Press Release: New Report Calls on Congress to Restore and Reform TANF Block Grant Funding to Help Children in Poverty; Without Restoration Texas Stands to Lose $52.7 Million

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Celia Cole /(512) 320-0222 x110

December 8, 2011

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(AUSTIN, Texas) ─ Today, First Focus, a bipartisan child advocacy organization, released a report highlighting the enormous and growing gulf in funding between states to help children in poverty that is the result of flaws in the design of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. The report, “TANF Supplemental Grants: Reforming and Restoring Support for Children Who Need it Most,” calls on Congress to fix these flaws and restore funding for the TANF Supplemental Grants. The annual supplemental grants provide additional TANF funding for 17 states—including $52.7 million for Texas—that have historically low spending per child in poverty.

Texas U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett has introduced legislation (HR 2277) to restore full funding for the supplemental grants for 2011. Without the supplemental grants in 2012 and beyond, Texas would lose almost 10 percent of its federal TANF funding.

If Congress fails to restore funding for the supplemental grants, core activities—most notably child protective services—will have to be cut or funded with state general revenue in the next state budget cycle (2014-15). “Without these funds Texas will struggle to keep our most vulnerable children out of harm’s way,” said Celia Cole, senior policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities.