The Public Interest

Fathers and welfare reform

Andrew Bush & Wade F. Horn

Fall 1997

AMERICA is embarking upon a dramatic new course in the way it provides assistance to our nation’s poorest families and their children. Recently enacted federal welfare reforms have altered both the purpose and the form of the nation’s principal cash-assistance program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Retitled Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the program is no longer to serve as a long-term replacement for parents’ earnings. Rather, aid is now to be used to promote long-term self-sufficiency. The new law also gives states the responsibility for determining virtually all the standards and requirements for their TANF programs. Although in most states dramatic changes have not yet happened, the opportunity for revolutionary reform has never been greater. 

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