Will outsourcing the ASPIRE program help the moms on TANF move from welfare to job security? And what will it do for their children?

As a person with 25 years’ experience in welfare-to-work programs, I suggest we don’t know.

Is it possible that some politicians are so angry with welfare that they would be willing to spend $62 million to punish welfare recipients? As outrageous as that sounds, it is possible, given the political climate here in Maine.

We could ask a dozen or so women, we have many able here in Maine, to review the ASPIRE program performance and the performance of the prospective program from away and come to some objective conclusions about what might be best for people here, since they have no power to do so for themselves. Unfortunately, the federal reviews of such programs leave lots to be desired.

My sense is that we simply don’t have enough good jobs for everyone, and we don’t have the political will to use our resources to nurture their development.

The burden of that dilemma should not fall on the backs of poor women and children.

James Tierney, Auburn

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