The Minnesota Family Investment Program, commonly known as MFIP, is
The Family Cap is a law that does not allow parents who have a new baby more than 10 months after becoming eligible for and first enrolling in MFIP to receive an increase in cash assistance for their baby. The Minnesota Catholic Conference (the voice of the Bishops of Minnesota) strongly oppose the Family Cap law as it may encourage families receiving assistance from MFIP to abort babies conceived after the family’s enrollment in the program. By creating financial incentive for families receiving MFIP assistance - families living every day in situations of dire poverty - to not allow a new baby to be born, the Family Cap law is a direct threat to the inherent sanctity and dignity of human life. The Family Cap is also an economically unjust policy, as it financially punishes a child born into a poor family and threatens the security of that family, which could jeopardize that family’s ability to lift themselves out of poverty.
Some may argue that welfare programs should not pay people to continue having children and not work; however, MFIP is already designed to be a welfare to work program. Recipients of MFIP must meet certain work or work-related activity requirements or else risk sanctions. It is important to note, also, that the income of a family of three (one parent with two children) on MFIP with no other income is a modest $884 a month or $10,608 a year, an amount which includes both cash assistance and food support. At such low income levels, MFIP recipients live in poverty, and where the Family Cap is not in place, a child born into a family this size would only be allotted an additional $89 per month in cash assistance.
Senate File 154 and its
companion, House File 605 propose many reforms to MFIP, including repeal of the
Family Cap, removal of cuts to the assistance of those in public housing and
who receive disability SSI, and increased eligibility and lower family co-pays
for childcare assistance. The Minnesota
Catholic Conference supports these bills and their efforts to end the Family
Cap and make MFIP into a program that truly helps stabilize