government financial assistance required to get out of that economic situation, just because of poor school attendance, counterproductive.

Welfare assistance should never be hinged on low-income families meeting requirements that they cannot be expected to meet given their poverty. That is, unfortunately, just what this proposal would do. Sign the petition below to demand that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder veto this bill when it arrives on his desk so that it can never hurt the state’s families.


Dear Governor Snyder,

I am writing you today regarding the “Parental Responsibility Act,” a piece of legislation that will arrive on your desk in the very near future. Despite the bill’s agreeable name, it is an ineffective proposal that will do more harm than good.

The bill is designed to ostensibly help poor families by ensuring that their children go on to live fuller, more successful lives by making sure they attend school in the here-and-now. That is a great ideal, but it is far from realistic.

Children of low-income families who have poor school attendance all too often have such poor performance precisely because of their family’s economic situation. Taking away the family’s financial assistance because of a child’s poor attendance will do nothing to help the family pull themselves out of poverty and will in all likelihood make that attendance even worse because of it. This undermines the alleged goal of this bill in the first place, calling into question both its feasibility and usefulness.

If you sign this proposal into law, the negative impact it will have on the lives of countless Michigan families will be on your conscience. I demand that you veto the Parental Responsibility Act as soon as you can so that it can never jeopardize the health and welfare of the Michigan families who need the most help.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

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