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Improving TANF for Teens

By Jodie Levin-Epstein & Angie Schwartz

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program requires teen parents in most cases to attend school and to live with a parent or other adult. While these rules may constitute good policy generally, their across-the-board application can be harmful. Focusing on teen parents, TANF programs tend to overlook the needs of nonparenting teens in TANF and other low-income families. Legal aid programs should reach out to this underserved population to ensure that teens receive necessary services and support.

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