Homeless Services are Supposed to Help.

I love Los Angeles and admire the DPSS programs and @SheilaKuehl the BOS member for my neighborhood. After 11 years of working with and around them I have a deep appreciation for them.
So imagine how horrified I am to find out that someone has been homeless for years and has been asking the system for help but not finding any relief.

I just spoke to a mother who “timed out” of the system years ago. When she went into the game program for assistance, her worker was the woman who replaced me at Maximus in Burbank. I know this worker. I trained this worker. This worker knows what to do. 

Nevertheless, this mother was never offered the opportunity to complete her high school diploma which is a major stepping stone chords finding permanent employment or earning enough money to end the poverty of her family. She was placed in a work training program which is a wonderful step but now she has to find her own permanent employment and she is greatly hindered by the lack of educational milestones. She was also not informed of the resources available to her children to pay to get them to school while she came to work. Her small subsidized paycheck has been used to pay for hotel rooms for her family and bus fare for her children. Theoretically the County of Los Angeles would be able to help her pay for the hotel room and get her into a shelter and I’d be paying for her children’s bus fare.
I know you think this may sound excessive and entitled. You are absolutely wrong. Parrots cannot go look for work if their children do not have a safe place to be. If they don’t have a safe home we can spend time in or childcare or somebody will watch them or a school where they can be supervised and learning, a mother or father is that tied to their children. You may have noticed an employer’s do not enjoy it when your bring your family to work with you. Addressing the child care issue and transportation for children is a major step and finding employment and ending poverty for their family. It is one of the reasons I really appreciate the DPSS program.
So this mother is staying in a hotel and connect it to the local shelter which is connected to DPSS and overseen by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. My suggestion is that she contact Sheila kuehl and ask for additional assistance and review of her case.

Just talking to this Mom, I could feel how helpless she was feeling and he’ll frustrated she was. I could see how the term and she’s been and also track all the positive step she’s been making to improve her life and the lives of her children. This mother is doing everything right and somehow everything is going wrong for her. I take it personally, because if I were still a gain worker, this would not be her situation. I hope.

The Vocational Assessment 

The primary goal of GAIN is to be a true Welfare to Work plan. before a client finds work, it is helpful for them to have an idea of their strengths and interests.

Enter the Vocational Assessment.

Today I went to the Valley Assessment Center at Los Angeles Valley Community College and took an assessment .  Guys, my head hurts.

Parking was a challenge so I parked on the street. 

Then I went to Bungalow 14 where I was warmly greeted by Paz and walked to the testing center. 

The Desks in the LAVC assessment center
For the next 2.5 hours I studied patterns, lost my place on the scantron bubble form, did applied math, realized I don’t know how to add negative numbers anymore and tried reading comprehension . 

Now I am waiting for Rosie to score it and tell me my aptitude for my chosen career goals and set up ideas based on the perceived Welfare Time Cock.block.

Hmmmmm, what do we think it will show? I am kinda nervous. 

I Blog to Cope in Social Work

Today sucked.
It is 12:26am  and I am writing this on my Verizon Samsung phone. I did middle of the night grocery shopping, cleaned my kitchen and still have the events from work poking me in the eye.


All else has failed, so I will write. It turns out that writing is pretty therapeutic (something psychiatrist have been saying for years, blah blah whatever). I started this blog officially to explain my passion and job to my parents and people I grew up with from the affluent town of Arcadia. Unofficially, I totally started it to impress a man I was dating who worked at Microsoft and friends with noted blogger Robert Scoble.

This has been a great place to toss resources for my own reference, mention events in the news, explain complex processes of government assistance and vent. Tonight it has been a measuring stick for me.

When I started as a social worker I was so excited and bright eyed. Not for the work I would be doing, but because having the work meant I had completed my college degree and the work would take me out of Welfare. That’s right, I was a Welfare mom who went to school on the DL because Welfare programs did not allow education – only work or community service.

I started at a Senior Center in Monrovia as a glorified receptionist who also did the MIS & database for matching care providers with low income seniors. While there I met a homeless man who was unable to connect with food, shelter or a way out if our parking lot. It occurred to me that Monrovia, Arcadia, and Temple City all were without food stamp or Welfare Check dispensaries. That’s right, in the dark ages before EAT cards benefits were handed through bullet proof glass and half the time you had no idea if your case was currently active until the moment of truth when the teller would either hand you a packet of coupons and a check or shake their head at you – causing an entire day trip to sit in the DPSS office completing forms and bad attitudes.

