State Approaches to the TANF Block Grant: Welfare Is Not What You Think It Is

Research Report

State Approaches to the TANF Block Grant: Welfare Is Not What You Think It Is

Abstract

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant is a broad funding stream that allows states to make greatly divergent policy decisions, with vastly different implications for each states low-income families. This paper examines how state goals, policies, and expenditure decisions contribute to unique pictures of TANF in California, Florida, Michigan, Texas, and Washington. The paper examines not only cash assistance, but also states overall approaches to the block grant. Further, the paper studies how state TANF programs responded to new federal requirements (the Deficit Reduction Act) and funding (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), and to the recession.

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