What does a good public assistance program look like?
From the Appleseed point of view, basic principles would apply: Folks would have all the information they need to make good decisions, clients would have opportunities for choice and self-determination, and all people would be treated with dignity and respect.
But did you know that our education and outreach efforts also work to create positive change in the system for clients in quieter ways every day?
Our “Know Your Rights” series of brochures gives individuals information they need about a variety of topics, appeals and mediation, overpayments and collections, food stamps – and more – to make good decisions for their families. Our “Choosing Education” program trains service providers and clients about their rights to pursue educational opportunities in the Aid to Dependent Children program. Our Intake and Information Line (1-800-845-3746) provides a useful and respectful informational resource for people struggling with public benefits concerns and other legal issues.
I like to think that these programs represent Appleseed being a part of the change we would like to see in our public programs, and I’m proud of our commitment to them, in large part because our public education, legal, and policy strategies work together to build our vision of an empowering approach to helping families. Change is good.