Shows Growth in Welfare Dependency in Every Maine Town


Families in Your Community are Trapped in Dependence

Maine’s welfare system undermines hard work and traps parents and children in poverty.  We must fix the system to free families from dependency through accountability and hard work.

Click no further than to understand the extent of Maine’s welfare dependency crisis.  The skyrocketing level of dependence on Maine’s welfare system is a growing crisis-in almost every city and town in the state. is a new site launched by The Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC) to show just how many Maine families are trapped in a welfare system that promotes dependency rather than self-sufficiency.  At both county and town levels, users can see the number of people and percent of population enrolled in Maine’s major welfare system programs-Food Stamps, Medicaid, and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) cash assistance.  The site also features charting functions that offer town-to-town comparisons of the growth in welfare system dependence since 2003.

MHPC launched two weeks after the release of its 33-page report on the issue, titled Fix the System: Freeing Maine Families from Welfare Dependency, which is also available on the new site.

“There has been a lot of discussion on the issue of reforming Maine’s welfare system, but there was very little research and data available to inform those discussions and policy debates,” said Steve Bowen, director of MHPC’s Center for Education Excellence and lead researcher for MHPC’s Fix the System initiative.  “With our report, and the launching of, we hope the public and policy makers will have a better understanding of Maine’s dependency crisis, and what we can do to lift families out of poverty and move them from welfare to work.”

The data on the site comes directly from government sources including the United States Census and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.  The site also includes symptoms of Maine’s dependency crisis, proven solutions to fix Maine’s welfare system, and a petition Maine people can sign in support of welfare reform that fixes the system to one that actually lifts families out of poverty while preserving the safety net for Maine’s truly needy.

“Maine’s dependency crisis is closer to home than people think,” said Chris Cinquemani, MHPC’s director of communications.  “412 of Maine’s 488 towns reporting have seen an increase in the number of people enrolled in Maine’s welfare system since 2003.  Instead of lifting people out of poverty and moving them toward self-sufficiency and work, Maine’s welfare system is designed to trap families in dependency.  The system is broken.  Unless we fix the system, in three years more Mainers will be on welfare than will have a job in the private sector.”

Visit,” Cinquemani concluded.  “See how close to home Maine’s dependency crisis really is, and sign the petition in support of reform.  We must fix Maine’s broken welfare system.  Maine families have been trapped in dependency for too long.”