Passage of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act—and the resulting implementation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program—resulted in child welfare reforms to enhance outcomes for children and families receiving services from both aid systems. The following resources describe child welfare reforms related to TANF and include State and local examples.
Policy Basics: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (2020)
Provides background information on the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant and discusses TANF funding and spending, eligibility and cash assistance, work requirements, and more.
State Fact Sheets: How States Have Spent Funds Under the TANF Block Grant
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (2019)
Presents factsheets detailing how different States spend Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds. The website offers a map of all 50 States that users can click to view TANF information for each State.
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant (PDF - 479 KB)
Congressional Research Service (2019)
Outlines the TANF block grant and offers a brief history, information on use of funds, work requirements, issues, and more.
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions (PDF - 2,642 KB)
Congressional Research Service (2019)
Provides answers to frequently asked questions about the TANF block grant. The questions cover topics such as how many families receive assistance, the characteristics of families receiving assistance, and work participation standards.
Implementation of welfare reform efforts
20 Years of TANF: Opportunities to Better Support Families Facing Multiple Barriers (PDF - 7,475 KB)
Martin, Erney, Citrin, & Reeves (2016)
Center for the Study of Social Policy
Examines the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant 20 years after it was enacted and recommends ways States can best serve needy families.
A Child-Focused Approach to TANF Reform
Child Welfare League of America
Describes how the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program could be strengthened in a way that makes it an important program against child poverty that has a greater impact on child welfare.
Supporting GrandFamilies: Federal and State Policy Reforms (PDF - 374 KB)
GrandFamilies: The Contemporary Journal of Research, Practice and Policy, 5(2)
Describes recent legislation and policy reforms that support grandfamilies, including the Family First Prevention Services Act and the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act. On page 8, the resource offers a discussion on how the Grandfamilies Act would address barriers to grandfamilies' access to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds.
To Make TANF Truly Effective, Put Kids Front and Center
Baldari & Sciamanna (2016)
First Focus Campaign for Children
Explores ways Congress could improve the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program to benefit children in poverty.
Turning Assistance Into Opportunity: Improving TANF and Implementing Two-Generational Solutions to Help New Mexico Families Access Educational Pathways Out of Poverty (PDF - 537 KB)
Casau & Walkington (2016)
Kids Count & New Mexico Voices for Children
Describes how the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program could be improved by using two-generational solutions that meet the needs of both parents and children. A two-generational approach would help families improve their lives and lead to a better educated and skilled workforce, helping to break the cycle of poverty.
Impact on children and families
Do Changes to the Social Safety Net Affect Child Maltreatment? A Preliminary Study of TANF (PDF - 1,690 KB) [Presentation]
Johnson-Motoyama & Ginther (2018)
University of Kansas
Examines whether changes in State Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program policies were associated with changes in levels of child maltreatment in Kansas during the Great Recession. Results indicated that restrictions on TANF, as well as barriers to obtaining TANF, appear to increase child abuse and neglect along with foster care placements.
Do State TANF Policies Affect Child Abuse and Neglect? (PDF - 642 KB)
Ginther & Johnson-Motoyama (2017)
Explores the impact of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program policy changes on child abuse caseloads across the country. Findings showed that TANF benefit restrictions increased incidents of child maltreatment and foster care placements.
Trauma-Informed Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): A Randomized Controlled Trial With a Two-Generation Impact
Booshehri, Dugan, Patel, Bloom, & Chilton (2018)
Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27
Presents the results of a trial that compares the effectiveness of a financial empowerment program paired with trauma-informed peer support with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programming. Caregivers who received the full intervention with trauma-informed support reported improved self-efficacy, fewer depressive symptoms, and reduced economic hardship.