Tell Congress to End Child Poverty – Support the RISE and WORK Acts

The Global Women’s Strike, Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike and the Every Mother is a Working Mother Network and more than two dozen grass roots organizations are petitioning congress to implement a welfare policy which prioritizes the elimination of child poverty and enables mothers and other caregivers to choose to raise their children full-time up to the age of three without having to take another job. The petition urges the Congress to pass and implement the Rise Out of Poverty Act (RISE Act) introduced by Rep. Gwen Moore, and to reintroduce and pass the Women’s Option to Raise Kids Act introduced by Pete Stark D-CA who is no longer in Congress.

By signing the petition you shows your support for ending child poverty and creating a welfare policy that reflects the value of caregiving work. The primary goal of the RISE Act is to reduce child poverty by raising benefits to meet families’ basic needs. In the bill there is support for young mothers to live independently. Family members who are caring fulltime for disabled children would be eligible for benefits. The child removal rate would be lowered by requiring states to provide income and services for families at risk of having a child removed and create exemptions from bureaucratic limits and requirements that keep women in harms way. It would increase funding for Native American (tribal) programs.

The WORK (Women’s Option to Raise Kids) Act facilitates mothers providing the care and nurturing so important in the early years of a child’s life. The WORK Act acknowledges raising children is important work and it would count towards Workfare requirements to receive benefits.

In 1996 when Welfare Reform (TANF) was introduced mothers were required to do unpaid work to ‘earn’ their benefits (Workfare) highlighting the gap between wealthy mothers who can choose to raise their children full-time and mothers on Workfare who must leave their children, even without childcare, or lose their benefits. The effects have been disastrous. In Wisconsin, the first to introduce Welfare Reform, infant mortality increased by 11%, and by 37% in Milwaukee’s African American community. Because workfare bypasses the minimum wage it drives down all wages, especially women’s. This makes women vulnerable not only to poverty but to battering and economic dependence. When mothers’ caregiving work is devalued, the children being cared for are devalued. Only 36% of welfare money now goes to support families; the rest goes to state bureaucracy, and to remove children from their low-income mothers.

As you consider what you can do to make the society more just, and to end classism, please take the time to read, sign and share this petition urging the US Congress to pass and implement the RISE Act and to reintroduce the WORK Act.

Click here for the petition.

Return printed petitions to: PO Box 11795, Phila., PA 19101 ●

For info: 215-848-1120, or 323-276-9833,

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