The Huffington Post reported that Nadya “Octomom” Suleman confirmed that she is back on government assistance. TMZ reported that the mother of 14 will be getting $1,800 a month for food, $1,000 for emergency cash, as well as Medi-Cal benefits to help with mental heath and dental issues.
Minnesota residents can apply for welfare assistance with the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP). MFIP is the state’s primary program for helping low-income families with children move out of poverty through work. A family of three, with two children and one adult receives $532 in cash and $473 in Food Support according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services report: Welfare in Minnesota: Facts and figures.
Are children affected by their parent's recieving welfare? There are numerous ways that receiving
welfare may affect children’s development.
According to New Findings on Welfare and Children's Development: Summary of a Research Briefing (Phillips & Brigdman, 1997), the answer is yes. Children whose families received welfare were found to have more negative outcomes than other children and were associated with having worse reading, math, and behavior problem scores for white children and with worse reading scores for black children. Children on welfare were also found to have lower cognitive attainment and more behavior problems than other children.
The cash payments provided by AFDC may allow mothers to provide better environments for their children (through better food, housing, clothing, etc.) than they could without such assistance. Alternatively, if a parent could both earn more income and provide a constructive role model to her children through employment than by receiving AFDC, welfare may deprive children of beneficial resources and experiences.
AFDC receipt may also have noneconomic effects. If the alternative to receiving AFDC is child care of substandard quality, then the additional time in maternal care that AFDC receipt permits may offer a better alternative for children. But, if welfare receipt discourages marriage or otherwise compromises family stability, then its developmental effects may be negative.