Reddog, get a life. A lot of people don't want to be helped by the church. There is no need to nitpick my comments about some of the difficulties involved.
While I agree that often times people make poor choices, I really don't think it is appropriate to force people down the correct paths.
Hell, if we go that way we might as well live in a communist system and have our jobs decided for us as well... since some jobs will have more value for society, and why let me do what I want if it is less productive.
I do think it is important to realize that choices make a difference. However we must also realize that that circumstances influence choice.
Sometimes people make shitty choices because it is very hard to do otherwise. People aren't robots and we'll never get anywhere by expecting them to put aside all their desires or impulses. We'll never get them to ignore their circumstances completely.
By this, I mean there are things that are instinctively alluring. Belonging to a group, having respect, power and safety, for example. I'm not advocating gangs, but acknowledging that there is an underlying reason that people are drawn into certain types of lifestyles and activities. Having children, or more aptly having sex, is one of them.
I do think there are various wants and needs that people have, that can be tapped into, with respect to appropriately motivating them to want to succeed, or become part of a productive mainstream society. However, the concept of instant gratification is perhaps not compatible.
Obviously everybody wants a nice place to live, plenty of cash, a nice car and so on. However, there are less tangible needs that might be addressed. Perhaps appropriate pride, self-reliance and accomplishment in an environment that doesn't trivialize them would be useful.
For example, it's great to have pride, but it won't do much compared to living in fear of your life due to local gangs. Survival, perhaps joining the gang, trumps the pride of making the right choices.
To me, that suggests it might be easiest to focus on education and personal development if external issues can be removed from the scene. Possibly removing people to a safer or more hospitable climate would allow a greater success rate.
Anyway, to close up for now, I think government handouts should be treated like a loan. Sure, one with a low probabiliy of being repaid, but a loan nonetheless. Perhaps an intensive program involving the loan scenario is available for those on standard assistance if they are willing to relocate to "Poor no more U" and show their seriousness through their efforts there.