I did my research and found LAMP. For two hours before my first interview with Mollie the founder, I sat on the roof of my car and talked to the residents on Crocker Street. Skid Row, I discovered is more than a section of the city – or place where more people fill the streets than cars. Skid row is a smell, a stench of urine and police equestrian feces and people who had little to no access to showers. It was many things, but scary wasn’t one of them.

Working at a shelter and apartment for recently homeless adults was a trip. I had nothing to compare it to. Here is where I discovered how easily influenced I was by manipulations of addicted minds who worked differently than mine. I’m a gullible sucker. Also, I discovered how much I love people. For the first time, I dug in with people and met their problems and private fears. This happened just as my own daughter was developing her own perspective on the world. I was parenting at home and, to some extent, at work.

Non-profit organizations are hopefully run differently than this one was. “Non-profit” referred to the employees. We got calls asking who could live on $40 until the next pay period because they had not made payroll and sometimes were told we couldn’t use our insurance because premiums were not paid.I was spending 15 extra hours a week teaching residents of the shelter how to blog and MSN/Microsoft and employees had kindly given computer parts and books to assist me. . . . See, dating that Mocrosoftie wasn’t just good for me: it benefitted others. I’m a giver like that :smirk:.

For the last eight years I’ve been a contractor for the Los Angeles GAIN program: the same program that tried to prevent my college completion. So much has changed in that time.

I completed college, my oldest child turns 21 years old next month, bought a house and am raising a tiny tyrant – I mean 4-year-old. I don’t work for the paycheck anymore (in part because I realized social work never has much of a financial return), and I have the technical skills to solve hardware issues and the soft skills to connect meaningfully with clients.

So, today sucked. Today was the day of Opiates Addicted Pregnant People (can I see that on a Hallmark calendar? ) and PET team calls, paperwork, reports and audits. Today was the day a full grown woman collapsed into my arms sobbing about her death wish – I dealt with it – with compassion and humor and professionalism.

Okay. Going to sleep now I feel better.

What It’s Like To Work in A Welfare to Work Office

It is a Wednesday morning in beautiful Burbank California. The sun is shining warmly from beyond the mansion dusted foothills and clouds are gently moving across a baby blue sky. I am in a tiny red Scion and turning into the parking lot while doing my best to casually clip the No Parking sign the local restaurant has placed at the entrance to the lot. I like to start my day of service and good will to mankind with a little angry deviance.

I work in a large orange rectangle also housing the East Valley In Home Supportive Services Department. Every Tuesday and Thursday they all come in to work and parking garage changes from a “simple stop, lock, and leave your car” into a game of Tetras played by bad drivers who are happy to block your car in or, in my case, just hit your car so hard that the bumper falls off. (For the record, my employer, the county, and the owner of the lot all shrugged shoulders and said it wasn’t their responsibility to help me replace it.) The building is nestled in behind a restaurant, and flanked by a local Armenian Cathedral and convenience store. The buildings back door faces the street and has many large signs instructing visitors to walk around the building, but no one can understand the words until after they have yanked on the door and pounded in the glass for a few minutes.

The main entrance has a metal detector and a security guard. If you have a badge from the County, you never need to be screened and can bypass the long line with a nod to the security guard. Before leaving the lobby, it is wise to approach the bullet proof glass partitioning the receptionist from the waiting area to ask if anyone is here for you. If you don’t ask, and you are running late to work, there is a greater than normal  chance you have a client waiting in hard plastic chairs.I like to turn to the room of people waiting and greet them – it causes people to relax and be nicer to their workers once they are called through the heavy door leading to the long hallways. From here it is a Choose Your Own Adventure featuring more locks than the Panama Canal which can only be opened my a security tag carried with your badge. If you’re running late, take the stairs. You can have your leg in a cast and crawl up the stairs faster than the elevator … I’ve seen it done.

