Effective in August, those seeking welfare from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program will have to pass a drug test before applying for assistance. Bill sponsor Representative Ellen Brandon (R- Sikeston), says this is meant to be a proactive measure.
Brandon says she thinks if mothers know they will be drug tested before getting their welfare check, they’re more likely to stay away from drugs. She says even though this will probably take money away from some families, she says its important for children to grow up in drug free households.
Brandon says those who are hurt the most are the children who are born with drug addictions because their mothers did drugs while pregnant. She says this adds an unfair burden to society because those children need a lot of medical attention and are placed in public schools where they are disruptive.
She says her constituents told her they are tired of spending their hard-earned tax dollars on funding someone else’s drug habit. She says it will take some extra time and money on the part of the Department of Social Services to test all their TANF recipients, but she says its worth it to get mothers off drugs.
The Department of Social Services stated in an email they would request additional funding and post new rules for TANF recipients in August when the law goes into effect, but as of right now they can not comment on how this will affect the department or TANF recipients.