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TANF stands for temporary assistance for needy families. Basically, it is a type of service which provides support for families who lack the necessary funds for supporting their children.

There are many aspects of a child's life where TANF can help, depending on his/her needs and the needs of his/her family.

Definition of TANF

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families was created in July 2, 1997, made by the USA Federal Assistance, as an additional program. As it was mentioned above, the TANF gives money to needy families, helping dependent children this way.

Since the year of its creation the TANF receives block grants which are invested into developing and improving the program itself. Naturally, the power of TANF varies from one state to another and some parts of the US may have completely different laws regarding TANF than others, in terms of the availability of the aids and the requirements for obtaining it.

The act which stands behind TANF is the Work Opportunity Act, created during the Clinton government and administration, providing financial help to needy families in hope that this will stimulate the parents to find jobs and manage to care for their families on their own at the end of the individual program.

Program Description

As long as one is alive, he/she has a right to a maximum of 60 months of this form of support. Due to the differences in laws and regulations related to TANF funding, the money received may be solely dedicated to the child or it can be equally distributed between the child and the parent. Also, the money may or may not be used for aiding other children in the household.

Some of the requirements for receiving this aid is the establishment of paternity, obligatory attempts of seeking employment, responsible guardian presence in cases of minor parents etc. These regulations prevent many people from receiving this aid. Yet, those who are really in need of the money for these purposes are thereby more likely to get it.

Thus, basically, the TANF program has several roles. It makes it possible for needy children to be well taken care of in their own homes or the homes of their relatives. Additionally, it takes the needy parents off welfare through preparing them for seeking jobs, helping them find employment and promoting marriage. This way, the family, as an institution is promoted and the occurrence of out-of-the wedlock pregnancies is prevented. Subsequently, the TANF program keeps both parents present in the life of a child.

However, the program requires the parents to find employment within the two years of aiding. Namely, once they are ready and capable for work, they are obligated to accept employment proposals. Once they get employed, they need to work for at least 30 hours a week, two-parent families having this number increased to 55 hours together.

If these requirements are not met, the family is either taken off the aid list or are given less money and benefits.

In order to ensure that this is functioning, since 2004, all states which provide this form of assistance must deliver proof that more than 90% of two-parent families are working. The number for single-parent families in this respect is 50%.


Since both the parents and the people behind the TANF program are involved in maintaining the program itself and its existence, there are set goals which need to be achieved in order for this to be possible.

Nowadays, people who receive this form of support are usually parents of zero income families who are on a brink of destitution. Therefore, following all the requirements of this funding is a must in order for this service, helping many, to remain available for others as well.

By the year 2013, the TANF program aims to restore many of its lost services, including the 60-month support, post TANF support and child abuse prevention program, among many others. Moreover, the program aims to cut the job program down by 50%, reducing its cost from $115 million to $60 million.

Thus, there is a high likelihood that many families will lose their right to TANF aids, especially once the pre-SSI, enhanced grants get eliminated. So, it is up to the people to use this funding wisely, allowing it to be helpful to others too.

All in all, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF is a governmental program which aims to provide funding for families with no jobs and income, making it possible for them to seek employment without sacrificing the health and well-being of their children. The requirements for receiving this form of financial support are quite strict and demanding. However, this is necessary for promoting employment, healthy and successful families, along with many other qualities the TANF stands behind.

Thus, if you are in desperate need of such funding and meet the requirements, feel free to apply. Yet, take this form of support seriously and promote its advancement by investing the received money into the future of your family.

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