Friday, October 16, 2015
MAKE TANF WORK FOR BABIES
State TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) programs too often fall far short of their potential. Barriers to access, underfunded services, and work requirements that do not take the needs of infants into account hold parents back and make it harder for them to lift themselves and their babies out of poverty. For example, in 11 states, parents of infants under the age of one are subject to work requirements and could lose their entire family’s cash assistance benefit the first time they fail to meet work requirements. A new paper, grounded in the research about infant development and detailed data about TANF families and state policy options, provides a framework for state leaders for redesigning TANF. These ideas include:
• removing barriers that prevent pregnant women and parents of babies from accessing cash assistance;
• redesigning work requirements to reflect the needs of infants and the realities of today’s low-wage labor market;
• ensuring access to quality child care; and
• building linkages to other programs and services, such as early childhood home visiting, health care, and nutritional supports.
Source: Center for Law and Social Policy, 10/6/15, TANF Redesign