Washington Post: On welfare reform anniversary, DC still foots bill

August 20, 2016

TANF is a lifeline for families in poverty. It helps to ensure DC’s most vulnerable kids have their most basic needs met. If families are cut, they slip deeper into poverty. This costs them – and the District. If critical reforms don’t happen soon, many recipients could lose their benefits next year.

The Washington Post spoke with Children’s Law Center Executive Director Judith Sandalow to understand why fixing TANF is not only in the best interest of families – it’s best for the District’s bottom line.

“When we played with the numbers,” [Councilmember Brianne] Nadeau said, “what we had was, if even 10 percent of the families removed from TANF fall into homelessness, then getting them back into housing would cost as much money as funding all these extensions.”

Judith Sandalow, director of the Children’s Law Center in the District, agreed.

“We’re quite certain that the city would spend more on homeless services, foster care and the criminal justice system,” she said. “And we know that children in homeless families don’t learn as well, so we’d see more costs for special education.”

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