Originally created 01/29/97

Seeks compassion for welfare moms 012997 - The Augusta Chronicle

This is in response to the Jan. 13 article, "Social Service cuts benefits," which spoke of Linda Sisco losing her benefits. When my eyes first fell upon the photo of Ms. Sisco and her three kids and I read they were homeless in a shelter I took a pessimistic view, thinking "surely, she could take better care of herself and her kids." But then I read the article.

You see, I too am a welfare recipient (in Aiken County). My benefits have not been terminated yet, but it is a constant worry that they could be. I too have been placed in a job program; however, child care is not guaranteed because apparently the child care funding is extremely limited, which means that the majority of the time they are not even accepting applications. ...

My experience has been similar to Ms. Sisco's in that I was told job contacts should be 30 every two weeks - and, as I said, child care is definitely not a guarantee and does not apply to job searching. To top it all off, it's very difficult to get the South Carolina Department of Social Services to believe that we have nobody to keep our children. Obviously, if Ms. Sisco had anybody there to help her she would not be in a homeless shelter!

Unfortunately, most women on welfare have been victims of abuse as children. Sometimes it was sexual, sometimes physical, and sometimes mental. These events in turn, led to patterns of self-destructive, self-defeating behaviors. Most recipients are poorly educated and have felt (victimized) all their lives. I don't know anybody who likes being on the system, but without support it is very hard to make a change.

I urge you to open your hearts. Stop being so cynical, so quick to dismiss people. Trade in the self-righteousness for love and compassion. If society truly wants to end welfare, then it begins with understanding. We need help. ...

Marguerite Stoeppler, North Augusta


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