Press Release

Contact: Gabriel Vasquez
Phone: 202-657-0683
Email: gabev@firstfocus.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

House extends TANF for one year, Doggett goes to bat for kids

Child Care
Housing & Homelessness
Poverty & Family Economics

Washington – The First Focus Campaign for Children welcomes the proposed one-year extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, approved in the U.S. House of Representatives by voice vote today as part of H.R. 5170, the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act.

TANF provides critical support to children of poor and low-income working class families in the United States. TANF provides cash assistance to families, funding for child welfare programs, aid to children at risk of abuse, and child care assistance. However, increased resources for TANF are needed in order to increase the program’s effectiveness in helping families achieve economic mobility and improve child wellbeing. TANF has fallen in value by 32 percent due to inflation since 1996, and caseloads have decreased significantly since 1996. In addition, while children make up a majority of the recipients of TANF, child poverty reduction is not an explicit goal of the program.

“We’re pleased to see the House’s approval of a one-year extension of TANF and encourage lawmakers to continue seeking long-term and economically realistic funding solutions to this critical funding source for programs that benefit children,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. “The reality is that TANF positively impacts the lives of millions of children, but funding levels have remained flat since 1996 and don’t reflect the hardships of the economic crisis that many families face today with 21 percent of the nation’s children living in poverty.”

House Members voted for the one-year extension of TANF as part of the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act, legislation that calls for public-private social impact partnerships, or “Social Impact Bonds,” that fund evidence-based projects designed to improve broadly-defined “social outcomes.” The First Focus Campaign for Children applauds the inclusion of an amendment offered by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, that directs at least 50 percent of “social impact partnerships” be used for programs that directly benefit children.

“We applaud Representative Doggett for going to bat to protect funding that directly benefits kids,” Lesley said. “And we continue to urge Congress to move in the direction of strengthening its support and funding for programs that benefit children – children after all, are the future of this country and their wellbeing is critical.”

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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.campaignforchildren.org.