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July 2, 2002
Immediate Action Needed
Senate to Vote on TANF and Child Care
On June 26, the Senate Finance Committee voted to approve an amended version of the Work, Opportunity, and Responsibility for Kids (WORK) Act of 2002. Drafted by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), this bill reauthorizes the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program for five years and sets the guaranteed funding level for child care. The bill is likely to be considered by the full Senate in late July or September. Congress has adjourned for the Independence Day Recess until July 8. This is an excellent time to contact your U.S. Senators at home to express your views on these issues.
The bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee differs from the House-passed TANF reauthorization bill (H.R. 4747) most significantly in the levels of funding for child care and the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), the work requirements for TANF recipients, and in expanding vocational education, screening of barriers to employment, and substance abuse treatment services for TANF-eligible recipients.
Summaries of both bills are available on CWLA's website:
ACTION REQUIRED: Contact your U.S. Senators in their District and DC offices. Tell them to increase funding for child care by at least $11 billion, restore funding to $2.8 billion for SSBG, and maintain fairness in the TANF work requirements. You can reach DC Senate offices through the Capitol switchboard at 202/224-3121.
For more information contact Liz Meitner, Vice President of Government Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202/942-0257.
- (1) INCREASE FUNDING FOR CHILD CARE
Ask your Senators to support efforts to increase funding for child care by at least $11 billion. Child care funding needs to be increased to provide more quality child care services to more families, regardless of whether work requirements are increased in TANF. Currently, only 1 in 7 eligible children receive child care assistance.
- (2) INCREASE FUNDING FOR THE SOCIAL SERVICES BLOCK GRANT (SSBG)
Restore funding to $2.8 billion for SSBG, the level agreed to in 1996. SSBG is a significant source of federal funds for adoption, foster care, and child protection services. These funds are greatly needed in order to meet the requirements established in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 that set new time frames for accelerated permanency decisionmaking for children in the child welfare system.
- (3) MAINTAIN THE FAIRNESS IN THE TANF WORK REQUIREMENTS
The Senate Finance Committee-passed TANF bill includes provisions that will actually help move people from assistance to work. Support the bill's provisions to expand necessary vocational education, screening of barriers to employment, and treatment for substance abuse. Reject unfair policies to increase the current work requirements for single mothers on TANF.
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