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Posts by Liz Schott

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

Only Half of TANF Funds Going to Core Welfare Reform Activities

October 20, 2015

States spend only half of their funds under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant on core welfare reform activities, our updated analysis (with...

Many States Spent Less Than Half of Federal and State TANF Funds on Core Welfare Reform Services in 2014

TANF at 19: Past Due for Improvement

August 20, 2015

Despite the rhetoric about the success of the 1996 welfare law that created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, the facts show otherwise, as we detail in our updated chart book

TANF serves few poor families with children and hasn’t provided an effective safety net that...

Family Income Support - family outside

State Assistance for Poor Childless Adults Shrinking

July 13, 2015

State General Assistance programs, which provide a safety net of last resort for the very poor who don’t qualify for other public assistance, have weakened considerably in recent decades and are continuing to do so, our updated paper explains.  The number of states with General...

State General Assistance Programs in 2015