A new policy is going into effect that takes away welfare benefits from families with children who miss more than 10 days of school without an excuse.
Families that apply or re-apply for cash assistance will have to prove their kids don’t have too many unexcused absences. David Akerly of the state Department of Human Services says that information is easily available from school districts. Akerly says the policy is not about saving money. It’s meant to be a strategic attack on one of the causes of poverty, “which is education, lack of it, not being in class, not finishing school.”
“It’s not clear to us what they intend to do to help the families that are having trouble getting their kids to school,” says Karen Holcomb-Merrell of the Michigan League for Human Services. She says transportation, homelessness, and other stresses on a family can contribute to truancy. David Akerly says it’s easier to connect families to help when their kids are in school.