This brief offers specific recommendations to address four problems with TANF. First, too few needy families receive TANF help, with significant variation across states. Second, TANF did not respond during the recession. Third, TANF has been unresponsive to caseload changes, particularly that half the cases only include children. Fourth, TANFs limitations heighten families need for a whole package of supports. The recommendations include increasing federal funding for states to better accommodate increases in need; aligning TANF incentives with the goals of work, economic stability, and child well-being; and streamlining access to the full range of supports for low-income working families.
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