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TANF and Racial Justice

By Henry A. Freedman & Mary R. Mannix

The effects of childhood poverty last well into adulthood. And yet a main safety net, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, is failing to help low-income families climb out of poverty—particularly if those families are black or Latino. Racialization infects TANF policies and administration at all levels. To help eradicate this racism and empower individual clients, advocates need to discern whether their local TANF programs are attributing racial stereotypes to recipients, and advocates must work in broad coalitions to make meaningful, lasting change.

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