LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan parents whose children don't attend school could lose welfare cash benefits under a new policy set to take effect on Monday.
The Michigan Department of Human Services will require children ages 6-15 to attend school full time to keep their family eligible for cash benefits, The Detroit News reported (http://bit.ly/PUCgrs ). A student is considered truant in Michigan when he or she has 10 or more unexcused absences per school year.
If a child doesn't attend school, the entire family could become ineligible. Current policy requires attendance for children ages 16-17 and doesn't cut aid if a student is truant.
"The intent is, this is cash assistance for people with kids and you need to be responsible," DHS spokesman David Akerly said. "It's a carrot and stick."
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who earlier this year called for a crackdown on truancy at schools, pushed for the policy change, which takes effect two days before Michigan's fall Count Day, when attendance is used to determine most of a school district's per-pupil funding from the state.
The policy is expected to affect most of the state's 59,000 welfare cash-assistance cases and its roughly 162,000 recipients.
For the 2011-12 school year, more than 93,000 cases of truancy were reported in Michigan schools, up nearly 10,000 from the previous year.
Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/