Tuesday, December 20, 2011

California Targets Children for Parent's Debt.

While the wealth of the richest Californians is left untouched, for years, under governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and now Jerry Brown, the state of California has targeted children to pay the debt of their parents. Many of the debts were brought on by clerical error or fraud and therefore were especially no fault of the children.

Moreover, billions have been cut from social services like CalWORKS, with the expectation that the weakest and most vulnerable sections of the population will pay off huge debts.

California welfare regulations for years have allowed, and even required, counties to go after minors for the debts of their parents, state officials told the Associated Press.

Attorneys for a Hartley and a Fresno man who filed suit Nov. 23 to try to stop the practice say they believe thousands of young people throughout the state are being unfairly required to repay millions of dollars in welfare money that mistakenly or fraudulently was obtained by caregivers or guardians.

Officials at the California Department of Social Services, which administers the welfare program called CalWORKS, said they do not track the number of children required to make such payments. The state's 58 counties recouped $61.5 million for the fiscal year ending June 30. The counties reported $133 million in overpayments for the same time period.

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