Welfare is a long debated topic in American history; there has always been strong support for both sides all the way back to the framing of the constitution. But the truth is that welfare as a whole is a social toxin mostly effecting the children. The simple fact is that children suffer in many ways because the U.S welfare system has failed. It was designed mostly to help children and has ended up damaging and abusing the very children it was meant to help. The system failed because the very ideas it was founded upon are flawed. The current system is based on the assumption that higher welfare benefits and expanded welfare eligibility are good for children. According to this theory welfare should reduce poverty, and increase childrens lifetime well being and attainment. This however is not true. Higher welfare payments actually increase dependency and illegitimacy, which have a devastating effect on childrens development.

We are often told that the current American welfare system does not promote long-term dependence. This is another false statement. Of the 4.7 million families receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) all have already spent on average over six and a half years on welfare. When past and estimated future receipts of AFDC are combined the estimated average length of stay on AFDC among those families currently receiving welfare will be 13 years. Over 90 percent of families currently receiving AFDC benefits will stay on welfare for over 2 years. And more than 75 percent will spend over 5 years on AFDC.

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Welfare is what has a negative effect on children not poverty. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director June ONeil has done recent research that shows increasing the length of time a child spends on welfare may reduce the childs IQ by as much as 20 percent. Welfare dependency has a negative effect on young boys. Research shows it has a most negative effect on the future earning and employment capacity of young men. The more time a childs family spends on welfare the lower the boys earning will be when he becomes an adult, even when compared to boys in families with identical non welfare income. Young women raised in families dependent on welfare are two to three more likely to drop out of high school than are young women of similar race and socioeconomic back ground not raised on welfare. This research was conducted with all social and economic variables held constant.

Welfare also promotes illegitimacy. Research done by CBO director ONeil shows that if you increase monthly AFDC and food stamp benefit levels by 50 percent it will cause a 43 percent increase in illegitimate births with in a state. Illegitimacy has a negative effect on childrens development and on their behavior as adults. Being born out side of marriage and raised in single parent homes triples the level of behavioral and emotional problems among children. It nearly triples the level of teen sexual activity; and doubles the probability a young boy will become a threat to society, engage in criminal activity, and wind up in jail.

It is often said that raising benefit levels for welfare receipts will lower crime levels. Some how crime seems to be related to economic security in a theory that poverty causes social problems. But if this was true crime should be way lower than it is today. In the 1920s almost half if not more of the population was poor and the amount of social and criminal problems was much lower than it is today. This simple fact disproves the poverty = social problems theory. The amount of crime has dramatically risen sense these earlier times. In conclusion welfare operates as a form of social toxin. The more of this toxin received by a childs family, the less successful the child will be as an adult.