The office space is a sterile landscape of cube farms. Small children occasionally burst into tears because looks like a doctors office from a dystopian nightmare. The social workers here are mostly young women, clad in black, scuttling from one cube to the next while drinking coffee or whispering with clients across government issue desk modules. Don’t stand still if you get motion sickness or fear earthquakes- the flimsy floor shakes when toddlers scamper and many small earthquakes have gone unnoticed by the staff because it felt like someone walking by. Of course, I sit as far from the door as possible. This means I’m as far from the kitchen and restrooms as can be imagined and I’ve learned to never miss a chance to see the loo when possible. However, my cube has windows and an awkward layout that prevents people from disturbing me. I live for these windows. I also enjoy the occasional balloons that break the monotony. Birthdays are fiercely celebrated and decorated for with gusto.


7.5 hours of the workday are spent with my best friend – the computer. Programs and data bases like LEADERS, GEARS, PhASE store participant information and program rules. We would all look better if there was a Spell Check feature on any program where I have to leave notations. Microsoft Excel is mandatory for my sanity.   I can see the 180 color coded names of clients and each of those names is also on a file in a locked cabinet. Every cabinet and drawer has a lock and when not in use, it is locked. You will never see the name or any identifying information about a client posted in my space because confidentiality is as much a feature of the office as the slow elevator. What you will find are boxes of toys, markers, and books tucked under the desks.

The big room quickly fills with sounds and smells. Coffee perfumes the room at the start of the business day and again at 4 pm.  Outlook emails  chimes every time a client checks in with reception. The same introductory speech is delivered 8 times a day to new clients and the raised forces of crying babies, laughing children, chattering people, and frustrated parents quickly drive me to plugging headphones in my ears when I’m alone. They are not plugged into anything, but wearing them helps me focus on my thoughts and tune out the cacophony.

Welfare to Work is what Welfare Reform looks like in practice. We call it the GAIN program in L.A. County.

It is awesome. The focus is employment… a job, a better job and a career for people on public cash aid. However, being a parent and needing employment comes with hurdles of paying for child care, affording transportation, and knowing how to land a job that will permanently  lift you from poverty. GAIN addresses all of those and more. I make appointments for clients who need mental health, domestic violence, and substance use counseling and I tell people how to become students. When they find employment (on their own or through our job search activities) I help them fund a work wardrobe. As I work through files, I pile them on the corner of my desk to take for drop off with my supervisor who will return the forms the next day having approved or denied my request to fund the needs of my clients – who are called participants.

This job is one long test – of patience, of creative thinking, of character and sadly of spelling. Everything is on a clock. I have 24 hours to take action on every call, email, snail mail or visitor to the office. Deadlines for reviews are constant and at any time 15% of my work is with an auditor for quality control. It feels like I’m always being tested. Fortunately I’m a great student. There are days when my key breaks in the file cabinet, my fingers become plastered with bandages from deep paper cuts inflicted by case folders, and the County Information Line (211) gives out my office number to suicidal strangers just as three families walk into the office without appointments. Those days are frustrating. My coworkers are the best part of being here. We share stories of our families, gossip about pop-culture and work as a team without emailed questions and answers when facing a difficult situation. Good Case Management is a team sport.

Occasionally the days are heartbreaking.  This week I met with a mother who was ashamed to ask for food stamps and her baby was stillborn from malnutrition. Social pressure and the stigma of food stamps made it hard for her to ask for the help that meant the difference between life and death. I wish the people posting angry Facebook Memes about parents on Welfare could see the end result of their hate. Food stamp fraud is rare. This is the second baby in 8 years that I know was not born alive because the mother was ashamed to ask for help in time. If you are really anti abortion, you should be pro-food-stamps.

Some days I have to push the black button under my desk and summon the security guard. Yesterday I was close to pushing it when a woman rushed into my cube and demanded I speak with her. She refused to leave and sit with her worker and remained yelling in the hallway because… frankly I don’t care. The best way to keep me from helping you is for you to become aggressive or argumentative with my coworkers. I trained many of them so I trust they have given you correct answers. Following directions and resolving problems without being a brat is an important life skill for adults. I won’t inhibit your personal growth by stepping in to interfere with your case management until something is seriously inaccurate with what you’re being told. I will interrupt your meeting to ask of I can hold your crying baby…babies and children love me:it’s a thing and we don’t fight it. Yesterday I help a starving toddler whose mom was proclaiming she did not want to be a parent any more – yesterday was heartbreaking and I spent half an hour walking up and down the hallway singing to a hungry and sobbing child until she fell asleep.

