As of Oct. 1st the State of Michigan is enacting a new policy for those who receive cash welfare benefits. Their children must attend school or they will lose their benefits.
On Monday The Michigan Department of Human Services will require children ages 6-15 to attend school full time or the entire family will become ineligible for cash benefits. When a student has 10 or more unexcused absences during a school year it is considered truancy. In order for a family to regain eligibility the child must attend school at least 21 consecutive days. This would effect more that 59,000 open welfare cash assistance cases, and 162,665 recipients. The average household eligible for cash assistance in the state receives $463 a month.
This policy was created with the urging of Michigan governor Rick Snyder who called for a crack down on truancy earlier this year and the crime attributed to it. During the 2011-2012 schools years 93,408 cases of truancy were reported state wide. 10,000 more than the 2010 school year which had 83,491 reported cases of truancy.
This new law goes into effect two days before Michigan's fall Count Day, when attendance is used to determine 90% of a school district's per-pupil funding from the state. So this tells us that reducing crime isn't the Governor's only motivation. But, if this policy manages to help the state get funding for education, urge parents to make sure their children attend school, and reduces crime, it seems like it will be very beneficial to those involved. No one should have to force adults to make responsible decisions when it comes to raising children. But the reality is, their are some who are just content with getting by, caught in a cycle of survival, passing this dubious legacy to their children. Money is probably the best motivator in this case. Sad but true.