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Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): Welfare-to-Work Revisited
Gene Falk (au)
A central feature of the 1996 welfare reform law (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, PRWORA, P.L. 104-193) was its focus on requiring and promoting work and job preparation for parents (mostly single mothers) in needy families with children. That law created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, and completed a decades-long evolution in policy, from one where cash assistance was provided to families headed by single mothers to permit them to stay at home and care for their children to one of encouraging and ultimately requiring work. It is sometimes said that TANF requires adult recipients to work in exchange for their familyäó»s cash assistance, but this is not what federal law says. Many recipients work or are engaged in work-related activities; however, many are not so engaged. TANF establishes numerical work participation performance standards that apply to a stateäó»s total caseload, not individual recipients, and leaves to states the decision about how to meet those standards. It is the states that determine who is required to work or participate in activities, as well as the activities that meet an individual recipientäó»s work requirements. Contents of this report: Work Requirements and Cash Aid for Needy Families with Children; Welfare Reform and Research on Welfare, Dependency, and Work; TANF Welfare-to-Work Provisions; TANF Work-Eligible Individuals; TANFäó»s Work Requirements for Work-Eligible Individuals; The TANF Work Participation Standard: Measuring the Performance of State Welfare-to-Work Efforts; Sanctions; The 2002-2005 TANF Reauthorization Debate; Welfare-to-Work Issues for Congress; Conclusions. Figures and tables. This is a print on demand report.
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