SWK 325: SOCIAL WELFARE POLICY
Poverty is a significant and grave challenge. In the US, approximately 43 million American citizens are subjected to deprivation, as 15 million are considered children (Haskins & Weidinger, 2019). The issue has a significant problem for children and families of the minority. The existing federal policy being implemented to tackle this challenge is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. This policy is a global child social welfare strategy for families and kids in abject poverty—the welfare policy presented to funding to families with low income.
SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM
Even though the 1996 welfare reform lawmaking has generated some positive results, grave topics face the 107th Assembly as it prepared to reauthorize the legislature by October 1, 2002. This policy brief deliberates on 13 significant concerns linked to the legislature and the debate surrounding every aspect.
History of the problem
The United States bears a significant number of families that already dwell in poverty. The United States Census Bureau (2015) indicates that a projected number of 15.7 million children live below the poverty line. This astounding figure accounts for 21.6% of all kids. Poverty is believed to have an impact on diverse aspects of a child’s life. This includes security, quality of life as grown-ups along with fundamental requirements and sources.
Present status of the problem
The racial disparity in the child welfare system is believed to instill tension in researchers, practitioners, and policymakers involved in child protection programs. For long periods, minority kids and families endure the discernment. This issue appears to be prevalent and is an uncontrollable challenge. Within each state in the US, African American kids are prone to disparities compared to other marginalized groups. The discernment persists in the society and the strain of day to day living of Americans of African descent.
Populations affected (or disproportionately affected) by this problem.
According to Falk (2014), the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families caseload decline by 58% from 4.7 million to 2.0 million. The number of people in poverty reduced by 17% to 46.2 million. The number of households with kids in poverty similarly rose by 17 % from 6.2 million to 7.3 million, and the number of poor children increased by 12% to 1.7 million children. In the US, these dramatic changes have been witnessed for many years. The dynamics of The TANF have an impact on the demographic culture and populace. This program is essential in changing people’s lives if not for the government stops backing the plan. The TANF is a fruitful program that may solve the challenge of needy households. In averting the challenges, the administration should recognize the affected population if they opt to eradicate the plans or resources.
Organizations researching or advocating on the problem
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
United Service Organizations (USO)
Bob Woodruff Family Foundation
Federal financing for the programs was first presented in the Social Security Act of 1935 through the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) program, later renamed the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (AFDC). Many of the last changes and the welfare reform debates of the 1960s to the 1990s focused on work issues and whether providing cash to nonworking single mothers served as disincentives for both work and marriage. On August 22, 1996, President Clinton enacted the legislature that significantly changed the American welfare system. A majority of the new law’s stipulations, which included the TANF program, which replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) policy, were approved for six years.
The 1996 welfare reform law repealed AFDC and some related programs and replaced it with the TANF block grant. Funding for the AFDC-related child care programs was consolidated into a separate funding stream dedicated to child care. The long-term extension of TANF enacted in the DRA expired at the end of FY2010. Since then, Congress has continued TANF program authority and funding through a series of short-term extensions. TANF extensions have been incorporated into stop-gap continuing resolutions, or omnibus appropriations bills to fund all or most of the government added to tax bills, added to unrelated legislation, or passed as stand-alone legislation. There were two gaps in funding for TANF during this period. Funding lapsed during broader “government shutdowns” in October 2013 and beginning in December 2018 (Sheely, 2013). States were permitted to draw on unspent, previously appropriated TANF funds to finance their TANF activities during the shutdown.
Current law, regulations, rules, funding sources, or organizational policies
The TANF program has been due for reauthorization since 2010 (Haskins Albert & Howard, 2014). State legislators and policymakers need to work together to make TANF more effective and address the barriers that TANF creates with the block grant. TANF assists a total of 1,618,151 families, 4,067,509 recipients, 1,120,809 adults, and 2,946,700 children.
Current benefits and services associated with the policy
The Impoverished families can receive disability compensation, naturalization, financial assistance, education and training, a pension, life insurance, and vocational rehabilitation and employment.
Pros and cons of current policies
Reauthorization of the TANF provision allocates additional funds to states with high levels of poverty and high growth rates. Unlike TANF itself, this provision expired in 2001. A total of 17 states now receive money from this supplemental fund, which they will lose if the condition is not reauthorized. The debate will be further complicated because money for this provision is not assumed in the CBO baseline. Thus, Congress must find a funding offset of about $3 billion over five years if the fund is reauthorized.
Purposes of the program were to assist needy families, fight welfare dependency by promoting work and marriage, reduce non-marital births, and encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families. Conservatives wanted to emphasize the work and family formation issues while many liberals, although appreciating the emphasis on work, were equally concerned with ensuring benefits and adequate income for needy families.
One of the major cons involves time limits. While states can set their time limit policies, they cannot provide cash assistance from federal TANF funds for longer than 60 months to a family that includes an adult recipient. However, states can exceed the 60-month limit for up to 20 percent of their caseload based on hardship. Federal law does not impose a time limit on “child-only families” (those with no adult receiving benefits) or families receiving assistance funded entirely with state MOE funds.
