published Saturday, January 26th, 2013, updated Jan. 26th, 2013 at 5:27 p.m.

Campfield: Tie welfare to academic progress

KNOXVILLE — Knoxville Republican Rep. Stacey Campfield is proposing legislation that would make welfare benefits dependent on children making “satisfactory academic progress” with their education.

Campfield told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the proposal is about “breaking the cycle of poverty” and it should motivate parents to take a more active role in their children’s education.

However, Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth Director Linda O’Neal said the proposal could make things more difficult for struggling families. She said the agency hasn’t taken an official position on the bill, but it raises several concerns.

The current law says parents can lose up to 20 percent of welfare benefits if a child does not attend school.

Campfield’s proposal adds the progress requirement and would increase the penalty to 30 percent.

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