Head of Pa. welfare department joins in calling for name change

    The head of the state agency that administers food stamps, Medicaid, and home heating assistance in Pennsylvania is calling for a name change.

    A measure to give the Department of Public Welfare a face-lift and make it the Department of Human Services is awaiting a vote from a Senate committee.

    Supporters have said for years the change would show sensitivity to benefit recipients.

    And DPW Secretary Bev Mackereth on Monday said she’s on board.

    “I think that a name change, every other state did it, and now I know why. It has such, when you talk about welfare, it is such a negative for people,” Mackereth said during a budget hearing before state legislators.

    Last year, Mackereth raised concerns about costs. Now, she said, the change could be phased in with minimal expense.

    A scheduled Senate committee vote on the measure was scuttled last month, ostensibly to work on proposed amendments to the plan.

    But the panel’s chairman says those amendments have been jettisoned.

    The name-change plan passed the House last summer.

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