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The Washington Post: Stripping DC’s Poor Families of Their Last Income Source

March 16, 2016

In her editorial for The Washington Post, Children’s Law Center Executive Director Judith Sandalow explains why the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is a critical safety net for DC children and families facing poverty. In DC, 6,500 families will lose this critical support on Oct. 1 unless legislation to protect them is passed.

For these children, the District’s safety net programs are a lifeline that ensures their basic needs are met, no matter the catastrophe. The D.C. government, social service organizations, food banks and churches provide children with a patchwork of support to make sure they can have a warm bed, see a doctor and don’t go hungry. When families are especially down on their luck, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program kicks in. It provides up to 60 months of modest cash income, transportation assistance and child-care subsidies for parents who don’t make enough money to take care of their children’s basic needs.

But the District is about to throw 13,000 kids out of the TANF program. The reason? Their parents haven’t found stable jobs during the program’s rigid 60-month time limit.

It’s one thing when unexpected weather leaves low-income children hungry for a few days. It’s another when a D.C. policy threatens to create a permanent crisis.

Follow the link below to read the fuill editorial.