On March 12, 2015, Damon King, senior policy attorney at Children’s Law Center, testified at the Department of Human Services performance oversight hearing.Mr. King focused on two main topics: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) and homelessness in the District.
Mr. King urged the Department of Human Services and the Council to address the looming elimination of all TANF benefits, scheduled for October 1, 2015, for more than 13,000 District children due to the District’s enforcement of the 60-month time limit on program participation against more than 6,000 District families. He recommended a one-year postponement of scheduled cuts to give the Department time to implement a time limit policy that includes robust exemptions and extensions to protect our most vulnerable families while ensuring that these families are getting the supports they need to succeed.
Mr. King also advocated for the need to take a holistic approach to meeting the needs of homeless children and families, including homeless youth and families currently staying at DC General and motels this hypothermia season. Children and families often enter shelter with significant trauma histories and other challenges that can make exiting the shelter system especially difficult. Mr. King urged the Department of Human Services to offer a wider range of supports and interventions to families who are homeless or in unstable housing.