On ideal days ; people come to their appointments and bring all the dead trees I have asked of them. They bring paychecks and we celebrate their employment and plot their next goal and how to get there. Parents come in with children who are fed and clean and fun to have nearby and we adults do “old people stuff”. I feel useful. My boss and I talk over the partition between our cubicles and we laugh and also debate policy. On great days – people leave me and we break up and they move on to a life outside of county assistance, or a life with a case manager who does not have to do  triage on their lives.

toilet paperwork
No job is finished until the paperwork is done.

On average days : Several times a day I email and speak on the phone with local homeless shelters to find space and discuss policy and answer their questions about the program. Twice a day I walk to the 7-Eleven for caffeine – sometimes the owner will let me sing instead of pay. Mostly I need to walk out of the building and see the sky. It feels like a prison after a few hours of whispered desperation filling the air. My two breaks are filled with FaceBook updates and texting to my friends for sanity checks – all done from my personal phone.

By 5pm most of the staff and clients to are gone. My car is easy to find in the lot and I am physically and mentally exhausted -just in time to get a 4 year old from day care!

People are Problems and I am the Pep Squad

I went from Information Management to Social Worker to I.T. Director back to Social Worker. Yesterday was my official 7 year anniversary in my job in the Welfare system as a GAIN worker .

What do I really do?

I solve people.


( and then I fill out a gang of forms that have nothing to do with what I did )

Sometimes clients don’t make it out of the lobby. They don’t want help and I don’t have time for them until they do.

Some people unzip their souls and spill out all over my desk, self hatred and hopelessness oozing like ectoplasm containing microbeads of hope.
        These are often the reason I know the Burbank Police Sargent so well.

Others come in to break up with me. (these are my favorites) they are working or engaged in something that will take them off of public assistance.

Most often, my first meeting is with someone who is terrified by the right angles, ugly color scheme and sterile environment over illuminated by the worst florescent lights in existence.
My typical client is a single mother who has been in a long term game of dodge ball with family, friends, and strangers hurling insults and preconcieved ideas at her. She is emotionally bruise from the hits.
I wander down to the lobby with coffee in hand, and Instead of calling her from the doorway I walk into the room and ask for her. I meet her at her lobby chair and shake her hand. If she has her child and parenting paraphernalia I offer to help her carry the burden.
We talk in the elevator about my daughter and her kid (s) and I selfishly stop in front of the photocopier and ask if there is anything (paystub, schedule, fan letter to Justin Bieber) she wants me to copy before we walk the Green Mile to my desk.
I have a secret box of toys under my desk where only the rowdy crawlers will find them after escaping their mom. I have bubbles by my keyboard and washable markers for desk drawing. My client faces the window and my computer screen is turned so she can see everything I do. I have no secrets. I tell her that she has all the power and is in charge … essentially I blow her mind.
And then I destroy her.
I tell her all of my shallow judgements because she needs to know that she is articulate, eloquent,  poised, good with her child, has nice handwriting, can problem solve etc. These statements vary by the individual and are always accurate. I won’t lie to anyone, but she will suspect me of deception because no one else has told her these things since before she was poor. She has stopped believing them.
I do this because I have hired staff before and I would not hire someone mired in self doubt. Also, we are currently being told to not tell girls they are smart because then they won’t work out problems. .. This is some crappy science and it doesn’t work. The noise of parenting and poverty drowned out the inner voice of self confidence.

Being faced with huge problems like how to put your baby to bed in a box behind a store and stay safe all night can make anyone feel stupid.

As I set this person on the Los Angeles County prescribed program of self sufficiency I do what Sherry Hays and Joleen Swenson did for me in highschool. I cheer them on with a smile and genuine optimism . I am a pep squad of one.
When I drop her off in the lobby again there is a handshake or a high five and then I want to take a nap but I do it all again for 9th hours a day,

Private Vocational Training vs. Public

Community Colleges and Occupational Centers don’t advertise.
They don’t have to. In High School all of the counselors talk to the students about college options and many kids go directly to community college. Others don’t get into the 4 year they want and then do the time and basic transfer units at a community college. Others, finding that state hospitals and other adult programs were cut in the early 1990’s – have found Community Colleges as a great place to spend the day with enrichment classes or exploring their passions.