Immigrant eligibility. Federal law bars states from using federal TANF dollars to assist most legal immigrants until they have been in the United States for at least five years. This restriction applies to cash assistance and TANF-funded work supports and services such as child care, transportation, and job training. US citizen children are eligible for TANF benefits and services even if they have non-citizen immigrant parents who do not, or do not yet, qualify.
What is the proposed policy?
The proposed policy aims at modernizing the TANF policy that will bring new incentives.
Who is proposing it, and why?
Representative Juan Vargas is proposing the bill. He did so because he believes they have earned the right to the full extent of other benefits regardless of their immigration status. Adrianna Rivera is also proposing this bill. She is doing so because, much like Representative Vargas, she believes they have the right to be legalized and receive the same benefits that non-immigrant citizens.
Who supports and opposes it, and why?
Representatives Jose E. Serrano, Grace F. Napolitano, Susan A. Davis, James P. McGovern, Lee Sheila Jackson, J. Luis Correa, Filemon Vela, Marc A. Veasey, Nanette Diaz Barragan, Mark Takano, Darren Soto, Keith Ellison, and Michelle Lujan Grisham are all cosponsors of his bill. Trump is opposing parts of the bill because he is attempting to cut down the funding for underprivileged families.
Pros and Cons
The proposal would alter the measure by which states are evaluated, shifting the focus from documenting the “work participation rate” (the percentage of work-eligible participants engaged in work-related activities) to reporting on participants’ employment outcomes after they exit the program. The policy outlines an ambitious accountability system that would measure success based on the share of adults employed in an unsubsidized job in the second and fourth quarters after leaving TANF and their wages and the allocation of youth completing high school or the equivalent. These proposed measures mirror those in workforce development programs under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
Increasing flexibility in work activities could help families improve their skills but don’t reduce red tape. The proposal aims to better support employment outcomes by assessing whether parents are ready to join the workforce and allowing a more comprehensive range of activities tailored to their needs to prepare them for work. The proposal also mandates they have personalized action plans with short, medium, and long-term goals. This provision should come as a welcome change for state TANF administrators who have been frustrated by the limited set of work-readiness activities allowed by current law. But the condition doesn’t address administrators’ other chief complaint that states need to track and account for every hour people spend in work or work preparation activities. The continued requirement for tracking engagement and personalized plans could add to states’ administrative burdens.
Although the bill seems to call for targeting all TANF funds toward families earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level, proposed changes to the TANF funding approach might reduce total spending on children and families in poverty. It’s worth noting that more than 70 percent of people receiving TANF are children. Under current law, states receiving federal TANF block grant funds must continue spending a minimum specified amount of state “maintenance of effort” funds based on their historical state spending on welfare programs. The proposal would reduce the amount states are required to spend toward the maintenance of effort. It also converts 25 percent of the federal funding from a block grant to capped matching funds, which states can access only by spending state funds on cash assistance, work supports, and other core activities. This change leaves open the possibility that conditions could reduce their spending and pass up the federal matching funds.
TANF is woefully unresponsive to recessions. During a recession, the number of people who lose steady employment or are unable to find work rises. In response, a good income assistance program should help more people avoid hardship while looking for jobs or improving their qualifications. This kind of countercyclical response is useful not only for the people who can avoid trouble and find work as a result but also for the economy because it bolsters sagging demand. Unemployment Insurance and SNAP both responded to the Great Recession in this compelling way.
ANF does not effectively serve two-parent families. One of TANF’s four core purposes is to encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families. This goal is fundamental because more married parents live in poverty than never-married parents, and a large body of research underscores that financial stress increases the risk that these families will face marital conflict, violence, and divorce. Yet, TANF does not generally serve two-parent families with children. Approximately 5.2 million children below the poverty line live in two-parent, married households, with another 1.4 million children living with cohabiting parents. Only 84,000 of these households, or 1.3 percent, receive essential income support and employment services through TANF.
Today, most African American children and families use this because this ethnic group deals with an economic battle. African-American children are the subjects of 22% of the reports of suspected child abuse and neglect in the United States, are 22.2% of cases substantiated after investigation, and include 23% of children placed in foster care”. African American children and families are faced with a lot of adversities, so that they will use this system. Many African Americans neglect their children because of the low of poverty in the communities. Other ethnic groups do not have to deal with discrimination and financial issue. These problems can affect the African American population.
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
United Service Organizations (USO)
Bob Woodruff Family Foundation
Falk, G. (2014). Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): Eligibility and benefit amounts in
state TANF cash assistance programs.
Haskins, R. & Weidinger, M. (2019). The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program: Time for improvements.
Haskins, R., Albert, V., & Howard, K. (2014). The responsiveness of the temporary assistance for needy families program during the great recession. The Brookings Institution, August 12, 2014.
Sheely, A. (2013). Second‐Order Devolution and Administrative Exclusion in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program. Policy Studies Journal, 41(1), 54-69.