For Robert Forman, "Greater Philadelphia Works" means he, too, will have more work to do in the coming months. But Forman, who heads the Penn Health System's Addiction Services division, is not involved with the Philadelphia Industry Council, the nonprofit group that will train welfare recipients under the Philadelphia Works program unveiled Monday in anticipation of March 1999. That is the deadline for when 38,000 Philadelphia "heads of household" -- primarily single mothers -- will be required to have jobs in order to continue receiving welfare benefits. Forman's fear is that the work and mandatory job training that the council will offer mothers receiving welfare will interfere with what he has to offer them: drug rehabilitation. "If they go to [job training] classes from nine to four, and then they get here [for rehab] at five and stay until eight, who's going to watch the kids all that time?" Forman asked. He said "Philadelphia Works" will have profound implications for his office and for health systems city-wide. But he stressed that the issue of drug addiction has "not yet been resolved" in the current proposal. City officials were not immediately available for comment on the issue. Forman explained that the council plans to incorporate mandatory rehabilitation into its preliminary evaluations of welfare recipients. But the agency has not yet revealed how it will find a way for effective rehabilitation and job training to work in tandem, nor how it will handle the likely "influx" of drug-addicted women, as many as 20,000 of whom currently live in Philadelphia. Although the Penn Health System boasts one of the largest rehabilitation units in the city, Forman said the outpatient center treats only "125 to 130" addicts -- and that the city's current infrastructure is not likely to be able to handle many more. "[The city] does recognize that there's an issue," Forman said. He said he expects the mayor's office to issue a request for outside proposals to amend the current plan -- a request he said "the University of Pennsylvania will be responding to."Comments powered by Disqus
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