More than 90 organizations, many of them distinguished by their long-term commitment to helping the poor and disadvantaged, have agreed on a statement of principles on welfare reform that is an appropriate guideline for the forthcoming debate both in the White House and in Congress.
The principles are based on facts that demonstrate the urgency of reform:
--About 13 million children, one in every five, were living in families with incomes below the poverty line in 1985, and there almost certainly are more now.
--Most people on welfare want work, but entry-level wages and the national minimum wage are too low to support a family.
This led the coalition on reform to emphasize work as never before.
"Welfare reform initiatives must begin with an investment in people and an expansion of job opportunities," they affirmed. "Programs available to welfare recipients should offer a menu of job counseling, training, education and literacy assistance, job creation, job placement and supportive services designed to match needs of the individuals targeted for service."