A new research paper reviewed how each state implemented a federal program that has provided cash assistance to low income families over the last 25 years—and found that Black women with children repeatedly were excluded.
On a call with reporters Wednesday, policy experts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities outlined how states can remove restrictive requirements placed on Black families to receive cash assistance for food, bills or rent.
The experts also detailed ways the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, or TANF, can recenter its programs to help Black women with children who have historically been shut out from federal aid cash programs due to sexist and racist policies.
“Recognizing the ways in which racist views of Black women [influence] the basic design of the current TANF program is the first step to redesigning TANF” to be anti-racist, said Ife Floyd, one of the report researchers and the director of TANF research and analysis with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think tank.
Floyd said it’s important to understand that many of the TANF requirements put in place when it was enacted in 1996 were based on racist ideas about Black families that had long been in place in other federal policies.
Historically, Black women with children have been kicked off of federal social assistance programs for reasons such as being unmarried and working in domestic or agricultural fields, among other racist policies, the paper found.
For example, a predecessor program created by the New Deal in 1935, Aid to Dependent Children, aimed to provide states with federal funding to assist single mothers. Southern members of Congress pushed to give local and state governments the power to control ADC benefit levels and eligibility, which led to the exclusion of Black women with children.
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SOURCE: The Current; Georgia Recorder, Ariana Figueroa