It is hereby notified that the President has assented to the following Act which is hereby published for general information: ACT To provide for the determination of national policy for education; to amend the National Policy for General Education Affairs Act,so as to substitute certain definitions; to provide afresh for the determination of policy on salaries and conditions of employment of educators; and to provide for matters connected therewith. Assented to 16 April
Prior to the TANF block grant, families in need received cash assistance through the Aid to Families with Dependent Children AFDC program, under which federal funds matched half or more of every dollar of cash assistance that a state provided to a needy family.
Under a block grant, proponents argued, states could shift the funds freed up when families left welfare for work to child care or other work supports, where need would increase.
States also could invest more in work programs to reflect the increased emphasis on welfare as temporary and work-focused. That is not what happened. But over time, states redirected a substantial portion of their state and federal TANF funds to other purposes, to fill state budget holes, and in some cases to substitute for existing state spending.
Even when need increased during the Great Recession, states were often unable to bring the funds back to core welfare reform services and instead made cuts in basic assistance, child care, and work programs.
A closer examination of states' use of funds under TANF provides a cautionary tale. And, despite the rhetoric, few of the diverted resources have gone to work preparation or employment for the families. They spend the rest of the funding on other types of services, including programs not aimed at improving employment opportunities for poor families see Figure 1.
TANF does not require states to report on whom they serve with the federal or state funds they shift from cash assistance to other uses, let alone what outcomes they achieved. Thus, there is no evidence that giving states this broad flexibility has improved outcomes for poor families with children.
The share of state and federal TANF spending used for basic assistance cash welfare grants has fallen significantly. Bythat figure had plummeted to 26 percent. States spend only about a quarter of their state and federal TANF dollars on child care and work activities combined. Core welfare reform activities thus represent just half of state and federal TANF spending.
The share varied widely across states: States use a large and growing share of state and federal TANF funds that formerly helped poor families meet their basic needs for other state services. In addition, the annual federal TANF block grant has no adjustment for inflation and thus has eroded badly over time, losing one-third of its value since Block grants can weaken accountability and oversight, leading states to spend significant federal funds in ways that Congress did not intend.
For many states, the TANF block grant has led to a severe erosion of the cash assistance safety net and very limited fulfillment of the promise that the funds saved would support work.
We combine these 21 categories and subcategories into six broader categories, listed below. See Appendix II for details. Background The TANF block grant fundamentally altered both the structure and the allowable uses of federal and state dollars previously spent on AFDC and related programs.
States are required to maintain 80 percent, or in some cases 75 percent, of their historic spending level. The share of state and federal TANF funds spent on basic assistance varies widely across states, from 6 percent to 61 percent in Ten states spent less than 10 percent on basic assistance, while 11 states spent more than 30 percent see Figure 2.
Both states have large populations of poor families, but the child poverty rate and the share of individuals who are food insecure are higher in Texas than in California.
For every poor families with children in the state, 5 received TANF cash assistance. Today, in two-thirds of the states, benefits for a family without other cash income now fall below 30 percent of the poverty line; in one-third of the states, benefits are below 20 percent of the poverty line.
Nationally, the number of children in deep poverty has risen by nearly 50 percent since the advent of TANF, from 1. Edin and Shaefer find that the number of U. Yet most states spend little of their TANF funding on work-related activities. States initially raised spending here somewhat under TANF, but funding has been flat or fallen over the last decade.
Ten states spent less than 5 percent of their funds in this category, while 12 states spent more than 15 percent and one state spent more than 40 percent. It also includes wage subsidies, work-related activities, or education and training, some of which goes to low-income families not receiving cash assistance.
While this is a permissible use of TANF or MOE funds, it means that some states are investing even less in work programs for cash assistance recipients than the numbers suggest. Thus, despite the rhetoric of welfare reform — and the fact that many families receiving TANF have significant employment barriers and limited employment prospects — states have withdrawn funding from these activities over most of the last decade.
States for the most part are not putting the funds freed up from reduced caseloads into helping TANF recipients prepare for or find work.
Child Care Needs Remain Unmet, Despite Initial Spending Increase Another central tenet of welfare reform was that states could spend more of the funds on child care to support work, rather than on cash aid.
Figure 4 Box 2: States also could invest more in work programs to reflect the increased emphasis on welfare being temporary and work-focused.Each fiscal year the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Policy and Planning publishes the annual Geographic Distribution of VA Expenditures (GDX) Report for the public and all stakeholders.
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