Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani

Mayor's WINS Address
Sunday, September 20, 1998

Overcoming Drug Abuse and Welfare, One Person at a Time
by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani

In New York City, we're very proud of the progress we've made - and continue to make - in enabling people to move from dependency to self-sufficiency.

New York City has led the nation in welfare reform, transforming our City from the welfare capital of the world - with more than a million people dependent on the government for their subsistence - to a city that is returning the practical, social, moral and spiritual value of work to the center of all our lives. With more than 414,000 people moving off the welfare rolls and toward self-sufficiency and the biggest welfare-to-work program in the country, New York City is now recognized around the world as a center of opportunity and independence.

And we've also worked hard to address drug abuse, the other great threat to self-sufficiency for people across the City. Last October - nearly a year ago - I announced a coordinated new set of law enforcement, treatment, and education initiatives that aim to rid drug abuse from our neighborhoods and schools. It's a work in progress, but by all indications we are making significant strides.

Why have we been able to deal successfully with both drug abuse and welfare reform? In part because we know that they are complicated and overlapping problems that need to be understood, and addressed, in relationship to one another.

That's why this week at City Hall we announced a very exciting new drug treatment and welfare-to-work partnership with Joseph Califano of the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse. Operating in New York and 10 other cities throughout the country, the CasaWorks for Families program is a pioneering, three year long, public-private initiative that will offer 1,100 mothers on welfare who are addicted to drugs or alcohol a concentrated set of resources: treatment for their addiction, literacy and job training, parenting skills, family services, and employment opportunities.

This integrated approach is based on the same ideals that are already guiding our transformation of welfare offices into job centers all across the City. When substance abusers come to a job center seeking benefits, they're enrolled in mandatory drug treatment programs - programs that instill the responsibility and self-worth of work as a fundamental and necessary part of rehabilitation. I believe that drug treatment without the discipline of work is ineffective and counterproductive.

Why? Because learning to take care of yourself is a prerequisite to being able to take care of your children and others. The CasaWorks for Families model will be successful because it is a concerted, comprehensive and sustained approach that gives people the practical tools and the psychological confidence to control their lives again - to become responsible, contributing members of society as well as strong role models for their children. In the end, that's the only way to build families, neighborhoods, communities, and cities that can strengthen and sustain themselves for generations.

Finally, I want to wish Jewish New Yorkers a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year on this Rosh Hashanah. From Gracie Mansion, this is Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

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