States Rethink Rules that Cap Welfare to Children

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts is in position to become the latest U.S. state to repeal rules that deny additional welfare payments to children born to families already receiving benefits.

Driven by rising welfare costs and the unproven notion that women on welfare were conceiving children for the purpose of increasing their monthly benefits, more than 20 U.S. states enacted policies in the 1990s.

Critics say the rules —often called family caps — are harmful and punitive. Seven other states have repealed their laws, including California in 2016.

Budget language in both the House and Senate would repeal the Massachusetts law, though the two versions must still be reconciled.

Advocacy groups pushing for change say they hear frequently from mothers unable to afford diapers or other essentials for new babies because of the policy.

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