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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the development and implementation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block-grant program, and its predecessor, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Federal cash assistance to low-income, primarily single-parent families has been politically controversial since the creation of AFDC in 1935. The creation of TANF in 1996 imposed time limits on receipt of cash assistance and strengthened work requirements, while shifting the focus of expenditures away from cash benefits toward services intended to move adult recipients into work. TANF caseloads have fallen dramatically since 1996, and the employment rate of low-income single mothers has increased, but the social impacts of the TANF program have been mixed.

Keywords: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, child poverty, work incentives, policy implementation

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