Words matter. Names matter. Stigma lasts.
These should be reasons enough for Pennsylvania to change the name of our Department of Public Welfare (DPW).
If providing “welfare” to “welfare” recipients is what the department actually did, then the name might make sense. But the fact is that 95 percent of what the DPW does and who it serves are human(s) in need of service(s).
We join together as former governors of our great commonwealth in asking the Legislature to change the name of the Department of Public Welfare to the Department of Human Services.
We support the legislative efforts of Rep. Tom Murt and Sens. Bob Mensch and Jay Costa that would make this change at no cost to taxpayers.
Pennsylvanians who are served by the department are our mothers and grandmothers in need of long-term nursing care. They are our neighbors struggling with mental illness, children with physical disabilities and family members with a terrible drug addiction. And sadly, they are the mothers next door, needing the protection and help of a shelter.
These are not welfare recipients. Again, they are humans in need of services.
We hope you will join us and urge your legislators to change the name to the Department of Human Services.
George Leader, Dick Thornburgh, Tom Ridge, Mark Schweiker & Ed Rendell
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