TANF is a Lifeline for Children
The TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) program ensures that despite the economic hardships their parents face, our kids can have their most basic needs met no matter what. It's not only the right thing to do, it also means our children go to school ready to learn and improves their chances of future success.
Despite the importance of the TANF safety net for our most vulnerable families, DC is poised to push children deeper into distress by dropping over 5,800 families who have reached the program’s 60-month time limit—including more than 10,000 children—on October 1, 2017.
TANF is crucial for many DC families. However, the DC TANF time limit is one of the strictest in the country, cutting off all families who reach the time limit and eliminating the possibility for them to receive assistance in the future, regardless of their circumstance. In contrast, 44 states offer extensions to give parents more time to address problems such as domestic violence or caring for a family member with a disability.
This past fall, Mayor Muriel Bowser convened the Working Group to Inform a TANF Hardship Extension Policy for the District of Columbia. The working group came up with a “Preferred Option” to reform TANF, which ensures that children are protected and gives the DC Department of Human Services (DHS) the necessary tools to help parents engage in activities to improve their family’s economic situation.
To read more about the working group proposal, visit our Better Approach section.
This is our chance to strengthen TANF so DC families facing the greatest obstacles have the support they need to get on a path to greater independence.