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Testimony: Hearing for Time Limit Exemptions to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families 2013

Children’s Law Center senior supervising attorney Lauren Onkeles-Klein testified before the DC Council’s Committee on Human Services at a public hearing regarding exemptions to time limits for the District’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Read a summary below or review her full testimony (PDF) as submitted to the committee.

The barriers faced by families living in poverty in the District are enormous, and poverty can be a traumatizing experience especially for children. By definition, only families with children are eligible for TANF support – and families for whom TANF is the only source of income are at devastating levels of poverty. Children’s Law Center supports maintaining funding for and access to a TANF time limit exemption for victims of domestic violence. These victims need time to recover from the crime, get treatment for themselves and their children, and find safe, stable housing. Victims seeking treatment and assistance are exempt from work requirements in recognition that these families’ efforts to get physically safe and emotionally well are crucially important to their overall capacity to achieve long-term self-sufficiency.