In his May Revise of the California budget, the governor is proposing to completely eliminate CalWORKs, California’s welfare-to-work program. Among other things, this program pays for childcare services to families under a certain income level while the parents go to work or are in re-training. No matter what the parents’ situation, at least the children are getting quality care and something of a chance in the beginning of their lives.
I am not an advocate of welfare. I am not an advocate of huge social programs and handouts. I am not in favor of giving people incentives to not work and live off the public dole.
However, here is one outcome that will happen, with certainty, in the event that CalWORKs is eliminated:
Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of young single mothers, teens through their twenties, with one or more children, will have no place to go and no way to support themselves and their children. They will live in cars, and they will turn to prostitution since their bodies are the only thing they have left to sell.
No matter what my political bent is or what my ideology may be, I, for one, do not want to live in a society that drives the most abused and vulnerable of its members into prostitution, while the lights shine on Rodeo Drive, while we pay eight dollars for a beer at a sidewalk cafe and eleven dollars for a movie. A society shows its values by how it treats its children. A child of a teenage prostitute does not have a chance in life. He or she will need a slot in the state prison system (see my post on that) sooner or later at $49,000 a year.