years of my adult life. And for the even less initiated, workforce development (WFD) is sort of a branch of social work. As the name suggests, WFD deals in helping people who are unemployed--many of whom have found themselves unemployed because of some barrier in their lives--find employment and to attain/regain self-sufficiency.
For a year and some change, I was a job coach for people with disabilities. Las year, I left that position to return to working with TANF recipients. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, is more commonly known as "welfare." It refers specifically to monthly cash assistance given to families who meet certain income requirements. Before we continue, readers must understand that TANF has nothing to do with food stamps or medicaid.
I truly believe in the importance of my work because, presently, we are faced with a very serious problem that not many Americans think about: third and fourth generation poverty. We're talking about young adults whose parents were on welfare, their parents' parents were on welfare, and their great-grandparents were on welfare. For these families, welfare is as much a way of life as the idea of getting a job, working your ass off, and supporting your family by the sweat of your brow is a way of life for most Americans.
It would seem that those who defend welfare and welfare recipients believe that most welfare recipients are just honest, hard-working Americans who are down on their luck. But those are people who have never worked with the TANF population, and I am not one of those people.
While it's true that many of my clients have very real barriers that make it difficult for them to secure long-term employment, for most of my clients the only thing truly holding them back is themselves. Their attitudes towards work, responsibility, and how to conduct oneself in public make it nearly impossible for many of them to land a decent job, especially since most of them are unwilling to change.
Believe it or not, this is how many of my male
clients would dress if I didn't tell them how to
dress appropriately for the workplace.
Many of my clients do not even possess a basic concept of responsibility, or what it means to be a responsible adult. Just last week, two of my clients found out that they are pregnant again. Both of them already have one child each, and since they are my clients that means they can't afford to take care of the children they already have. Despite the fact that they know that they can get birth control for free at Planned Parenthood, they simply don't bother. But that's okay, because the system will help them take care of their children.
Lastly, some of them can't even conduct themselves in an adult manner when they're out in public. Many of them act like petulant children when their cash assistance is cut off due to their intransigence. Often times they will try to pull on your heart strings in order to sucker you in to giving them a break. Then when they discover that I don't give anyone a break, they become angry. That anger is quickly met with scolding from me.
Yes, I have to scold them like children--because they act like children. They don't know any better. Growing up, no one taught them a lick about treating others with respect. They were only taught that they themselves are deserving of respect regardless of how they treat others. It's no wonder that these clients of mine have never held a job for more than a year. Hell, some of them can't even hold a job for more than a few months.
So why does welfare suck? It's because of the people. Welfare itself is a good program for those who fall on hard times. But the problem is that an overwhelming majority of welfare recipients are serving a lifetime of hard times, and for whatever reason, they're totally fine with it. They live in squalor, they raise their children like animals, they can't even muster the strength to be polite for 15 consecutive minutes, and guess what: they're all totally fine with all of that.
They're a whole different breed. They simply do not care about anything, and they bring down the whole system.