August 2016 marks 20 years since Congress passed and President Clinton signed “welfare reform” into law. It emphasized moving from “welfare to work” and replaced AFDC’s cash assistance with TANF, a block grant to the states to be used for income assistance, work supports, and child care.
To mark this anniversary and the very real impact welfare reform had on our client population, we talked with advocates who were there at the time and who remain engaged in promoting the best policies to curb child poverty.
We spoke with Marc Cohan of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, Anne Erickson of the Empire Justice Center, Elizabeth Lower-Basch of the Center for Law and Social Policy, Wendy Pollack of the Shriver Center, and Jim Weill of the Food Research and Action Center. They, along with 10 other experts, contributed to a collection of reflections and recommendations on welfare reform published on the Clearinghouse Community. We talked about current issues with TANF and where we should go now, 20 years after welfare reform.