Research shows that children in economically stable households experience better educational, behavioral and health outcomes, but minimum-wage jobs don’t provide adequate resources to meet even the barest of budgets. So work support programs like SNAP, School Meal, WIC, Medicaid, Child Care Assistance, and Energy Assistance were created by federal and state lawmakers to help families fill the gap and are designed to encourage workforce participation.
Historically, Minnesota has exceeded the minimum federal standards set for these programs in an effort to improve economic stability and childhood outcomes. However, these programs come under scrutiny in nearly every legislative session. Also, these programs are administered separately and often don’t work together to provide a smooth pathway to self-sufficiency.
At CDF-MN, we support strengthening these programs in the following ways:
- Simplifying and aligning eligibility criteria across programs to make it easier for eligible families to enroll
- Enacting the options allowed under federal requirements to expand eligibility and benefits levels
- Supporting outreach and application assistance to improve program awareness and enrollment