TANF at 20


CLASP Offers Perspectives on 20th Anniversary of TANF

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. CLASP has been actively engaged in providing perspectives on TANF at this milestone moment.

Here’s a round-up of how we’ve responded to the 20th anniversary:

For USA Today, Olivia Golden (executive director) published an op-ed entitled “20 Years Later, Welfare is Grim: TANF Fails at Both Providing a Safety Net and Promoting Work,” which draws on her experience in leading the implementation of TANF as Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service as the program began. She also offers ideas for improving TANF and the overall safety net.

Amy-Ellen Duke Benfield, a senior policy analyst on our postsecondary team, was interviewed by Chronicle of Higher Education for an extensive Q & A on “What Has Welfare Reform Meant for Students’ Higher-Education Dreams?”

Olivia Golden, Elizabeth Lower-Basch (director of income and work supports), and John Bauman (Board member) all contributed articles to “Twenty Years After Welfare Reform,” a special publication focused on TANF at 20 from the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law’s Clearinghouse Review.

Elizabeth also participated in a Shriver Center Google Hangout last Thursday with a few other experts who wrote articles for the Clearinghouse Review.

To learn more about TANF, please see these resources on the CLASP website.

  • For an overview of TANF, we recommend our TANF 101 series:
  • For analysis of last year’s “discussion draft” proposal for TANF reauthorization, please see these comments.
  • And for an in-depth analysis of how TANF could better serve families with the youngest children, please read this piece.
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