Private Vocational “Colleges” have some of my favorite commercials ever. They are inspirational and even make me want to go. *Disclaimer, I started calling the numbers on my television in an attempt to get a vocational certificate when I was 12. Hey, I had the free time and wanted to start ahead of the game. My mother quickly ruined that dream and pushed me into traditional education Well, she was a school teacher and all.

“Hey you, get up off that couch! What are you waiting for? Start living today and be able to go to nice lunches with your friends in shiny red cars and support your family of 5 and for the first time ever make your parents proud of you!”

Um, okay.

No. Not okay.

For many (not all) of the educational programs offered, you can find the same trainings at a public school. The cost is far less and sometimes free. Sometimes it even costs less to go to a private 4 year school and apply for the financial aid and grants and scholarships. (I love you University of La Verne ! )

If you are a low income parent, you may qualify for the Board of Governors Grant and then qualify for with a CARE or GAIN or EOPS program to help you with fees and supplies and transportation and child care costs.

However, if you dropped out of high school – physically or mentally – you may have missed this message form your guidance staff and community colleges don’t advertise. All you will see are adverts from the diploma mills or businesses that need you to come in and sign up for Federal Financial Aid so they can have the money and run their business. They may not be education centered, first and foremost.

Do what is best for you. Do it fully informed.

This week I listened to a presentation from a private school about tuition costs and he handed out this flyer. I fixed it for you.

We Need To Get a Few Details Straight on Welfare

What is with the hate? I am not sure that you and I are thinking of the same things when I talk about Welfare. I read all kinds of stupid and angry posts about Welfare Queens, and Lazy Dogs who don’t know their fathers applying  and qualifying for welfare (No joke, my own Grandmother FaceBook Liked one of these this morning).

So here are some numbers from the  US Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Commerce, CATO Institute in September 2013.

70% of families on Welfare leave the system BEFORE the 5 year lime limit.  BEFORE. Either they are dying or finding employment. Seeing as I have only had one client die in the almost 7 years I have worked in welfare: I am going out on a limb and claiming these moms and dads found work. I speculate they found these jobs because of a little program called Welfare To Work = aka GAIN.

GAIN is where we talk about how to find meaningful employment that will offer a paycheck large enough to lift an entire family out of poverty. GAIN is where we sent moms and dads to training to jump the skills gap and land the much-needed jobs. GAIN is where we hold their hands and teach parents how to find reliable child care and how to speak in a job interview and how to compact their stress ( Specialized Supportive Services) into manageable bundles so they can take on and keep employment.  The best way out of Welfare is through the Welfare to Work Program.

Please note that there are many white people on Welfare. This is not a program for minorities. It is a program for low-income moms and dads.

Welfare does not remove the incentive to find employment – are you kidding me? I have signs everywhere in my office to remind folks that my entire job is to have them find good paying employment that will get me out of their lives or at least off their backs.

Welfare Statistics  
Total number of Americans on welfare 12,800,000
Total number of Americans on food stamps 46,700,000
Total number of Americans on unemployment insurance 5,600,000
Percent of the US population on welfare 4.1 %
Total government spending on welfare annually (not including food stamps or unemployment) $131.9 billion
Welfare Demographics  
Percent of recipients who are white 38.8 %
Percent of recipients who are black 39.8 %
Percent of recipients who are Hispanic 15.7 %
Percent of recipients who are Asian 2.4 %
Percent of recipients who are Other 3.3 %
Welfare Statistics
Total amount of money you can make monthly and still receive Welfare (ummm – what’s this, Sonya asks because family size comes in to play) $1000
Total Number of U.S. States where Welfare pays more than an $8 per hour job 39
Number of U.S. States where Welfare pays more than a $12 per hour job 6
Number of U.S. States where Welfare pays more than the average salary of a U.S. Teacher 8
Average Time on AFCD (Aid to Families with Dependent Children)
Time on AFDC Percent of Recipients
Less than 7 months 19%
7 to 12 months 15.2%
1 to 2 years 19.3%
2 to 5 years 26.9%
Over 5 years 19.6%

Wicked Witch of the Welfare Office

 ImageUsually I feel pretty good about my job. Today I am disenchanted. I had an imaginary conversation with myself.

