Welfare rolls rise to 15% in city Monthly caseload of 107,389 increases 5.3% this year.

December 30, 1991|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,Evening Sun Staff

Fifteen percent of the city's population received family welfare payments during the 1991 fiscal year, according to a report issued this month by the Baltimore Department of Social Services.

The report, an overview of Shirley Marcus' last year as director of the agency, states that 38,896 families made up the average monthly caseload for Aid to Families with Dependent Children. The monthly caseload included 107,389 individuals -- 68 percent of them children.

The caseload was up 5.3 percent over the previous year, while the AFDC payments for 1991 represented a 6.5 percent increase in money spent -- from $159.7 million to $170.1 million.

"The 12-month period [from July 1990 through June 1991] has been a time of considerable activity and impact that has challenged the very essence of our organization," Marcus says in a final message to the staff.

Marcus, who left DSS to take a job with the Child Welfare League of America in Washington, listed almost 30 significant initiatives for the year, including the decreased error rates for income maintenance programs and a pilot program aimed at reducing the number of children in foster care.

But the report was perhaps most notable for the numbers that showcased the city's overwhelmingly bleak situation, as compared with the rest of the state.

For example:

* In income-maintenance programs, such as welfare, food stamps and general public assistance, the city accounts for much of the state's caseload: 52.6 percent of the AFDC caseload, 75.6 percent for general public assistance, and 40.5 percent of those households that received food stamps, but no other support.

* The city also accounts for a large percentage of services to children: 43 percent of the abuse and neglect cases; 42.9 percent of children in foster care; and 62 percent of adoptions in the state.

* In adult services, the numbers are more varied, with the city's caseload accounting for only 22.1 percent of general social services and 32.5 percent of the adult protective services caseload. However, a special program for adults with AIDS draws 85.2 percent of its caseload from the city.

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