The beta version of our new website is now available. Switch to beta – you can come back to our original site at any time.


A new PATH for Michigan workers gains friends and foes

Demita Burnett admits she made some poor decisions in her young life that ultimately led her to seek welfare assistance in January. The 26-year-old Saginaw resident, a single mother of a 5-year-old son, had few job skills, no transportation and not even […]

Read Rick Haglund's article

700 families get to keep cash welfare benefits

About 700 families who can’t hold jobs because they’re caring for seriously ill or disabled family members will continue to receive welfare cash assistance, under the terms of a welfare reform bill awaiting the signature of Gov. Rick Snyder. The bill codifies […]

Read Ron French's article

Legislature poised to lock in strict time limits on cash aid to needy families

Michigan’s massive welfare reform, which removed 15,000 families from cash assistance in its first year, was never the law of the land. That may be about to change. Senate Bill 1386, which would codify the Department of Human Services’ controversial time limits […]

Read Ron French's article

Welfare changes have saved state money; fate of ex-recipients unclear

The number of Michigan families getting welfare checks from the state plummeted to the lowest level in more than 40 years just nine months after welfare reform was implemented. Twelve months in, the state is spending nearly $18 million a month less […]

Read Ron French's article

Center for Michigan, Bridge win battle for transparency on welfare records

Bridge Magazine and the Center for Michigan prevailed in a Freedom of Information Act appeal, gaining access to records related to Michigan residents removed from cash assistance as a result of the state’s massive welfare reform. In May, Bridge requested data from […]

Read Ron French's article

Welfare reform results: few jobs, few state answers, refuge in a vacant home

Welfare reform hasn’t been kind to Tamika Thomas. Eight months ago, the 33-year-old lived in a rental home in Detroit with her four children. She attended Wayne County Community College, where she was working her way toward an associate’s degree in radiological […]

Read Ron French's article

Hey Grandpa, how about a little help?

A 5-year-old child born to a mother who has exceeded 48 months on cash assistance was being reared in destitution before the state yanked $5,000 in annual welfare benefits. A 75-year-old residing in a nursing home, meanwhile, receives $80,000 in Medicaid-funded care. Not that […]

Read Peter Luke's article

Welfare reform: Back to the drawing board

What would you do if you could reform Michigan’s welfare system? That may be a question state leaders are asking today, after Michigan’s massive welfare reform was thrown out in court. Calling it an “end-run around the Legislature,” a Genesee County Circuit […]

Read Ron French's article

Welfare reforms put care-givers in a wrenching bind

Todd Stafford has an uncontrollable neurological disorder that causes him to beat himself in the head hundreds of times a day. The beatings have made him blind and caused his head to “look like Frankenstein,” he says. His wife, Tina Stafford, doesn’t […]

Read Ron French's article

More families set to lose welfare assistance

Needy families who kept their cash assistance after last fall’s massive welfare reform shouldn’t get too comfortable. Almost 500 more families per month are projected to lose cash assistance during the second year of reform, which begins in October of this year. […]

Read Ron French's article

Welfare reform leaves families without a net, and off the radar

Three months after the launch of an aggressive welfare reform, Michigan has kicked more people off the dole than expected and saved the state millions of dollars. How the approximately 15,000 families cut off from cash assistance are surviving, though, isn’t as […]

Read Ron French's article

Food stamps returning for some needy families

Thousands of Michigan families who were expected to lose food stamps will now keep the assistance or get it back next week. How many families? No one knows. Which families? No one knows that either. The Department of Human Services, which was […]

Read Ron French's article

Tracking the consequences of Michigan’s welfare experiment

More than 11,000 Michigan families were kicked off cash assistance last month in what amounted to a huge experiment in social welfare policy. No other state has removed so many families from welfare in such a short amount of time with so […]

Read Ron French's article

What will they do?

More than 11,000 families will be banned from cash assistance next month, in the biggest one-day dumping of welfare recipients in the state’s – and possibly the nation’s – history. Will those families blend into the work force? Will they lose their […]

Read Ron French's article

Rep to recipients: ‘Man up’ and feed family

State Rep. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, tried for four years to reform Michigan’s welfare system for cash assistance. On his fifth try, bolstered by the solid Republican majorities in the House and Senate and a Republican governor brought in via the 2010 elections, […]

Read Ron French's article

Too poor for a homeless shelter? Only in Michigan

In Michigan, some families may be too poor to stay at a homeless shelter. That’s the sad reality facing some Michigan families who will be facing the double-whammy of being cut off from cash assistance Oct. 1, and being kicked out of […]

Read Ron French's article

Land O Links

“I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there” — Nobel-winning physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988). * I like the idea of paying car insurance by the mile, since my commute is less than […]

Read Derek Melot's article

Invest in non-partisan journalism.

Donate to The Center for Michigan. Find out why.