Mensch Introduces Bill to Remove Stigma of “Welfare”

Harrisburg – Senator Bob Mensch (R-24) recently introduced legislation, supported by a large coalition of human service agencies and providers, to rename the Department of Public Welfare to the Department of Human Services.

“The current name is both misleading and stigmatizing. Taking care of our neighbors with physical or intellectual disabilities is not welfare, it’s a societal responsibility,” said Mensch. “Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that still refers to their department that delivers human services as the Department of Public Welfare. The Department should have a name that reflects the work that it does.”

Senate Bill 850 would change the name of the Department of Public Welfare to the Department of Human Services and provide for a transition period. The bill has thirty members of the Senate as co-sponsors.

“The Department administers far more than “public assistance” which to most people means cash assistance and food stamps,” said Mensch. “Whether it be a child with a developmental delay helped by early intervention services, an older Pennsylvanian in a nursing home protected by health and safety regulations and inspections, or a young adult who receives rehabilitation for a traumatic brain injury, all of these individuals are served by a state agency that does not have a name to reflect those services.”

Contact: Sarah Stroman
(215) 368-3117