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Posts by Liz Schott

TANF at 23: Black Children Have a Better Chance to Thrive When States Act to Improve TANF

August 22, 2019

We can all agree that Black children should have the same opportunity to thrive as their white peers. However, choices that some states have made in their TANF programs can limit Black children’s access to the same opportunity.

In Focus: TANF's Reach and Benefit Levels Remain Low in Many States

TANF at 23: States Spend Only a Quarter of TANF Funds to Help Families Meet Basic Needs

August 21, 2019

State and federal policymakers should act to ensure that TANF funds better target assistance to needy families.

9 States Spent Less Than 10 Percent of Federal and State TANF Funds on Basic Assistance in 2017

Rigid “Universal Engagement” TANF Bills Would Hurt Vulnerable Families

April 1, 2019

Companion bills from House and Senate Republicans to reauthorize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, which is set to expire June 30, would make it harder for states to tailor appropriate plans to meet the needs of the most vulnerable families...

Worker Using Saw

TANF at 22: Its Work Programs Do Little to Help Needy Parents Get Work

August 23, 2018

Some policymakers have pointed to TANF’s performance as a work program as a reason to extend TANF-like work requirements to other programs, but the facts suggest otherwise. TANF has never lived up to its promise of moving families out of poverty through work.

Saw and Hearing Protection

Arizona’s Proposed TANF Time Limit Extension Excludes Those Most Likely to Need It

March 7, 2017

Governor Doug Ducey’s proposal to extend Arizona’s 12-month limit on cash aid through Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) — which is by far the nation’s shortest — by another year for families “playing by the rules” sounds good initially, but the details suggest that it wouldn’t help those who most need it.

This extension would...

Mother and Child Coloring

TANF at 20, Part 3: States Not Investing in Core Welfare Reform Areas

August 17, 2016

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant on August 22, this blog series will outline key facts about the program. 

States spend only about half of their state and federal TANF funds in the core welfare reform areas of basic assistance, work-...


Welfare Reform 20 Years Later: Many Poor Families Without Work or Safety Net

May 5, 2016

As the New York Times’ 20-year retrospective on welfare reform shows, states haven’t used their flexibility under the 1996 welfare law (which created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families...

Many States Spent a Significant Share of Federal and State TANF Funds in "Other Areas" in 2014

President’s Budget Would Bolster TANF

February 11, 2016

President Obama included in his budget an important initiative to strengthen the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, as my colleague LaDonna Pavetti noted earlier this week.  Here’s a closer look.   

The initiative:

  • Increases resources for TANF. 
  • ...
Mother With Two Children

Obama Proposal Would Help Families Avoid Downward Spiral

January 19, 2016

The President’s 2017 budget will include $2 billion for Emergency Aid and Service Connection Grants to states to test new ways to help families that are on the brink of financial crisis or have already hit bottom and are extremely poor.  It...

Man With His Hands Together