Qualifying for governmental assistance changed with the reformation of the federal Welfare System in 1996 to allow for drug testing. Minnesota and Alabama have the easiest to understand programs that address the social and economic aspects of drug use and welfare recipients (Grovum, 2014). They approach the testing as a gateway to additional services that could potentially end the cycle of welfare for a family by encouraging treatment and eventual employability of the adults. I agree with the qualification and continuation of benefits based on drug testing with processes to maintain services to the children. Both random and 100% testing are utilized; the most effective appears to be the screening via questionnaire with drug testing follow-up of identified at-risk individuals (Lampert, 2011). As of 2016, 15 states have some level of testing compliance required to receive welfare benefits (NCSL, 2016).
Welfare takes on many forms in the United States. There are many states with drug testing proposals under consideration (NCSL, 2016). Twenty-eight states want to impose either random or mandatory testing to qualify for and continue receiving ...
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...hese states place the decision back on the applicant if they want to continue in their current behavior; deciding to not participate in intervention programs can result in the adults losing coverage, but not the children. Drug testing provides intervention to those on public assistance similar to what is available to those employed and discovered to be using drugs.
The current controversy is questioning if welfare recipients should be required to pass drug testing to obtain or continue receiving benefits. I disagree with the immediate removal of welfare benefits based on drug testing. I do agree drug testing can be a tool to change the course of behavior, the structure of the family, and the protection of the children. The impact on families and communities by drug testing leading to intervention should encourage the expansion of drug testing for welfare benefits.
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