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Weakened Safety Net Devastates Families

A new Huffington Post article starkly portrays TANF’s failure to provide a safety net in Georgia.  It vividly reminds us how important the safety net is to families in need – and the devastating consequences that can result when families who are desperately seeking help are turned away.

The situation in Georgia may seem extreme but, unfortunately, it’s not.  TANF provides a weaker safety net across the country, as we described in a recent paper.  In fact, our

showed that the ratio of families receiving TANF cash assistance to the number of families in poverty fell in every state between 1995 and 2010.

The Huffington Post article shows some of the terrible impacts that the safety net’s failure can have on families.  As I say in the article, “When we weaken that support, we're moving people into very desperate situations. They never know from one day to the next what life is going to bring.”

Congress will not likely reauthorize TANF this year but, as I’ve outlined before, Congress could make several changes that would improve the program in the short term and help to set the stage for next year’s deliberations — changes that would give states greater flexibility in administering TANF and increase the help they can provide to needy families.