New governor wants to roll back cash assistance rules

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December 5, 2018 - 11:41 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ new Democratic governor wants state lawmakers to roll back a work requirement and other cash assistance rules championed by a Republican predecessor as she prepares to grapple with problems in the state’s child welfare system.

Gov.-elect Laura Kelly, a veteran state senator from Topeka, suggested Tuesday during a meeting of a child welfare task force that the cash assistance rules have put additional stress on poor families. She and other child welfare advocates contend the rules have helped fuel a rise in the number of abused and neglected children in the state’s foster care system.

The rules include the work requirement for able-bodied adults and a lifetime limit on benefits of 36 months, even with a hardship, and a proposal to loosen them will be difficult to sell to the Republican-controlled Legislature. Many GOP lawmakers believe the rules promote self-sufficiency, and Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, declared Kelly’s idea “dead on arrival.”

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