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Should you have to take a drug test to get TANF?

 
 
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 09:01 am
Quote:
Under the law, which takes effect on July 1, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services will be required to conduct the drug tests on adults applying to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The aid recipients would be responsible for the cost of the screening, which they would recoup in their assistance if they qualify. Those who fail the required drug testing may designate another individual to receive the benefits on behalf of their children.

Shortly after the bill was signed, five Democrats from the state's congressional delegation issued a joint statement attacking the legislation, one calling it "downright unconstitutional."

"Governor Scott's new drug testing law is not only an affront to families in need and detrimental to our nation's ongoing economic recovery, it is downright unconstitutional," said Rep. Alcee Hastings. "If Governor Scott wants to drug test recipients of TANF benefits, where does he draw the line? Are families receiving Medicaid, state emergency relief, or educational grants and loans next?"

Rep. Corrine Brown said the tests "represent an extreme and illegal invasion of personal privacy."


http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/06/01/florida.welfare.drug.testing/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Many of the people I know have to take drug tests to keep their jobs and I don't think that's an extreme and illegal invasion of personal privacy so my gut reaction is that it's probably okay to require a drug test.

But I hate to see kids punished for what their parents do and I'm not so sure that letting someone else claim the money for the kids is going to solve anything because the person might keep the money or just hand it over to the parent to spend as they wish.

As usual, I'm fence sitting but I'm hoping that hearing arguments for and against this idea will convince me one way or the other.

Related: Do you think that women on TANF should be required to use birth control?

What do you think?
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Type: Question • Score: 23 • Views: 14,839 • Replies: 308

 
raprap
 
  7  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 09:39 am
@boomerang,
The 'War on Drugs' has been a colossal and expensive failure http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43248071/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/.

Incarceration and punishment hasn't worked, won't work and has only made the situation worse--it has trampled over individuals, both guilty and innocent, and is an affront to the rights guaranteed to all US citizens.

As soon as the so called religious right wing of the GOP recognizes that morality cannot be legislated, particularly with 'victimless' crimes, this unenforceable unconstitutional attack on individual liberty will cease.

Rap
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 09:47 am
@boomerang,
Quote:
Those who fail the required drug testing may designate another individual to receive the benefits on behalf of their children.


Quote:
But I hate to see kids punished for what their parents do and I'm not so sure that letting someone else claim the money for the kids is going to solve anything because the person might keep the money or just hand it over to the parent to spend as they wish.


Yes, I think that a drug test is justified. I would hate to think that taxpayers are paying out their hard earned money, so another person can use it to get high.

I think that the government needs to be careful to whom they give the money, if the parents are irresponsible. There is always the chance that the designated individuals would misuse the funds, but it is a matter of the better of two possible solutions. If the parents are addicts, you KNOW that the kids will have the benefit of little of the money.
CalamityJane
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 10:13 am
@boomerang,
Yes definitely! That TANF money could go towards a drug habit, and I don't
think this is fair to either tax payers or others who are in desperate need
of assistance.
As for birth control, that's a different subject altogether, but I would not
make it mandatory for TANF recipients to take birth control, however, I would make it available at no cost. Ultimately it is still the choice of a woman to either have children or not, and how many - same goes for abortion: it is the woman's choice. I don't think government should interfere here, regardless of receiving welfare or not.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 10:15 am
My strong bias is no for similar reasons to Rap Rap, but my practical self knows - or thinks I know as I don't no how that money is allocated - that the money can be badly misused. So then I veer towards yes. Stuck in the middle again, considering.
I wonder if there is a third answer, such as no drug tests but monitoring the family, but that's invasive too, and expensive on the face of it besides.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  4  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 10:35 am
@Phoenix32890,
Phoenix32890 wrote:
If the parents are addicts, you KNOW that the kids will have the benefit of little of the money.


I was just reading something about how expensive it is to be poor.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-things-nobody-tells-you-about-being-poor

A train of thought was started by the "addict" thing. Some people are undoubtedly addicts. But there are other people who might not be addicts in any real sense, just people without the best possible judgment who did inhale at the party last Friday.