I am the evil witch lurking…ahem…working in the welfare office.

My Inner Angry Republican pitches a fit about 50 times a day. And with good reason too.  But my out Professional Social Worker tries to seek better solutions and keep it all in check.

Money for nothing?! Not really – you have to work (or prepare for work) to be granted cash aid
But if the parents don’t work the family still gets money True – but we choose to believe the parents are not spending any cash aid on themselves and only on their children
You are on crack, right? At least tell me you are screening the welfare peeps for drugs. No. We don’t test the parents – but we do ask them 7 questions to screen them for substance use and abuse
Then you take their money away, right? Of course not. We schedule them for a Clinical Assessment and chose to believe they are not buying beer, weed, crack, coke, schrooms, uppers, downers, etc . We need to believe these drugs are DONATED to them.
Why do you believe that? Because a habit is expensive, if they could afford a strong heavy habit – they don’t need Welfare funds and we would have to cut them off
What’s bad about that? Because we know they are not magically “finding” the money and we sleep better knowing the money has at least made it into a parent’s hands and there is a chance that it is being spent on the family
Do you require receipts for how the cash aid money was spent No
Why not? Too much trouble
Don’t you believe that if people were accountable for how the money was spent, they would spend it on toothbrushes and rent etc and not on cat food, veterinary bills, drugs, strip clubs and gambling Did I tell you about the time I did ask for receipts and the person bought job interview clothes at Caesar’s Palace Shops?
Why did you ask for receipts that time? Well, because GAIN  – or Welfare to Work gives money for job clothing, school books etc.
Oh, so there is some accountability. How does that work out? One time a lady bought 7 pairs of shoes as her work clothing.
What, was she a stripper? Many of my clients are strippers or in elicit but legal trades. I give them credit for making the effort.
So you encourage this activity? I encourage work of any kind. They need to do 32-35 hours of work type activity a week.
Why only 35? I do at least 40 hours of work and 20 hours of volunteering and have up to 4 kids in my house. I don’t know. At 32 hours an employer is supposed to be offering benefits like health care so families can leave Medi-Cal Insurance.
What if they don’t want to work or train, etc? Then they can say they have mental health or substance abuse or domestic violence issues or are homeless and the requirement for these hours can be waived temporarily or permanently.
Are you serious? Of course, It is the compassionate thing to do. If someone is so stressed or overwhelmed that they really cannot function in society; I don’t want to set them up for failure
So you take their children away, right? Why would we? We take a licensed professionals word – or sometimes the client tells us – that this person cannot work or go to school or do community service. What does that have to do with parenting?
Well, a 40 hour a week job is easier than 24/7 parenting. Never the less. We trust that these parents are doing what is best for the children.
Does Welfare really look out for the WELFARE of kids. Kinda,. Sorta. We make food funds and cash aid and medical funding available to the family and trust they are being accessed on behalf and for the benefit of the kids.
That’s it? Also, we ask that once a year a report card or immunization card is turned in. See, we care.
But there is a time limit on this, right? Bill Clinton put a time limit. Yes, the Federal Time Limit is 5 years or 60 months of Cash aid per family
Whey. At least that is clear and simple But some people stay on Cash Aid from the 7th month of pregnancy until their child is 18 years old.
WTF? Or until the baby graduated from High School. 
How can you stay on Welfare for over 18 years Easy. Say you were in a domestic violence relationship. Or that you are too emotionally disturbed to hold down a job or really benefit from the program. How can we push you out of the nest?
OMG Oh, my goodness indeed. See me? I am saving the world over here.
Do you really feel like that? Of course.
You’re sick. No. no fever, I feel fine. Thanks for the concern.
How are you really helping them? I am not. I make sure they have the resources to help themselves. Poverty sucks. People will move on  at their own pace. All I can do is offer options.
Like what? I will pay for child care so they can work, or I pay for books, fees and supplies for vocational training or college.
Vocational Training? Sure – you know, so people can be hair dressers and such
Very few hair dressers live far above the poverty line and there are no medical, dental, vision or life benefits with that position usually Well, then I hope each of them is the next Vidal Sassoon or Jose’ etc. I realy can’t be bothered to make sure it will make them rich or middle class. I just want to say I have “X number of clients participating” and then hope they can keep their heads above water off Welfare.
Seriously? Seriously.
Why didn‘t I hear that you pay tuition? Are they required to use their cash aid for tuition? No. The tuition at a public Community College will be waived and Federal or other financial aid will cover it at other types of schools.
When I went to school, I paid Tuition Well, you should have had a child an not been able to afford it.
Speaking of that… when new children come into the family – what happens? Usually the Medi-Cal and Food stamps increase but not the cash aid. After all – birth control is free on Medi-Cal.
Did you say “usually”? Well yes,. Some children are exempt from the Maximum Family Grant.
Meaning they qualify for raising the family cash aid amount Sure, if they show proof they were on long term birth control like a shot or IUD – or they can say they were raped and then we take their word and cover the baby as well.
OMG I know. Aren’t we nice? And – we have thousands of families leaving welfare each year.
How many of them leave before their time limits are up?How many stay on despite the time limits

