DCF Defends Drug Testing of Welfare Recipients
FlaglerLive | September 17, 2012
The head of the state welfare agency is asking a court to throw out a challenge to the state law requiring drug testing of public assistance recipients, which could allow the program to restart.
Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins has filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Orlando seeking a summary judgment in favor of the agency in a case over the legality of the drug testing program. The testing is on hold following a lower court judge’s decision last year in favor of the man challenging the law, Luis Lebron. Lawmakers passed a measure requiring recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families pass a drug test. Wilkins argues in the motion for summary judgment that the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program isn’t aimed at simply providing cash for participants, but at helping them find a job.
The program by statute is aimed at ending “the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work and marriage,” Wilkins argues. Part of being ready for work would be being drug free, the agency argues. “In short, TANF’s purpose is not merely to give money to those falling below a certain economic threshold—it is to ‘help move people from welfare to work,’” the motion says. “Any amount of drug use can interfere with obtaining and maintaining employment.” –News Service of Florida