When I worked with people who were on various types of social services and were trying to get a job and become responsible, it was a long process, lasting at least months and sometimes years. They didn't instantly learn everything they needed to know -- there were often damaging habits and a lack of responsibility. Lots of reasons, from inadequate education to bad family environments, much more.

A lot of the progress was two steps forward, one step back. Then another three steps forward -- I saw so many people genuinely turn their lives around in lasting ways, but it usually wasn't a quick or easy process.

I'd hate to think of these people being tested at some point on the way and losing their kids' benefits. That would have seriously derailed many of my clients' progress. (And a significant percentage of them didn't have anyone else they could designate to receive benefits on their kids' behalf. The kids' dads often were the ones with serious drug issues.)

So of course that brings up the question, if they knew they'd lose benefits if they did inhale (or whatever), would they not do it in the first place? I just don't think so.
0 Replies
 
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 10:41 am
@CalamityJane,
Quote:
As for birth control, that's a different subject altogether, but I would not
make it mandatory for TANF recipients

Couldn't agree more. Even just reading the question made me a little queasy....but I don't think it's been suggested.

On the drug testing, dunno. Hate to see kids deprived of basics because of a parent's drug habit. If that's discovered, though, they'd probably be better off in a safer environment.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  5  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 10:50 am
@boomerang,
They did a test program and found that those using drugs was a very very small fractions of the people applying for this aid in Florida.

To me this is just a way to made some drugs testing firm who had given campaign contributions wealthy at the tax payer expense.

More GOP nonsense to aid the well connected.
JPB
 
  4  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 10:54 am
Lots of info here

So, now, in Florida, an applicant has to have a spare $50 (or more?) to pay for a drug test and then hope to pass it as part of the application process? I guess that's one way to reduce the number of people applying for aid.


Quote:
Drug testing is expensive.

The average cost of a drug test is about $42 per person tested,[8] not including the costs of hiring personnel to administer the tests, to ensure confidentiality of results and to run confirmatory tests to guard against false positives resulting from passive drug exposure, cross-identification with legal, prescription drugs such as codeine and legal substances such as poppy seeds.
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 10:55 am
@BillRM,
Agreed. Someone is making a bunch of money off of this testing.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 10:58 am
@JPB,
I thought of that too, but forgot about false positives..
0 Replies
 
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 11:05 am
@raprap,
raprap wrote:
As soon as the so called religious right wing of the GOP recognizes that morality cannot be legislated, particularly with 'victimless' crimes, this unenforceable unconstitutional attack on individual liberty will cease.

I think it's going to take a lot more than just that. The WH drug czar is in the news today pushing back hard on that 'drug war has failed' report. He thinks legalizing it will actually make it "harder to keep our communities healthy and safe".

Gotta convince him first.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  4  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 11:20 am
I can't believe that nobody is discussing the fact that this 'plan' is going to make Gov. Scott millions and millions of dollars, personally.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/gov-rick-scott-solantic-and-conflict-of-interest-whats-the-deal/1161158

The guy is nothing but a ******* criminal, it's amazing that FL was stupid enough to elect him.

Cycloptichorn
Rockhead
 
  2  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 11:23 am
@Cycloptichorn,
that's really ugly...
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 11:30 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Well, I knew this had to be based on lining somebody's wallet. Now we know who. What a joke on the people of FL.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 12:11 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Unbelievable!! They should impeach him! Retirees of Florida, get going!!
manored
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 12:25 pm
I think that if you cant be trusted with money, you cant be trusted with children either. The "have someone else receive the money in your name" doesnt make sense.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 12:26 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
That really is disgusting.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 12:34 pm
@boomerang,
The whole mode of thinking is wrong. You feed kids by feeding kids, not by allowing kids the vicarious thrill of watching the adults in their hoods ODing on taxpayer-funded drugs and hoping that will inspire the kids to grow or kill food for themselves...

0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jun, 2011 12:40 pm
@CalamityJane,
CalamityJane wrote:

Unbelievable!! They should impeach him! Retirees of Florida, get going!!


There is no impeachment of Governors in FL, to the best of my knowledge.

The guy truly is a scumbag, the more I find out about him, the more repulsive he gets.

Cycloptichorn
 

 
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