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TANF Reauthorization Policy Suggestions

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Publication Date: January 2001

Publisher(s): American Anthropological Association

Author(s): Jo Anne Schneider

Topic: Government (Central or federal government)
Government (Public policy)
Social conditions (Public welfare and social services)

Keywords: TANF; welfare

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


The U.S. Federal Welfare Reform Act of 1996, known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), is currently up for renewal. In its first five years, TANF was declared a success for dramatically reducing welfare caseloads across the country. However, some analysts suggest that the booming economy contributed significantly to caseload decline. State and local government officials, as well as advocates for the poor, express concerns that TANF funding levels and time limits will cause hardship for both local governments and poor families.

Anthropological research focuses on the effects of welfare reform at the grass roots level, observing policy implementation in institutions, and the ways people respond to these policies. Policy recommendations reflect findings from in-depth, process oriented research.