How many are forced off or “timed out”?

I don’t know. But aren’t I nice?





The hard part of being a social worker #fb

Image The hard part of being a social worker is not being able to be the Solution Provider.

You are homeless, and I don’t have a home to put you in.

You’re in mental strife, but all the county approved therapists are booked. Please don’t kill yourself before I can find you a professional to talk to. I can call the PET (Psychiatric Emergency Team) and have them come meet us in my office. It is 10:00 am, we can expect them to come about 4:30pm

You are telling me you want to kill your daughter in law, that you have a plan and you don’t know when, but it is going to go down. But, you won’t tell this to the PET team, you won’t write it down, I can’t do anything with this information, and we don’t offer anger management classes, and did I mention that all the county approved therapists are booked? – also, I am not feeling too good about being confined in a small space with you right now. Please don’t notice as I slide the scissors and other objects into my desk drawer and fondle the panic button.

I can see that your tooth is broken, and I smell the rot from lack of dental care. But I don’t know anywhere that provides free or low cost dental care in this area.

Alas, what exactly do I do all day? What do I produce? What is my benefit to society?

I feel impotent. That smoke is the smell of me burning out.  

Somedays, I Wish I Was a Drinker. #fb

Just read the e-mail and give me help.

 Im sorry i took so long but we actually met about a month ago.
I was the one girl who was gonna be taken off the GAIN program due
to my child passing away not to long. My name is xxxxxxx?!
 I hope you do remember. I was placed to tears and remember you being so nice and understanding. I do hope everything is going well with the pregnancy.  I wish you all the joy and happiness. 
  Anyways I was replying as you had said to email you on what is taking place. 
So far the services from the state have ended for me and unfortunately the place I was staying at is forcing me to move. The bad part is that my husband and I were focusing on school and havent got jobs. My previous job was available to me but is only maybe 3-5 hours a week
and deals with kids. They told me to take my time until i have healed from the loss of my own.
  But even so, that job wouldnt be able to provide for a new apartment. So we are praying that
the Lord give us some job or help as  we seem to be headed towards being homeless.
   I also have really bad health at present. My kidneys and such are failing on me due in part to my inability to eat at times as we do not have enough all the time.
   I dont know if there is anything you can do. I dont want to just dump this on you. But perhaps you know things that could help. I went to the MediCal place for low income housing but they rejected me. I was going to try and go again. They had said that they couldnt help unless i was already moved out. It was a big mess.
   Im sorry again for putting my life on you
May God bless and enrich you though, for all you do for not only me but for others.


Okay people, I am open to suggestions. How do I help her?

I am telling her to apply for GR (General Relief)  and take in an eviction notice – obviously she and her husband need to work – but finding jobs is super scarce right now.  With the loss of her child, I don’t know if she has MediCal to cove r  price of therapy so I am giving her information about the Los Angeles County Dept of Mental Health. I am going to find out where her skill sets are, invite her to a job fair, point her to employment agencies – and hope. Lots of Hope.