CWLA has submitted Comments for the Record on the recent House Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, “Where is all the Welfare Money Going? Reclaiming TANF Non-Assistance Dollars to Lift Americans Out of Poverty.” The TANF program provides funding in several ways to the child welfare system and to children and families with child welfare involvement, and a TANF reauthorization has the potential to better support families.

Our recommendations for a potential TANF reauthorization include the following:

  • Include poverty reduction as one of the core purposes of the program. TANF has not lived up to its promise to meaningfully reduce poverty since it was created and can be strengthened to better target this goal.
  • Increase transparency and accountability in how non-cash assistance funds are spent by the states. Non-assistance funds are a vital support to states’ poverty-reduction efforts, but more information is needed to measure its effectiveness.
  • Optimize family preservation efforts, complementary to the goals of the Family First Prevention Services Act and in alignment with the original goals of the welfare program.
  • Significantly increase the funding for the TANF block grant. The program’s purchasing power has eroded as cost of living has increased and needs to be adjusted for inflation.

CWLA previously submitted recommendations after the TANF hearing in the Spring, which focused on work requirements for individuals receiving cash assistance; those comments can be found here.