Poverty and Public Policy

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INTRODUCTION
According to the U.S Census Bureau 46.2 million Americans are under the poverty line, that's 15.7 percent of the population. This country has done a lot to help the poor, so, why is poverty rising? Are the anti-poverty programs that are now in place not working? The Center on Budget reports that our anti-poverty efforts were effective in keeping millions of Americans out of poverty in the current economic crisis. Existing policies and new initiatives kept people from falling into poverty; these programs reduced the severity of poverty. TANF was created by the 1996 welfare reform law to replace AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). Under the TANF structure, the federal government provides a block grant to the states, which use these funds to operate their own programs. States can use TANF dollars in ways designed to meet any of the four purposes set out in federal law, which are to: “(1) provide assistance to needy families so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives; (2) end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage; (3) prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and establish annual numerical goals for preventing and reducing the incidence of these pregnancies; and (4) encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.” This paper will examine the TANF program from inception to determine how effective the program has performed. REVIEW OF LITERATURE

TANF’s early years witnessed dramatic declines in the number of families receiving cash assistance, and a great increases in the share of single mothers working, especially those with less than a high school education. But since then, nearly all of the employment gains have disappeared, and TANF caseloads have responded only modestly to increased need during this current economic crisis. However, because relatively few families receive TANF and benefits are very...
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