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An Introduction to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program

By Wendy Pollack

Created as part of the 1996 welfare law, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is the federally funded assistance program for low-income children and their families. States have broad discretion to design programs, often at the expense of federal protections for clients and accountability to clients and the public. Advocates need to assist TANF recipients on various legal issues. They must also urge states to make TANF a safety net and an opportunity for a better life for clients.

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