Ohio has surpassed the 50 percent mark in work participation in the Ohio Works First program for the first time since 2007. This could help the state avoid $135 million in penalties from the federal government.
This is something worth celebrating because the penalties would be crippling. But there is still a long way to go.
Requiring work of cash assistance recipients is a stipulation of the nation’s overhaul of its welfare system back in 1996. State’s are required to have 50 percent of all families and 90 percent of two-parent families working or face financial penalties.
Ohio currently falls well short of the 90 percent mark for two-parent families, so it is still at risk of losing crucial dollars that are used to administer programs for needy families.
Hamilton County remains the best major metropolitan county in both categories at 58 percent for the all-family rate and 69 percent for the two-parent rate. But, we too are falling short in the two-parent category.
I pledge that we take this very seriously and will keep at it. We have made this a focus over the past year and our success has vaulted us to the forefront of large counties. But there is still much work to do.