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The New Welfare Law: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

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Publication Date: September 1997

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: 96-902

Topic: Social conditions (Public welfare and social services)


Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) is a fixed block grant for state-designed programs of time-limited and work-conditioned aid to families with children. Effective July 1, 1997 (earlier in most states, by their choice) TANF replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), Emergency Assistance for Needy Families, and the education, work and training program for AFDC recipients, known as the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program. The TANF law (P.L. 1 04-193) combines recent peak federal funding levels for each state (generally those of FY1994-95) for these three programs into a single block. Nationally the block grant is $16.5 billion annually through Y2002. The 1996 welfare law provides TANF grants for outlying areas; it also permits Indian tribes to operate their own TANF programs. Further, the law provides an average of $2.3 billion annually in a new child care block grant (about double the recent federal funding level for AFDC-related child care). Supplementing the basic TANF block grant for qualifying states are funds of five kinds (see chart on reverse page), including welfare-to-work grants enacted in 1997.