Policy attorney Sarah King testified before the DC Council’s Committee on Human Services at a roundtable to discuss sanction policies for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, detailed in the TANF Sanction Policy Approval Resolution, PR19-1072. Many of Children’s Law Center’s clients are families receiving TANF funding. Read a summary below or review the full testimony (PDF) as submitted to the committee.
Children’s Law Center has significant concerns about the policy, which adds sanctions in tiers, including levels that extend the sanctions to entire families and their children. “CLC is opposed to this approach and firmly believes that cutting an entire family’s source of support because of the non-compliance of one individual is unneccesarily harsh and could have disastrous consequences for the children who are caught in the middle,” according to the testimony.
Cutting a family’s welfare benefits leaves them at greater risk to experience significant material hardships. There is also an alarming link between the reduction in welfare benefits and an increase in child neglect and abuse.
Children’s Law Center supports recommendations from a council of advocates that propose deletions to the current policy. Among the troubling parts of the policy are a requirement to reapply for TANF benefits after a family is dropped from the program and the outreach process when a family is struggling to comply with TANF requirements.