A Review Of Tanf Assistance Programs

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A Review of the TANF Cash Assistance Programs Roughly 20% of the United States’ children are living in families suffering from poverty (National Center for Education Statistics, 2015). According to Yeung, Linver and Brooks-Gunn (2002); Pungello et al., (2010); and Evans (2004), economic hardships increase the likelihood of “maladaptive” behaviors while decreasing school performance and poor cognitive-behavioral development. (1861-1879; 410-426; 77-92). To prevent this, lawmakers were spurred into creating public policy to actively reduce the rate of childhood poverty along with associated risk factors as well as foster economic independency in families apart from the welfare system. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Act, TANF, was created out of a block grant from PRWORA. TANF replaced two programs: the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training program—JOBS—and the Aid to Families with Dependent Children—AFDC—program that provided assistance to mothers and children. Then president, Bill Clinton remarked that the creation of this act would “[end] welfare as we know it” (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2015). AFDC had been criticized for providing assistance to non-working mothers and incentives for children out of marriage. As such, program’s design was tailored to fill the needs of poor families through cash assistance so that they would be able to obtain “economic self-sufficiency” (Abt, 2001). The program has four additional declared purposes: 1. to

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