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Changing Participation in Food Assistance Programs Among Low-Income Children After Welfare Reform
Jessica E. Todd (au); Constance Newman (au); Michele Ver Ploeg (au)
In 1996, the safety net for poor households with children fundamentally changed when Fed. legislation replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This study investigates participation in, and benefits received from, AFDC/TANF and food assistance programs, before and after the legislation, for children in low-income households (income below 300% of the Fed. poverty line). The results show that, between 1990 and 2004, the share of children receiving food stamp benefits declined, most notably among children in the poorest households (income below 50% of the Fed. poverty line). The share of children receiving benefits from the school meals programs and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) rose, mainly among children in low-income households with income above the Fed. poverty line. Overall, the share of children in households that received benefits from AFDC/TANF or food assistance programs grew from 35% to 52%. However, the net result of these changes is that average total inflation-adjusted household benefits from all programs examined declined. The decline was largest among children in the poorest households. Figures.
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