Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Social Services

Today I received an interesting e-mail from a friend who had been sent the following perspective regarding social services:

Like a lot of folks in this state, I have a job. I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government?distributes my taxes as they see fit.

In order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test, and I have no problem with that.

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.

Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone sit on their ass all day doing drugs, while I pay for it.

Could you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a public assistance check?

My friend asked for my thoughts about this. Here is my response:

I think that a larger consideration may be hidden in the question, that is: whether or not social services should be used as a reward to performance that society deems appropriate. In the message [above] that example is: if you don't drink alcohol or use drugs, then you earn social assistance.

Many who work in social services believe that some of the reasons people need assistance in the first place are the problems/challenges/addictions/etc. present in their lives, and that it is illogical to ask of them that they first have their problems resolved before they qualify to receive assistance. In short, this belief is that assistance should be given first so that change may occur, rather than expecting change first and then rewarding with assistance. An example would be when sobering services require persons to be sober before they qualify to enter the program.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I think you’re right about the drug testing, though I wonder about the reasons behind assistance (why we give it and what it is for) and whether that affects this issue. Why can’t we require people to be drug free to receive free assistance (viewing welfare as assistance for financial reasons rather than assistance with additions/problems) when doing drugs is an illegal activity? Again, I think you’re right that we realistically couldn’t require it for other reasons, but there seems to me to be something to the idea that society has a right to see that their assistance money goes to good use rather than drugs.

Eric Carr said...

Ah, the conundrum of social programs in Capitalist states...when does support become enabling or demotivating, and therefore potentially harmful to society, and when do people get to have a say in the way their money is spent?

But drug testing for social services seems a lot like the proposition we had here in Arizona where people thought we would save a save a bunch of money by requiring government-issued IDs for social services (to hypothetically make it harder for "illegal aliens" to get access to social services) - it turned out that it cost so much money to check all those ID's every time someone used one of the social services, it would have been cheaper to just do it the old way. Te money-saving plan turned out to be more expensive than the status quo.

But beside the impracticality and cost involved (not to mention the costs in training, materials, transporting the samples, the new databases and filing systems required for records, the cost of setting up special ballots and dates for voting on such an issue etc.), this also reminds me a lot of those shelters that require people to sit through a sermon and pray before eating their "free" meal.

I-inspire said...

I too believe it is a great idea to drug test those that are receiving any fourm of public assistance.

My suggestion whould be to do a test study with those that utilize the services you provide at the AOC. As the current director, your idea would be embraced by the business community and would be the first step in cleaning up our streets.

A grant could be sucured inorder to do a analysis on this very subject.

Anonymous said...

how aobut cleaning up central with all its drunk college kids. test them before they're allowed to use public transportation, paid for by my tax dollars??

Anonymous said...

Socil Services? Enough already! If you don't work you don't eat. No frekin hand outs. We don't need social workers, we need MARSHALL LAW!

Andy and Becky Kelso said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becky Kelso said...

The cost of drug testing is the limiting factor in what I think would be a great idea for welfare services. At the same time separate drug rehab services would have to be available for those who need it.

Problem solved, right. But what about the children of those individuals who fail the drug test. What to do with them?

Anonymous said...

Looks like folks need spelling coaches, not social workers. "Socil Services"? "No frekin hand outs"?!