Cuts to WorkFirst services ordered for rest of state fiscal year

Today, Gov. Chris Gregoire announced cuts of $51 million to the WorkFirst program for the rest of state fiscal year 2011 (which ends June 30, 2011). WorkFirst is our state’s “welfare to work” program, which helps low-income families become self-sufficient through training and support services. WorkFirst includes the Working Connections Child Care program, which offers child care subsidies to low-income families who are working, looking for work or in job training.

Cuts to WCCC for the rest of this fiscal year are expected to save about $16.8 million and include:
  • Reducing WCCC eligibility to 175 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (a monthly income of less than $2,670 for a family of three). This will be effective October 1, and will be phased in as families using WCCC come up for reauthorization.
  • Requiring only one parent in two-parent families to participate in work activities to reduce child care costs for an expected 1,900 WorkFirst families.
These cuts are due to increased WorkFirst caseloads and a decrease in state revenue collection. Click here to read more about WCCC and other cuts to WorkFirst.
The Governor has challenged the five state agencies involved in WorkFirst—the Department of Social and Health Services, DEL, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the Employment Security Department and the Higher Education Coordinating Board—to redesign the WorkFirst program to focus on cost-effective, sustainable, evidence-based best practices. That proposal will be delivered to the Governor this December.