DSS: SC welfare-to-work program exceeded goal

By SEANNA ADCOXAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The director of South Carolina's social services agency says more people are getting jobs and coming off welfare rolls.

Department of Social Services Director Lillian Koller said Tuesday that nearly 12,300 people stopped receiving welfare payments between September 2011 and June through its welfare-to-work program. That's more than double the number during those months a year earlier.

Koller says the more important figure is the 21,000 children whose parents are now working and can break the cycle of poverty.

In South Carolina, welfare pays a mom with two children just $223 a month.

Koller says about half of those taken off welfare are working at least 30 hours weekly. The jobs average paying $9 an hour.

Koller says the key was focusing on what clients could do, not their barriers.