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Posts by Ashley Burnside

TANF at 23: Over 2.5 Million More Families Could Be Getting Cash Assistance, Work Supports

August 20, 2019

State and federal policymakers need to do more to strengthen TANF and help these parents and their children afford the basics.

In Focus: TANF Could Be Serving 2.5 Million More Families

Research on Understudied Area: TANF Restrictions’ Harm to Adolescents

July 12, 2019

Restrictions that the federal and state governments imposed in the 1990s on the nation’s main cash assistance program for low-income mothers and their children are associated with negative behaviors in adolescent youth, especially boys, says a study we discussed in ...

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A Third of States Raise TANF Benefits in 2018-2019

October 22, 2018

January 22, 2019: We’ve updated this post to reflect Nevada’s 2018 increase of TANF benefits.

Sixteen states plus the District of Columbia raised benefits for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in fiscal year 2018 (which began July 1, 2017 in most states) or 2019. (See table.) Still, benefits are at or below 60 percent of the federal poverty line in every state, as...

Family in Front of House

TANF at 22: States Spend Just Half of Their TANF Funds in Core Welfare Reform Areas

August 23, 2018

Under the TANF block grant, states get a fixed amount of federal funding each year and must also contribute some state funding. In drafting the 1996 law, federal policymakers gave states broad flexibility in how they can spend these federal and state TANF funds on the theory that states would invest the savings from declining cash assistance caseloads into work programs and work supports, such as child care or transportation. But that isn’t what happened.

How States Spent Federal and State TANF Funds in 2016