The Oregon legislature rarely notices the most vulnerable kids

Blog post
February 22, 2018By Janet Bauer

Every child in Oregon deserves a fair shot in life, no matter the heft of a parent’s paycheck. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is the primary way Oregon reaches out to children living in families that have fallen on hard times, and helps parents get back on their feet.

TANF is supposed to be a lifeline for families with children that have little or no income and resources. The temporary cash assistance from TANF helps prevent homelessness, keeps families together, and avoids children ending up in foster care.

But for decades, the Oregon legislature has allowed TANF to wither. The lifeguard is looking away while families with children fight to keep their heads above water.

The charts below illustrate this reality.

It is long past time for the Oregon legislature to notice the hardship of many families with children in our state. And to act.

Lawmakers can begin to address the problem with House Bill 4081. The bill would invest any budgeted but unspent TANF funds back into the program to raise the grant amount. In other words, Oregon wouldn’t be spending new money to boost the grant amount. It is the most modest of steps, but nonetheless a step in the right direction.

Posted in Family supports.

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